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Research Metrics


Author research metrics measure the uptake and impact of your research and provide quantitative evidence of your performance in an academic field. They are used by evaluative frameworks for university rankings and can help to support your grant applications and submissions for academic promotion.

You can use a combination of indices from different platforms to demonstrate the citation uptake of your research. Which tool you use and which figures work best for you will depend on your discipline, the stage of your research career and the type of research output you commonly publish.

Types of Author Metrics

Scholarly output 

Scholarly output is the number of research outputs you have published. It is a useful indicator to demonstrate your overall research output and productivity.











  • Due to time delays in indexing, some platforms will not capture your most recent research publishing activity.
  • Inconsistencies in your name will produce inaccurate figures; check and maintain your various author profiles regularly to ensure a full and complete record is captured. 
  • Quantifying your research activity by output tends to favour more established researchers who publish frequently. Early career researchers, particularly those in Humanities disciplines who publish less frequently, may find that this figure doesn't demonstrate their full research activity when viewed in isolation.
  • In these cases, use your scholarly output figures to benchmark yourself against researchers from similar disciplines with similar career lengths. 



H-index is a widely used metric that attempts to measure both your productivity and your citation impact. It is a measure of the number of citations and the number of outputs. 

How is it calculated

The h-index is the number (h) of your papers that have received (h) citations each. For example, if you have 26 published outputs that have each been cited at least 26 times, your h-index is 26. This index demonstrates that you have a range of papers with high citation levels rather than one or two outliers with very high citations.

Source: Hirsch, J. E. (2005), An index to quantify an individual's scientific research output.

Similar indices

  • i10-index is the number of publications with at least 10 citations.
  • h5-index is your h-index relating to outputs published within the last five years only.


  • Your h-index will vary depending on where you source it from, as each platform calculates it in relation to other content on that platform.  For example, your Scopus h-index will only count citations you have received in other Scopus content; correspondingly, the same is true in Web of Science. Your h-index is likely to be highest in Google Scholar as they are harvesting content from a wide variety of sources, rather than just one database.
  • The h-index doesn't take into account the length of your career, or the differences of publishing speed and quantity between disciplines. It is therefore biased against early career researchers, people who publish infrequently and people who are selective or niche with their publishing platform.
  • A h-index number on its own is not helpful without any context. You need to know what the benchmark h-index is for a researcher at the same career level as you, in your field; and then look at how you compare to that. Understanding this means you can be strategic about whether or not you are going to use this number. As always, this one metric should not be used in isolation to measure scholarly impact or research quality.

Average citations for a set of documents

Both SciVal and Web of Science provide a metric for measuring the average number of citations a set of documents has received.

In SciVal it is called Citations per Publication.

In Web of Science it is called Average Citations per Item

Using either all your published outputs, or outputs from a selected time frame; the average is calculated by dividing the total number of citations received by the number of published outputs.

This metric is often displayed in a chart or table by year; when this is the case, these are always the years in which an output is published, not the years in which the citations were received.


  • Both these metrics may be useful to benchmark yourself against other similar researchers in your field with similar career lengths. 
  • Neither of these metrics are field normalised so should not be used to compare against researchers in other disciplines.

Field Normalised Citation Impact

Field Normalised Citation Impact is used to measure the citation performance of your research against the global average for your field. It allows for the differences between disciplines, type of published output and the expected lower citation rates on your most recent publications.

Category Normalised Citation Impact (CNCI)

In the Clarivate/InCites platform this metric is called Category Normalised Citation Impact (CNCI). InCites reports the average of your CNCI figures using the Web of Science categories assigned to your article. This can be displayed as a table showing the CNCI by each category relevant to you. CNCI can also be reported as an author-level metric by applying the calculation to a set of documents. 


Field-Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI)

In the Elsevier/SciVal platform, this metric is called Field-Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI). SciVal reports an overall FWCI for you as a researcher, and displays individual figures for each article in a table format. SciVal defines your field by the subject codes it has assigned to the journal in which your article was published. 


How is it calculated?

Field Normalised Citation Impact at an author level compares the number of citations received by all your publications to the average number of citations received by similar publications.

  • 1.00 indicates that your publications have been cited as expected based on the global average for similar publications.
  • more than 1.00 indicates that your publications have been cited more than the global average for similar publications.
  • less than 1.00 indicates that your publications have been cited less than the global average for similar publications.

For example, 2.11 means 111% more than the global average and 0.87 means 13% less than the global average.


  • Remember that InCites only analyses data from Web of Science-indexed content;  SciVal only analyses data within Scopus-indexed content.
  • The Field Normalised Citation Impact is typically presented as a mean value for an aggregation of documents, and highly cited articles can be negatively affected by a number of articles with low citation attention. It should not be used on its own or as a direct measure of research quality.
  • If your aim is to demonstrate the high number of citations you work has received, the Field Normalised Citation Impact may actually make your figures appear lower once the weighting has been applied. Similarly, if your discipline has typically lower citation rates, the Field Normalised Citation Impact may appear higher after the field weighting.

Outputs in Top Citation Percentiles

This metric measures how many of your outputs are present in the most-cited percentiles of all articles in the world. It shows what percentage of your published articles are in the top 1%, 5%, 10% or 25% worldwide. This analysis can be shown as the raw data, or with field-weighted calculations applied, so it minimises the bias towards highly cited disciplines. InCites calls this metric Documents in top 1% and 10% and provides the number of articles and the percentage of your entire publication list that fall in the nominated percentile.

Publications in Top Journal Percentiles

This metric relates to the number of your outputs that have been published in the world's most highly-cited journals. Unlike the Outputs in Top Citation Percentiles figure, this ranks the overall citation performance of the journal, and then calculates the number of your outputs that appear in these high ranking journals. This can demonstrate your publishing output in Q1 journals (Quartile 1 = Top 25%). Further explanation of this metric here.


  • Even the most highly cited journals contain articles that have few or no citations. Conversely, it doesn't include your influential and highly cited articles that have been published in lower ranking journals. 
  • This metric excludes publications such as books, book chapters and peer-reviewed conference papers because they do not appear in journals.

Sources for Author Metrics

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