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This guide provides information on the different types of research metrics that can provide evidence of your research expertise and experience; where to source them; and ensuring your author profile data is up to date and accurate.

What are Research Metrics?

Research metrics provide a way for you to track the performance of your research; provide evidence to support your claims in grant and promotions applications; and can also be used as part of a strategic publishing plan to identify suitable publishing outlets. 


Metrics fall into two broad categories:

  1. Bibliometrics or citation metrics
    These are measurement tools used across the scholarly publishing industry to measure the performance of a publication, a publication source, or a researcher. Bibliometrics methods apply quantitative analysis and statistics to describe patterns of publication and citation activity within a given field or body of literature. 

  2. Alternative metrics or Altmetrics
    These are measurement tools used to demonstrate how your research outputs are being engaged with online. Altmetrics are metrics and qualitative data that can explain both the volume and nature of attention that research receives online; and are complementary to traditional citation-based metrics. 

Metrics are measured in three main ways:

  Metric: Assessing the: Such as:
Publication level publication source journal or book
Article level research article, chapter or document
Author level researcher you

Make sure the metric you are using is related to the entity you want to assess. 

Research impact refers to the contribution that your research has made outside of academia, i.e. in broader society. The terms metrics and impact are often used together and sometimes interchangeably. While there can be some crossover - for example, in a grant application you might use both metrics and impact data to demonstrate the significance and contribution of your work - it is important to understand the distinction between the concepts. 

Sources for Metrics Data

There are several sources from which you can gather and analyse research metrics and altmetrics. Results will vary between sources due to the differences in coverage of publication types and discipline areas, so it is recommended to use a variety of sources. In addition, Western Sydney University staff can access a personalised Research Activity Statement from their Research Portal page. You will need to create a free login using your Western email address and personal password, to sign into Scopus & Scival; Web of Science & InCites; and Altmetric Explorer.



Scopus is Elsevier's abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature. It contains a variety of journal-level, author-level and article-level metrics; as well as PlumX Metrics which provides insights into the ways people interact with individual pieces of research. Elsevier has also developed the SciVal platform to analyse Scopus data and provide a range of additional metrics and benchmarking tools. Full detail of Scopus and SciVal metrics are available in the Research Guidebook.  


Web of Science (WoS) is a platform owned by Clarivate Analytics that provides access to several abstract and citation databases. It contains a variety of journal-level, author-level and article-level metrics. Clarivate Analytics has also developed the InCites platform to analyse WoS data and provide a range of additional metrics and benchmarking tools. Access the comprehensive guides, definitions and tutorials in the WoS guide and the InCites guide.  

Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides a comprehensive list of research outputs from a wide range of academic sources including scholarly databases, online repositories, Open Access repositories and pre-print servers. Google Scholar provides several author-level metrics such as citation count,  h-index and i10-index. Harzing's Publish or Perish software is useful for extracting and analysing Google Scholar data.  

Altimetric Explorer Altmetric Explorer is a platform developed by Digital Science to track altmetrics. It captures metrics from a variety of online sources, including social media platforms (such as Twitter and Facebook), mainstream media, blogs, Wikipedia, policy documents, patents, online reference manager and publisher download counts. Each output is then given a score that provides an indicator of the quantity and reach of attention it has received. Read more here.  
Dimensions Dimensions is a linked research data platform developed by Digital Science to explore connections between a wide range of research data. It extracts references from a huge number of sources (existing databases, plus publisher records) to capture a wide range of research outputs, and maps the entire research cycle: including publications, datasets, funding, patents, clinical trials and policy documents. Dimensions contains citation-based indicators and Altmetric attention scores to help you evaluate the impact of research outputs. Read more here
Research Portal Western Sydney University's Research Portal provides an overview of all Western Sydney University publications that fall within Excellent in Research for Australia (ERA) categories, with links back to records indexed in our ResearchDirect repository. Staff can access their Research Activity Statement via their Portal page, which draws publications data from the latest five full years in Scopus. It also includes information about your research income, PhD supervision, and your Field of Research activity. Compiled by the Research Data team. 

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Library guide created by Western Sydney University Library staff is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY)