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Research Impact for Engineering

Library Contacts

Photo of Paul Grochowski

Paul Grochowski | Consultation

Photo of Leena Lalwani

Leena Lalwani | Consultation
ChE, MSE, NAME, Macro, Patents

Jamie Niehof | Consultation
CLaSP, CSE, EER, Integrated Sys, Robotics, NERS, UMTRI

Getting Started

This research guide provides an overview of several metrics, methods, and tools commonly used in assessing scholarly impact. Researchers, funders, and administrators often use impact assessment to inform decision-making processes including:

  • Grant application
  • Promotion, tenure, and job applications
  • Selecting journals in which to publish
  • Identifying new collaborators
  • Faculty recruitment
  • Performance reporting

For assistance with resources related to impact metrics, methods, and tools, contact a librarian.

Defining Citation Analysis

What is it? 

Citation analysis is the study of the impact and assumed quality of an article, an author, or an institution based on the number of times works and/or authors have been cited by others. 

Why use it?

  • To find out how much impact a particular article has had by showing which authors based some work upon it or cited it as an example within their own papers. 
  • To find out more about a field or topic; i.e. by reading the papers that cite a seminal work in that area. 
  • To determine how much impact a particular author has had by looking at the number of times his/her work has been cited by others. 

Benefits and Limitations of Impact Metrics

Quantitative publication metrics offer a relatively quick and seemingly concrete measure of research impact and are used widely in the assessment of academic research. However, metrics can lead to over-simplification and sometimes serve as direct proxies for impact at the expense of other valuable considerations.

Several efforts have led to frameworks that promote the application of assessment metrics as one important aspect of a broader assessment process.

  • The Leiden Manifesto
    Ten principles emanating from the International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators (Leiden University, Netherlands). Encourages the use of robust quantitative and qualitative data "with sensitivity to the aim and nature of the research that is evaluated."
  • The Metric Tide
    Recommendations from a 2014 multidisciplinary study of the United Kingdom research system. Encourages "responsible metrics," with quantitative indicators, expert judgment, and qualitative measures serving as complements to decision making.

Quick Links

  • Scopus
    Provides author H-index, article citation counts and alerts, journal rankings (CiteScore, SJR, and SNIP)
  • Web of Science
    Provides author H-index, article citation counts and alerts, journal rankings (Journal Impact Factor and Eigenfactor Scores
  • Google Scholar @ UM
    Provides limited author H-Index; article citation data based on peer-reviewed literature and grey literature; compatible with Publish or Perish software for in-depth citation reports
  • Journal Citation Reports
    Provides Journal Impact Factors and publication statistics
    Provides a persistent, cross-platform author identifier to unify your research identity and outputs across the web. Create your ORCID here.