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This is the "Metrics and Impact Factors" page of the "Scholarly Communication" guide.
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Scholarly Communication   Tags: data, faculty, open_access, publishing, scholarly_communications  

Last Updated: Feb 9, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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About Bibliometrics, Citation Analysis, and Impact Factors

Bibliometrics are a set of methods for analyzing literature.  One of the most prevalent methods used in academia is citation analysis, in which citations to the work of a particular author or the articles published in a specific journal are examined for frequency, prestige, etc.  Also important are impact factors, which measure the average number of citations to a journal's articles in order to gauge the journal's importance.  It is wise for researchers to understand these analyses for the following reasons:

  • They can help you decide where to publish your research.  
  • They can affect your reviews and/or bids for tenure.  
  • Figures can vary widely between fields.  


Alternative metrics, often an article level, that don't rely on number of citations but on factors such as webpage views, social media mentions, and so on.

Article Influence Score
A measure of the per-article citation influence of a journal, as measured by Eigenfactor. 

Citation analysis
A practice by which the works of an author or the articles published in a specific journal are examined to see how frequently they are cited by others and in what kinds of publications. 

Cited half-life
The median age of the cited articles from a particular journal each year.

Eigenfactor Score
An attempt to measure a journal's importance to the scholarly community by considering the origin of citations of that journal's content.  It is influenced by the size of the journal (so that journals that publish more articles per year have higher scores).  

If a set of articles is ranked from most to fewest citations received, the g-index is the unique largest number such that the top g articles together received at least g2 citations.  For example, a g-index of 3 indicates that the top 3 most cited articles by an author together received at least 9 citations.

The largest number h such that publications have at least h citations.  For example, an h-index of 10 indicates that the author or journal has 10 articles that have at least 10 citations.  Sometimes called the Hirsch index.

The number of publications by an author or in a journal that have at least 10 citations.

Immediacy index
The number of citations that articles in a journal receive in a given year divided by the number of articles published.

Impact factor
A measure reflecting the average number of citations per article published in a journal.  Generally the impact factor for one year is calculated using citation data for articles published within the previous two years.  For example, the 2013 impact factor for a journal would be calculated from articles published in 2011 and 2012.

SJR indicator
A measure of the influence of academic journals that considers both the number of citations received by a journal and the prestige of the journals making those citations.  Citations from more prestigious journals are ranked more highly than those from lower-prestige journals.

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