Skip to Main Content
Chat With Us

CHEM6612: Scientific Communication in Chemistry II


Research Impact

Who Are You?

ORCID logo ORCID (Open Researcher & Contributor ID) IDs uniquely identify researchers. Many journal publishers require ORCID IDs during the process of submitting manuscripts. Signing up for an ORCID ID is free, and portable across languages and international borders. Learn more about ORCID at BC.

Get Your Work Out There!

Impact Metrics

Journal Impact Factor (Web of Science and JCR by Clarivate)

Journal Impact Factor (JIF or IF), a ratio comparing the number of citations to articles from the journal to the number of items that potentially could be cited. Higher numbers are "better." Find them on journal home pages, or in JCR: Journal Citation Reports.

CiteScore (Scopus by Elsevier)

CiteScore is a similar measure, covering a longer citation window and a much larger number of journals. Higher numbers are "better." Find them on journal home pages, or in Scimago.

Other Metrics

  • Web of Science, JCR, and Scopus include additional metrics related to journal titles
  • Various metrics, such as the h-index, are used to assess impact and,or productivity of individual authors
  • Altmetrics (including the Altmetric donut Altmetric donut displays equally sized stripes of all colors for an item with over 11,000 engagements and the PlumX sunburst PlumX sunburst with differently sized end circles, indicating varying levels of engagement activity with an item measure public "attention" to individual articles: mentions in news sources, on social media, etc.
  • Research institutions may use Snowball Metrics for comparisons with their peers.

Metrics and Quality

By article

Use database citation search features to see if a paper is cited by other authors. Ideally, you can find articles which get cited in newer journal articles written by

  • A variety of authors
  • Authors from other labs and institutions
  • Experts on the broad or parent topic(s) of the article

You can also look at various metrics for assessing the impact of an article

By journal

Commonly used surrogates for journal quality include:

Only compare surrogate measures across journals covering the same discipline and sub-discipline. The 2019 JIF for Journal of the American Chemical Society (14.612) is much lower than the 2019 JIF for World Psychiatry (40.595), but JACS is clearly a much better chemistry journal! The median 2019 JIF for physical chemistry journals is slightly higher than the 2019 JIF for organic chemistry journals. but this does not mean physical chemistry journals are "better."

Problems with Metrics

  • Many metrics are not available if a journal is very new
  • Journal prestige can vary over time
  • "Review journals" (which publish mostly review articles) have higher JIF and CiteScore values since review articles are usually heavily cited.
  • JIF values do not determine the quality of any particular article within a journal, and they do not predict whether a particular article will be heavily cited (or not)
  • Social factors affect citation counts

Assessing Research Impact or Quality

Becker Medical Library Model for Assessment of Research Impact

Red broken part circle surrounds grey 'Research Output & Activities' bullseye. 5 grey wedges point out from center, each labeled with a type of research impact The Becker model supplements traditional bibliometrics. Researchers track the impact of their work on

  • Advancement of Knowledge: includes grants awarded, uses of promotional materials, number of trainees
  • Clinical Implementation: includes new drugs
  • Community Benefit: includes spin-off consumer products, partnerships to address community needs
  • Legislation and Policy: includes expert testimony presented to legislatures, citations in widely-used standards
  • Economic Benefit: includes cost savings and cost effectiveness, licensing agreements, spin-off and start-up companies

National Frameworks

Around the world, countries have experimented with different approaches for assessing the quality and impact of their researchers. Sometimes impact or quality measures are used to determine funding allocations.