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Library support for Researchers: Citation Analysis


Bibliometrics refers to quantitative analysis we can use to assess research output. Using bibliometrics can help measure patterns of authorship, publication and the use of literature and references. It is becoming more widely used to assess impact of research, although impact can be measured in other quantitative ways such as: publication counts, number of PhD students and amount of research income. It must also be noted that meaningful analysis of bibliometrics varies between subjects, and is mainly used in scientific areas.

According to Measuring your Research Impact (MyRI), bibliometrics is often used:

1. As evidence to support a researcher who is being considered for promotion, tenure and grant funding.
2. In deciding where to publish research, in order to obtain maximum visibility and citation rate by targeting high impact journals.

A guide to some of the specialist terms used in citation analysis can be found in the Metrics Toolkit.

Alternative measures of research impact (Altmetrics)

Assessing research impact of journals, organisations and authors through formal citation analysis has been mirrored by the development of complimentary analyses of research impact. This includes analysis of research impact at the individual article level, micro-level impact such as sharing of datasets and models, as well as measuring appearances in social media. These measures, or alternative metrics, are often referred to as 'Altmetrics'.

The basic principles of social media aspects of research metrics can be found on the Altmetric website. As well as formal citations, altmetrics sites capture social measures such as numbers of readers, saves, downloads, bookmarks, blog posts, news stories, (re)tweets, likes, shares and ratings. 

Other systems allow individuals to add their own references to social media impact systems. The most well-known example is PlumAnalytics.