Scholarly Metrics

All about metrics: definitions, how-to, and tools.

Tracking Your Scholarly Impact

There are many ways to quantify interactions with your research. 

  • number of citations
  • number of mentions in social media, news outlets, policy documents
  • number of views
  • number of downloads
  • number of visits

No one platform can give you 'the' number for any of this. Tracking options include:

  • Citation metrics from Google ScholarWeb of ScienceScopus, or Faculty Force (if you're a Hopkins faculty)
  • Altmetrics capture mentions of your scholarly article outside the scholarly literature. The different companies that offer altmetrics search news outlets, policy documents, blogs, Twitter, and other social media to pull together a snapshot of your impact outside of academia. Altmetrics for individual articles are available from some of the databases listed above. Impact Story (subscription required) can provide altmetrics for a person's body of work. 
  • The numbers from these sites are more reliable when you are uniquely identified. That's why the first thing we asked you to do is register with ORCID. 

Step 1. Look yourself up in Google ScholarWeb of ScienceScopus, and Faculty Force (if you're a Hopkins faculty).

  • Compare the number of papers listed, number of citations listed, and the h index each provides for you. Depending on your discipline, your numbers may not be very different, or they could be wildly different. Remember, Google Scholar includes documents other databases don't, so those numbers could be larger. 
  • If there are outright errors, contact the database and ask them to be fixed. 
  • Scopus has an Author Identifier that can help you identify yourself uniquely within that database.
  • Web of Science uses ResearcherID to uniquely identify authors, so be sure to look at that as well. 
  • Both the Author Identifier and the ResearcherID can be linked to your ORCID.
  • ORCID lets you upload BibTex files (see Day 1 email) to make that list more accurate. 

Step 2. Check out your Altmetrics

The term 'altmetrics' was coined to denote the interest in and impact of scholarly work outside traditional scholarly outlets (journals, books, and conference proceedings). Companies look for mentions and citations of scholarly articles in news outlets, policy and government documents, social media outlets, and places like GitHub and FigShare. Since these altmetrics are relatively new, there aren't standard ways to represent these metrics; each company does it differently. 

  • Altmetrics about individual articles are available in some databases and on the publisher's website. 
  • If you wish to monitor the impact your research makes in the wider world sign up (subscription) for ImpactStory Profiles. Here's an example profile

If you have follow-up questions about metrics and altmetrics, please contact your librarian or Scholarly Impact Services.