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Research Impact Challenge

This guide contains 10 activities for researchers to better understand and manage their online scholarly presence, as well as the impact and reach of their research.

Day 7: Finding appropriate metrics

Welcome to Day 7 of the U-M Library Research Impact Challenge!

Yesterday we focused on what kinds of work you are doing. Today we’ll look at concrete ways the impact of that work might be measured, focusing on this question: How do you get from the work you do, to an appropriate metric for measuring and communicating its impact?

Let's get started!

Here's how to do it: 

1. The Metrics Toolkit, launched in 2018, is a great tool to help you navigate the research metrics landscape. Take a few minutes to explore this site. You might want to browse all of the included metrics.

Screenshot of Metrics Tookit homepage with title, logo, and search bar

2. Each metric included in the toolkit is described according to the Metric Toolkit Schema, which includes fields such as the name of the metric, how it is calculated, strengths and limitations, and appropriate and inappropriate applications. 


4. Click on at least two of the suggested metrics and read about them, especially focusing on the “Appropriate use cases,” “Limitations,” and “Inappropriate use cases.”' As an example, the entry for "News Mentions" looks like this: 

5. Check out the “Available metric sources” field for each type of metric. Would you know how to obtain this data if you wanted to?

What next? 

The Metrics Toolkit is a user-friendly introduction to identifying appropriate researich impact metrics, but it’s not the only tool like this available. Check out Snowball Metrics for another approach to defining and identifying standardized, replicable, open, research impact metrics.

Learn more: 

Milat et al. “A narrative review of research impact assessment models and methods.” Health Research Policy and Systems (2015) 13:18. DOI 10.1186/s12961-015-0003-1. This review provides an overview of frameworks and methods of measuring research impact in applied in a subset of health sciences research published from 1990-2013.

Preparing for the next challenge: 

You've completed Day 7 of the U-M Library Research Impact Challenge! While completing this challenge, you may have noticed that the Metrics Toolkit groups all citation-based measures of impact together. Tomorrow, we’ll dig into this category, looking at specific citation-based impact metrics, how to calculate them, and how to understand them in context.