Crafting a Scholarly Narrative Using Impact Metrics

We are asked to develop a narrative of the impact of our scholarly and creative work for a tenure or promotion dossier, grant proposal, or for an academic program review. A scholarly impact narrative is a concise statement that explains the quality, productivity over time, and impact of your scholarly or creative work. The narrative often reports on your past accomplishments, present activities, and future plans.

New, web-based tools and services are being developed that can enhance the visibility of faculty research, enrich their scholarly identity, and support the discovery of potential collaborators. These projects rely on creating unique identifiers for scholars, harvesting the metadata associated with their scholarly work, developing semantic web applications and databases, and providing campus outreach and training.

Assessing Research Impact Using Citations or Altmetrics

Citation analysis and other bibliometric methods for the analysis of scholarly publications provide evidence of three characteristics of scholarship: scholarly output, scholarly impact, and the nature and development of scholarship.1 There are four concepts to keep in mind to reliably use citation analysis to support a narrative about scholarly impact:

  • Discipline-Based
    The choice of metrics and their interpretation needs to account for the type of scholarly objects and the practices of a disciplinary community. For instance, several confounding factors beside impact affect the number of citations for a journal article including the discipline, journal, and the timeframe considered. This restricts matric comparisons to similar contexts.
  • Scholarly Object-Level Metrics
    Traditional methods to assess scholarly impact have focused on journal or press quality. Current approaches couple these assessments with article-level and book-level metrics.
  • Multifaceted
    Scholar impact is a complex construct that is best approached using multiple indicators coupled with expert assessment.
  • Metrics Support Scholarly Narratives
    Metrics can be used to craft a narrative about the scholarly work of a Texas A&M University faculty member, program, or department.
  • Open Access Publishing & Citations
    Publishing as open access appears to have a significant positive impact on citation rates.
  • Altmetrics
    Alternative metrics can help characterize the engagement and attention generated by TAMU research by tracking conversations on social media, newspaper stories, and citations in policy documents.

Where Can I Get Scholarly & Societal Impact Metrics?

Here are some suggested sources of scholarly and societal impact metrics:

  • Library Databases
    The University Library provides access to the Web of Science, Scopus, and Altmetric through the Search box on the Library home page.
  • Google Scholar
    Many faculty have found creating a Google Scholar profile useful in tracking citations.  Public Google Scholar profiles also make research more discoverable.

What Do We Recommend?

Here are some suggested strategies you can use to maximize the scholarly impact of your research:

  • Libraries, nonprofit academic organizations and publishers are developing an integrated information ecosystem that enhances the sharing of research and scholarly reputation. Consider requesting an ORCID researcher ID. ORCIDs are persistent digital identifier that identifies scholars. ORCIDs support the integration of key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between a scholar and their professional activities ensuring that their work is recognized.
  • Track and analyze your citations to understand which research strands and publication venues are developing the most recognition of your work.
  • Make your scholarship available through OAKTrust, Texas A&M University’s institutional repository or consider other disciplinary open access repositories as potential venues. These tools cost little in time and effort and likely will increase the visibility of your research and ultimately the collective scholarly output of Texas A&M University scholars and faculty members.
  • Similarly, consider publishing your research in open access publications. The Open Access to Knowledge Fund (OAKFund) can help pay for any associated publication fees.
  • Authors can retain copyright to their scholarly work so that the work can be repurposed and reused in new and innovative ways. This may be particularly important in using Texas A&M University’s scholarly work to address important societal issues. Colleges should consider supporting faculty in their efforts to retain their rights by developing an open access mandate similar to University of California Open Access Policy

More Help?

We offer additional services to help maximize the scholarly impact of your research:

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Your gifts support the University Libraries as they strive to make positive impacts on the research needs of the Texas A&M community and beyond. You may express your support with a gift or by joining the Friends of Sterling C. Evans Library.

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