Faculty Resources

Determining Your Research Impact

An impact factor is one measure of the relative importance of a journal, individual publication, or research to literature and research.

Journal impact factors, citations to publications, h-index of researchers are used to measure the importance and impact of research.

Informed and careful use of impact and citation data is essential.  It is important to ensure data is being used to compare like with like:

  • The number of times a paper is cited is not a measure of its actual quality.
  • Some tools that measure the impact data do not incorporate books. So citations appearing in books are underrepresented.
  • Different disciplines have different publication and citing patterns. When making comparisons, ensure the data has been adjusted to account for differences between disciplines as cross-disciplinary comparisons of individual scholars' h-indexes are not valid.
  • Document age influences the number of citations it has.  Because it examines impact over time, the h-index favors established authors.
  • Review articles are cited more often and can change results.
  • Self-citing may skew results.

Journal Impact

The journal impact factor is calculated on the average number of citations per paper published in that journal during the three preceding years.  

Immediacy index based on the number of times articles published in the preceding year were cited in that year.

Eigenfactor Score, based on the number of citations received by articles in a journal, weighted by the rank of the journal the citations appear in.

Article Influence Score is a measure of the average influence of each of its articles over the first five years after publication.    

Acceptance and circulation rates can be useful metrics in determining the relative importance of particular journals.

CiteScore is based on the average citations received per document.  It is calculated on the number of citations received by a journal in on year to documents published in the three previous years, divided by teh number of documents indexed in Scopus published in those same three years. 

Citation Analysis

Citation analysis is a way of measuring the relative importance or impact of an author, an article, or a publication by counting the number of times that author, article, or publication has been cited by other works.

Why is citation analysis important?  It provides answers to:

  • What are the best journals in my field?
  • How do I check who is citing my articles?
  • How many times have I been cited?
  • How do I know this article is important?
  • How can I compare the research impact between journals so I know which journal I should publish in?

The results of citation analysis in various databases will vary depending on the tool(s) used and thoroughness of the search.

Why do different databases retrieve different results?

The citation data will relate only to articles indexed within the database.  Variations occur because databases

  • Index different publications
  • Cover different date ranges
  • Include poor-quality data (duplicate records, misspellings, incorrect citations, etc)

The h-index

The h-iindex is based on the set of a researcher's cited papers and the number of citations that the researcher has received in other people's publications.  

Graphic representation of h-index calculationsThe h-index is the largest number of articles/books that a researcher has published (N) that have been cited N times. 

Example: If a researcher has 6 papers thave have been cited 6 or more times, their h-index is 6.

Three resources include the necessary citation data for h-index in their respective databases. 

  • Web of Science
  • Scopus (UNF does not subscribe)
  • Google Scholar

The h-index of an author will be different in each of these databases, since they calculate using their own journal content.  

Alternative Metrics

Alternative Metrics (Altmetrics) measure the impact of articles by counting mentions by social media sites and other web sources, not considered in traditional bibliometrics such as citation counts and impact factors. Altmetrics measure the impact of articles outside the means of traditional publishing, including

  • number of 'talkbacks' or amount of discussion an article has received in blogs and on Twitter
  • mentions on social networking sites such as Facebook and bookmarking sites
  • discussions on scholarly networking sites and repositories such as Mendeley

Additional Resources

Interfolio Assistance

Marianne Jaffee

Gordon Rakita

Journal Impact Factor

Citation Tools


Telling the Story of Your Research Impact with Bibliometrics and Altmetrics for Promotion and Tenure (recorded workshop)