One way to gauge the impact of an article or book is by tracking how often it has been cited by others. An author’s scholarly impact can also be gauged by how often their work is cited overall.Citation tracking has long been a significant measurement for scholars in the sciences and social sciences. It is becoming more important in the arts and humanities, as well. The tools in the box below can help authors determine the number of citations generated by their publications, as well as their own impact measurement.
What is an h-index?
An author’s productivity and impact can be measured by a metric called an H-index. It is also called a Hirsch index, after its creator Jorge E. Hirsch. The h-index is calculated by counting the number of publications for which an author has been cited by others at least that same number of times. An author with an H-index of 10 has published 10 articles that have been cited at least 10 times.
What is Impact Factor (IF)?
The relative importance of a journal can be gauged by its impact factor, which is sometimes called a Journal Impact Factor (JIF). This metric is simply the average number of times articles in that journal are cited in other articles.
How is citation tracking is handled in the arts?
While citation tracking in the sciences and social sciences helps steer decisions about where to publish and whom to hire, it is less important in the arts and humanities. That is because artistic output and scholarly documents in the arts are not in a standard format and because impact outside of academia is as or more important than impact within. With increasing regularity, however, universities will ask fine arts departments to rank journals within their discipline, formally measure academic impact, and engage in other more traditional forms of academic ranking. In response, many in fine arts departments are customizing existing tracking tools to make them more arts-friendly. By creating profiles, documenting artistic output as research output, and manually entering data in tracking tools (particularly alt-metric tools), they are able to measure the impact of their work.
ORCID is a unique identification number that can be attached to a scholar's articles and grants at the time of publication. The number allows scholars to compile all research output in one place, even after a change of name, university, or other affiliation. ORCID also integrates with some other tools, so information from a curriculum vitae can be automatically transferred to a new account in another tracking tool. ORCID is free to use.
ResearcherID is another unique identifier tool, similar to ORCID. Scholars can connect accounts in both tools ResearcherID and ORCID to ensure all publication data is compiled. ResearcherID setup is free and profiles are searchable.
Scopus is a multi-disciplinary database of publication information, which allows scholars to pull all their citations in Scopus into an author's profile, even after name and affiliation changes. Authors will receive email alerts when their works are cited in new publications. Visualizations of author output are also available in the database. Scopus integrates with ORCID.
Altmetrics go beyond traditional measures, like impact factor and h-index, to track research impact. These measures include how many times an article has been shared or liked on social media platforms, bookmarked on bookmarking sites, or viewed on websites.
Ebsco databases like Art Full Text and Music Index have an altmetrics tracking tool called PlumX Metrics integrated into its search results. PlumX Metrics indicate how many times an article has been viewed, tweeted, etc.