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Bibliometrics

Flinders University Library's guide to Bibliometrics, research impact and research tools.

What is Bibliometrics

Bibliometrics is the quantitative analysis of research publications, capturing data about publications primarily citation frequency.

Bibliometric measures: number of publications, number of cited publications, number of times a citation has been cited, H-index, Journal impact factors.

The underlying assumption of Bibliometrics is that the number of times a work is cited is a measure of the influence or impact of the research. There are limitations to any Bibliometric tool.

Bibliometrics and Impact

Researcher impact – The impact of a researcher is determined by the number of works they have published and the number of times those works have been cited. An H-index is an indicator of researcher impact.

Article/book impact – The impact of an article/book is determined by the number of times they have been cited. Citation information can be sourced at the article level, databases such as Web of Science and Scopus display article level metrics.  

Journal impact – The impact of a journal can be determined by a number of factors including how many times the articles in the journal have been cited, the prestige of the journal, and the likelihood of citations within a field of research. Impact Factor (through Web of Science), SJR and SNIP (through Scopus), and Eigenfactor (freely available) are tools that can measure the impact of a journal.

Institutional impact: Measures the collective citation frequency (collective impact) of the institution or department within the institution. This allows benchmarking against other institutions or departments of similar size and/or prestige.


Other measures of impact

Alternative metrics or altmetrics is an emerging field in Bibliometrics and refers to analytics of online scholarly interactions to determine reach, particularly through social media.  

What is impact and why is it important?

Publishing for impact is the process of publishing your own research in the most optimal journal for the intended audience. Often when people refer to impact they refer to the quality of the journal and its impact and reach. Journal quality is determined by a number of criteria that is specific to your discipline area, but popular Bibliometric measures of journal quality are journal Impact Factor™ (Thompson Reuters) and SCImago journal rank (Scopus data).

Impact also refers to the impact and reach of your own work. Impact can be determined through Bibliometrics such as citation counts or altmetrics. There are a number of different metrics that can be used to assess impact. These metrics and the Bibliometric tools used to discover them are covered in the section ‘What’s my impact?’

Disseminating your research as widely as possible helps the visibility of your work and increases the potential for your work to be cited. Increase the visibility of your research through open access. Flinders University supports open access through dissemination of research through the Institutional Repository, the Flinders Academic Commons (FAC).

This guide helps you determine the right journal for you and your discipline, how to increase your reach through Open Access, and how to assess the impact of your research.


Limitations

Citation counts can be affected in a number of other ways:

  • No single source is comprehensive.
  • Publication dates may affect your results.
  • Frequency of a journal may affect results.
  • Highly cited articles don't always mean excellent research, esteem must also be taken in to account.
  • Research measures differ across disciplines.