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Measuring Research Impact Using Web of Science, Altmetrics, and Other Sources

About This Guide

This guide presents tools for measuring the impact of your scholarly work. Using the tools and techniques presented here, you can determine how often your research has been cited and develop strategies for improving the visibility of your scholarship. This guide deals with traditional tools and strategies for determining impact via Web of Science and Google Scholar as well as alternative metrics, or altmetrics, for measuring the impact of your work.

Overall, citation tools can be complicated but the WSU Libraries are here to help! Please let us know if you have questions about Web of Science, Google Scholar, author disambiguation tools, or workflows for putting it all together.

Problem Statement

It can be difficult to calculate the impact of research for a variety of reasons, most notably:

  • Some disciplines are notoriously under-cited. For instance, some estimates suggest that 82% of all humanities research is never cited.
  • Some citation analysis tools do not include non-traditional publications (like white papers or even books) in their metrics.
  • Journal impact factors do not accurately reflect the impact of individual articles in the journal; rather, they're skewed by the age of the journal and the popularity of select articles.
  • Citation analysis may not fully capture "impact" as it does not consider the reasons why authors include citations in their work.

For these reasons, this guide includes a variety of metrics for measuring the impact of your research. We encourages you to explore these tools to see which one(s) most meaningfully describe your efforts in the scholarly community.

See the following video for a summary of these problems and suggestions for how to proceed responsibly with impact metrics.

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