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Scholarly Communications: Scholarly Impact

Measure Your Current Professional Impact

Ever wonder how you can make your research go farther?  Do you think that your scholarly impact is not as big as you would like it to be?  Do you think you need help reaching a broader audience with your scholarship?  UWF Libraries can help you answer these questions and more.  Disseminating scholarly research and creating a digital identity can be a daunting task.  The librarians here at UWF have several key measures to help build and promote your scholarly imprint and boost the impact of your work.  

Before you begin completing steps that will enhance your scholarly profile, you may want to get a baseline measurement of your scholarly impact and digital identity right now.  After following certain steps to help you build your digital identity, you can repeat these steps to note the changes and improvement to the accessibility of your scholarship and the quality of your public digital identity. Throughout your career, check in on your "professional self" online and update areas that need attention.

Taking stock of the ways in which your scholarship is discovered, viewed, and used can help give you ideas on expanding your reach.  Updating your professional profile can help potential collaborators and scholars network with you while making your work more discoverable, and will yield more citations of your work in future studies.  These improvements will not only provide you with a strengthened portfolio for promotion but ensure that your scholarship continues through collaborations and future research.

Start With The Basics

Google (and Google Scholar) Yourself.

View how your professional profile and scholarship are seen online via the most-used search engine.

1. Google your name (hint: if you have a common name, you may want to also Google your affiliation with UWF, or any other institutions along with it).  Record the different places you appear and note which results come up first (LinkedIn, UWF website, etc). Are these sites up-to-date? What could be improved? What results do you wish would rise to the top?

2. Do the same in Google Scholar. How many citations do you have for each publication? Are your articles easy to find? Are they accessible in full-text?

Dig a Little Deeper

Check Web of Science.

Web of Science is the recognized standard for citation searching. You can obtain a Researcher ID and use it to view/track publication history in ISI-listed publications, create citation reports, and calculate h-index. Web of Science indexes over 12,000 high impact journals in 250 disciplines, and includes:

  • Science Citation Index (1965 to present)
  • Social Science Citation Index (1965 to present)
  • Biological Abstracts (1969 to present)
  • Medline (1950 to present)
  • SciELO Citation Index (1997 to present)

1. Access Web of Science through the library's Databases A-Z list
2. Switch from Basic Search to Cited Reference Search (blue arrow dropdown box)
3. Enter information about the cited work and click “Search”
4. Select the results you would like to view and click "Finish Search" - the results list includes all the articles citing the author and work you searched
5. Click on the title of the citing article to reveal more about the number of references the author cited, and how many times he or she has been cited


Check One More Place

Check Cabell's Directories.

Cabell’s Directories of Publishing Opportunities can help you select journals that are most likely to publish your manuscript by providing a journal’s subject emphasis, acceptance rate, and review process.  Subject coverage includes Business, Education, Sciences, Psychology, and Health.

*Of particular importance is the inclusion of the Journal Impact Factor from Journal Citation Reports, when available.  This can give you an idea of the impact of your previous publications.

1. Access Cabell's Directories through the library's Databases A-Z list
2. Enter a title or title keyword(s) in the search box
3. Use the Advanced functions to refine your search by Impact Factor, ISSN, publisher, acceptance rate, review type, etc.
4. Click "Journal Details" for specific information about a particular journal 
5. For a side-by-side comparison of multiple journals, click "Compare Journals" under each title you would like to include (the tab will turn green) - then click "Compare" in the pop-up window 



Traditional attempts to capture scholarly impact have been measured using methods collectively referred to as “Bibliometrics.” The term was coined by Alan Pritchard in his 1969 paper entitled “Statistical Bibliography or Bibliometrics?” in which he defined the term as “the application of mathematics and statistical methods to books and other media of communication.” (Pritchard, 1969)

Bibliometrics seeks to quantitatively analyze scientific and technological literature in an attempt to determine the scholarly impact of an article or published work. One of the most common methods is citation analysis, whereby a citation is examined primarily for frequency and for patterns of occurrence in other published works. The merit or value of actual research is then judged according to these analyses.

Since print was the primary medium for transmission in Pritchard’s time, researchers had no choice but to rely on biblometrics and endure the not uncommon waiting period of 1-3 years before the impact of a published article could be known. Today, tools for bibliometrics have improved and can in some cases significantly cut down on the wait, but the inherent reliance on citation counts is not equipped to take into account emerging channels of scholarly communication that do not rely solely on print journal publication. The rise of electronic resources and e-journals has in some cases made bibliometrics difficult to implement, and bibliometrics lacks the ability to measure the impact of scholarly output in non-traditional avenues, such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social media. From The University of Pittsburg Libraries


“Alternative metrics” or “altmetrics” refers to different ways of measuring the use of, and impact of, scholarship. Rather than solely measuring the number of times a work is cited in scholarly literature, altmetrics aims to capture a more complete picture of scholarly impact by counting and analyzing the usage of more recent avenues of scholarly communication:

  • Views and downloads from online repositories and databases
  • Sharing through social media (for example, Facebook and Twitter)
  • Citations and discussions in blogs and wikis
  • Social bookmarking (for example, Delicious and CiteULike)
  • Mentions and comment counts (for example, in Reddit and YouTube)
  • Holdings in library collections

Additionally, altmetrics can be used to understand the research impact of scholarly works that aren't traditionally captured through citation counts, such as

  • Figures and images
  • Reports
  • Data sets
  • Books and book chapters
  • Proceedings
  • Presentations and slides

Altmetrics doesn’t seek to replace conventional bibliometrics, but rather, endeavors to generate more timely and complete pictures of scholarly impact that can help researchers to better focus their efforts on avenues that are garnering the most interest, and ultimately, the greatest impact for their work. From The University of Pittsburg Libraries