Research impact is the demonstrable contribution that research makes to academia and society. Currently, there are many ways to measure and no single standard. Furthermore, as new metrics are developed, existing metrics may become less relevant.
Why measure or track research impact?
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See the Measuring Research Impact Guide for more information.
Citation counts measure the impact of a particular publication or an individual author by counting the number of times either has been cited in other works. This analysis of a particular author's work is one of the components used to evaluate the quality of that's individual's scholarly output and the impact he or she is having upon a particular discipline. Although such counting sounds relatively straightforward, it is complicated by the fact that there is no single citation analysis source that covers all publications and their cited references.
Citation analysis can be measure in a number of ways:
Citation analysis of scholars in one field should not be compared to those in another. Where a scholar publishes can have a great impact on the analysis if the tools used to count citations do not index the publications where a scholarly work is cited. This is particularly true for those that publish in international journals, smaller regional or local publications, or in non-journal sources such as books. Citation rates can be influenced by other practices such as self-citation.
See the Citation Analysis and Journal Impact Factor Guide for more information.