Research Metrics

No one metric can fully capture the research impact of an individual, institution or other entity. Using a “basket of metrics” approach presents a more nuanced, progressive approach to this challenge.

Explore a variety of tools and resources to help you measure and demonstrate the impact of your research.

Citation metrics focus on article citations as the gold standard for measuring the impact of research. Used to evaluate individual researchers, departments/centres, institutions, disciplines, countries and other modes.

Challenges: vulnerability to “gaming”; failure to adequately capture differences between disciplines and journals, tendency to privilege pure versus practical research.

Citation metrics sources:

These emerging – alternative – metrics include impact measures such as media coverage and social media sharing and mentions.  Can be used by individual researchers, departments, institutions, publications and more. For an overview of altmetrics, advice, usage examples and more consult the Altmetrics Guide created by the University of Waterloo

Challenges: As with citation metrics, altmetrics may fail to capture a full range of scholarship by omitting non-article outputs such as preprints, posters, data sets, conference proceedings, etc.

Popular Altmetrics tools:

The Metrics Tool Kit is an evidence-based resource to help you explore and select metrics that best fit your discipline and desired outcome – e.g. cultural impact, attention/reach.

Measuring research output through bibliometrics

Assessing the impact of research

Approaches to assessing impacts in the Humanities and Social Sciences


Contact Elizabeth Yates, Scholarly Communication Librarian