Impact Metrics

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. 

Impact Metrics is an emerging project that seeks to identify new and useful measures of scholarly reputation. The library is installing Plum Analytics ( We have developed a short review of the effect of open access on citation rates. We are also developing a program to support faculty going up for Promotion & Tenure (P&T). If you would like to learn more about these efforts, contact our Office for additional information and assistance.

Assessing Research Impact Using Bibliometrics

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:

  • 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
    In limited research, publishing as open access appears to have a significant positive impact on citation rates. For example, the Research Information Network, a British research center, recently analyzed the distribution and impact of articles published in hybrid science journal Nature Communications. After 180 days, OA articles were viewed more than twice as often as those articles accessible only to the journal’s subscribers. A citation analysis of more than 2,000 papers published in Nature Communications between April 2010 and June 2013 revealed that OA articles were cited a median of 11 times, compared with a median of seven citations for subscription-only articles.

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
  • The library can work with Dean’s Offices to conduct bibliometric research at the organizational level to support strategic planning. Bibliometrics can provide important metrics to support research evaluation for individual scholars, research units, or Texas A&M University. The Texas A&M University Libraries can support these efforts through training and bibliometrics research. Contact our Office of Scholarly Communications for more information.

1 van Raan, A.F.J. 1993. Advanced bibliometric methods to assess research performance and scientific development: basic principles and recent practical applications. Research Evaluation: 3 (3): 151-166.

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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.