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Publication Metrics: Home

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Books about Publication Metrics

Collection Development Librarian

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Kathy Wheeler
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Types of Publication Metrics

There are several ways to measure the reach and impact of a scholar's work. Some involve measuring the work of the particular author and others look at the relative rankings of the journals the author publishes in compared to other journals in that field. Some of these measures are:

Impact Factor:The impact factor is a measurement of journal reach and impact. It is used to rank journals by their importance relative to other journals in the field.

Citation Analysis:  Simply counting the number of times other authors have referred to a particular article in their own work.

H-Index: The h-index is a measure of the reach and impact of a particular individual author.

Altmetrics: Altmetrics are designed to be complementary to traditional publication metrics; instead of measuring citations in journals, they look at mentions of articles and authors on less traditional publication platforms such as social media platforms, media, reference managers and Faculty of 1000.

Further Reading

Because the use of publication metrics can be problematic, there's quite a bit written on it from varying viewpoints. Here are just a few interesting articles.

Alexander I. Pudovkin. (2018). Comments on the Use of the Journal Impact Factor for Assessing the Research Contributions of Individual Authors. Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics , Vol 3 (2018). https://doi.org/10.3389/frma.2018.00002/full.

Barnes, C. (2017). The h-index Debate: An Introduction for Librarians. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 43(6), 487–494. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2017.08.013.

Bornmann, L., & Haunschild, R. (2018). Do altmetrics correlate with the quality of papers? A large-scale empirical study based on F1000Prime data. PLoS ONE, 13(5), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0197133.

Brock, J. (2019). The allure of the journal impact factor holds firm, despite its flaws. Nature Index. https://www.natureindex.com/news-blog/allure-journal-impact-factor-holds-firm-despite-flaws.

Bryan D. Neff, & Julian D. Olden. (2010). Not So Fast: Inflation in Impact Factors Contributes to Apparent Improvements in Journal Quality. BioScience, (6), 455. https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2010.60.6.9.

Chawla, D.S. (2018). What's wrong with the journal impact factor in 5 graphs. Nature Index. https://www.natureindex.com/news-blog/whats-wrong-with-the-jif-in-five-graphs

Dadkhah, M., Borchardt, G., Lagzian, M., & Bianciardi, G. (2017). Academic Journals Plagued by Bogus Impact Factors. Publishing Research Quarterly, 33(2), 183–187. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12109-017-9509-4.

Fernandez-Llimos, F. (2018). Differences and similarities between Journal Impact Factor and CiteScore. Pharmacy Practice, 16(2), 1–3. https://doi.org/10.18549/PharmPract.2018.02.1282.

Frenken, K., Heimeriks, G. J., & Hoekman, J. (2017). What drives university research performance? An analysis using the CWTS Leiden Ranking data. Journal of Informetrics, 11(3), 859–872. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joi.2017.06.006

Frieder M. Paulus, Nicole Cruz, & Sören Krach. (2018). The Impact Factor Fallacy. Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 9 (2018). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01487/full.

Loomba, R. S., & Anderson, R. H. (2018). Are we allowing impact factor to have too much impact: The need to reassess the process of academic advancement in pediatric cardiology? Congenital Heart Disease, 13(2), 163–166. https://doi.org/10.1111/chd.12593.

Meyers, M.A., & Haocheng Quan. (2017). The use of the h-index to evaluate and rank academic departments. Journal of Materials Research and Technology, Vol 6, Iss 4, Pp 304-311. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmrt.2017.09.004.

Pandita, R., & Singh, S. (2015). Impact of Self-Citations on Impact Factor: A Study Across Disciplines, Countries and Continents. Journal of Information Science Theory and Practice, Vol 3, Iss 2, Pp 42-57 (2015), (2), 42. https://doi.org/10.1633/JISTaP.2015.3.2.4.

William Cabos, & Juan Miguel Campanario. (2018). Exploring the Hjif-Index, an Analogue to the H-Like Index for Journal Impact Factors. Publications, Vol 6, Iss 2, p 14.. https://doi.org/10.3390/publications6020014.

Wouters, P. (2019). Rethinking Impact Factors: Better Ways to Judge a Journal. Nature, Vol 569, Pp 621-623. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01643-3

Yuret, T. (2016). Is it easier to publish in journals that have low impact factors? Applied Economics Letters, 23(11), 801–803. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504851.2015.1109034.

Leiden Ranking

The Leiden Ranking, produced by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University in the Netherlands, is not a metric for individuals or journals; instead, it ranks university research performance according to a variety of indicators. Because size makes a difference in the ability of a university to fund and produce research, the Leiden ranking includes size-dependent and size-independent indicators. 

scite index

scite uses Smart Citations which display the context of the citation and describe whether or not the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. Citation statements are classified into three categories: those that provide disputing or supporting evidence, and others, which mention the cited study without providing evidence for its validity. The scite index is calculated using this formula:

SI = [ (# supporting cites) / (# supporting cites + # disputing cites) ]

Journals must have at least 100 testing cites (supporting and/or disputing) in the measured period to receive an SI.