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Sharing Your Research

The guide is to educate graduate students and early career research on publishing, copyright, and impact metrics.

Measuring Impact

Impact is talked about in research - but what is it? How do you measure it?

Impact for research publications is typically measured by citations. There are three common ways to measure research impact:

  • Impact Factor
  • h-index
  • altmetrics

Impact Factor

Have you been told that you should aim to publish in a "high impact" journal? That means you should be seeking a journal with a high Impact Factor.

The Impact Factor is the average number of times an article in a particular journal is cited. This is a journal-level metric and does not actually reflect your impact as an author.


The h-index also known as the Hirsch-index is a author-level metric based on the number of citations you have. It attempts to measure productivity and impact on a scholar's publications. 

It is not merely an average of your article citations. For example, an author with an h-index of 20 will have written 20 papers that have each had at least 20 citations. 


Altmetrics are indicators to research impact. They track attention to reach outputs in non-traditional sources, such as policy documents, news, blogs, and social media. Altmetrics can help you understand how research is being received and used.

Altmetrics are a great complementary to traditional citation based metrics in order for you to gain a fuller picture of your research impact.

image from Altmetric

Helpful Tip: Get the Altmetric bookmarklet!

Helpful Tip: Have an ImpactStory profile!

ImpactStory showcases how your research is impactful with achievements, activity, and publications -- and includes altmetrics.

‚ÄčImpactStory uses your ORCiD profile to automatically populate the ImpactStory profile. This can be a great profile for students and early career researchers to have. 


Helpful Tip: Get an ORCiD

ORCiD (Open Research and Contributor ID) is a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher.