Metrics, also known as research metrics or bibliometrics, is a measurement of scholarly research using quantitative methods such as citation counts, downloads, mentions, and more. Metrics are also used to demonstrate the impact of research publications at the journal, article, and author levels, which help faculty and researchers show the reach of their scholarship for tenure and promotion, job opportunities, and grant funding, among other things.
Altmetrics is used to refer to "alternative metrics" and are generally article-level metrics. Altmetrics attempts to fill a gap in more traditional metrics by using a more comprehensive range of sources, such as social media, news outlets, blog posts, and citation managers, in addition to citation and download counts to determine the impact (or "attention") of scholarship.
Depending on the type of scholarship or creative work you have produced and depending on your research field, there are several options available for you. Any metric should be used with the understanding that it may not create an entirely accurate picture of the impact of your scholarship. Many metrics, for example, don't differentiate between positive and negative attention. Below are some suggestions for how you can use metrics to demonstrate the reach of your work.
Text from this section is used under CCBY4.0 from The Metrics Toolkit.
The table below provides a quick preview of what type of information you can utilize from various sites that showcase traditional metrics or alternative metrics (or both). For more information on each metric and how to obtain it, please refer to the Bibliometrics and Altmetrics Guide.
|Journal Citation Reports||Scopus||Web of Science||Google Scholar||Dimensions||Impact Story||Altmetric||PlumX Analytics||Digital Scholarship @UNLV|
|Views / Downloads||✔||✔||✔|
*Free access available, but additional features require a paid subscription.
**Some databases may have limited Humanities coverage, but not extensive enough to be considered "multidisciplinary".
Information for this section was inspired by the Universiteit Utrecht Research Impact & Visibility Research Guide.
Bibliometric analysis can be divided into two primary categories - performance analysis and scientific mapping. Performance analysis is generally used to determine researcher, college/school, institutional, or country productivity. Scientific mapping is often associated with creating visualizations and examining the social and collaborative relationships between authors, institutions, countries, and even specific publications in a given subject area.
Each tool and database on this list has good features and bad features, depending on your preference. Some tools may be better suited for use than others, but ultimately, it is up to individual preference, knowledge, and comfort levels. For specific recommendations, please reach out to Christina Miskey, Research Impact Librarian.
Web of Science. Content coverage for this database is focused on the sciences, medicine, and social sciences. Allows users to export a plain text or tab-delimited file or utilize the API, to obtain citation data. Data is limited to 100,000 records per query. Institutional login required.
Scopus. Content coverage for this database is multidisciplinary. Allows users to export a RIS or CSV (comma-separated values) file or utilize the API, to obtain citation data. Data is limited to the first 2,000 records in a query. Institutional login required.
Dimensions. This database's content coverage is focused primarily on the sciences, medicine, business, and social sciences. Allows users to perform powerful and complex queries with their API or export a CSV or Excel file. Queries are limited to the first 50,000 records with either method. Free to access, but account creation is recommended.
Google Scholar. Content coverage for this search engine is multidisciplinary. Users can perform simple or more complex queries, but currently, no export method is available. There is no publicly available or subscription-based API. Free to access.
Performance analysis tools
CRExplorer. Cited References Explorer uses data downloaded from Scopus and Web of Science to perform citation analysis over time and is often used to determine influential publications in a subject area. Free to download and use.
Publish or Perish. A software program that pulls information from several databases, including Web of Science, Scopus, Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic, and CrossRef. Free to download and use.
ScientoPyUI. An open-source software program allows users to import data downloaded from Scopus and Web of Science to perform a scientific analysis of citations, find the H-Index, and more. Free to download and use.
Scientific mapping & visualization tools
VOSviewer. A software tool made for "constructing and visualizing bibliometric networks. These networks may, for instance, include journals, researchers, or individual publications, and they can be constructed based on citation, bibliographic coupling, co-citation, or co-authorship relationships." Free to download and use.
CiteSpace. A Java-supported tool for "visualizing and analyzing trends and patterns in scientific literature. Primarily used for Web of Science, though data from other sides such as arXiv, PubMed, and NSF Award Abstracts can be obtained. Free to download and use.
Bibliometrix. An open-source R-tool that is used to complete complex scientific bibliometric analysis. It uses data from Scopus, Web of Science, Dimensions, PubMed, and Cochrane. Requires in-depth knowledge of R, but has a new released (biblioshiny) that is for non-coders. Free to download, use and modify.
Gephi. An open-source network and visualization software that allows users to import data from almost anywhere under-supported file formats. Requires knowledge of Java and/or OpenGL to use fully. Free to use and download.
Sci2. A scientific visualization and analysis tool that scientists and librarians designed for scientists. Note that Docker must run on current macOS but is functional on Windows PC and Linux operating systems. Free to download and use.