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Metrics for Grant Applications and Promotions

Use metrics in grant applications

Metrics may indicate research quality and provide supporting evidence of claims that researchers make about their track record, contribution to a discipline, international profile or capacity to collaborate.

Tips to enhance your research reporting:

Research metrics vary over time and between disciplines:

  • Always put your claims into context
  • Calculate regularly
  • Provide a source for your data
What metrics can you use?

Consider the following indicators for tracking and evaluating the impact of your article. See also: Elsevier Research metrics quick reference (PDF download).

For Grant Applications

Check the grant 'Instructions for Applicants' and the Australian Research Council (ARC) ROPE Statement for their grant schemes.

  • Make sure your ORCID record and researcher profiles are correct and up-to-date and that you have bookmarked these for easy access.
  • Ensure you have applied Field of Research (FoR) codes to your research output where possible. To check if any of your research is missing a FoR, check this list of Publications without FoRs. For enquiries contact
  • Speak to your School Librarian about finding your top (1) Field of Research code (for NHMRC grants) or three (3) top Field of Research codes (for ARC grants). Your School Librarian can also help you identify your top 10 publications. For the three (3) ARC Field of Research codes you will be asked to work out the percentage of research you have in these Fields of Research (see next section below titled 'Finding your research areas'.
  • A statement about which authorship order is most prestigious for your discipline, e.g., first author position or last author position. You might consider adding this statement to your grant application.
  • Ask your school librarian for help setting up your SciVal, Web of Science/InCites, and Altmetric Explorer researcher reports so you can bookmark these for easy access to your metrics.
  • Don't repeat metrics across sections of your grant application.
  • Use the best-performing metrics to create example statements to include in your grant 'story' and help your research 'shine'.
  • Generally speaking, use percentages (%) for benchmarking your author performance against your academic unit, institution, Australia and the world. Where the option is available, exclude self-cites (use of self-cites is generally reserved for topics where there is not much research available, e.g., new topics)

Note: The use of journal-based metrics is not encouraged for National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants, as the NHMRC supports The DORA (Declaration on Research Assessment) recommendations on research assessment.

Reach out to your School Librarian for information about types of research metrics and how to set up, maintain and bookmark your researcher profiles. Contact your Research Development Officer in Grant Services for general inquiries about grant applications.

For Academic Promotions Applications

Refer to your Research Activity Statement (RAS) > Publications tab. The RAS is available from the Research Portal. The RAS includes the following SciVal metrics (you will find explanations for these metrics on the first or second page of your Research Activity Statement):

In addition:

  • Download and review this guide on Making Evidence Count: Perspectives and Principles on Measuring Teaching and this Checklist for Academic Achievement which provides example of how to capture evidence for academic achievement
  • Section 3a of the Academic Promotions Guidelines indicates that applicants must discuss the quality and impact of their teaching and student learning. Visit the Western Open Books Quick Start Guide for further information about evidencing your teaching practice.
  • Section 3b of the Academic Promotions Guidelines indicates that applicants should outline the research output, such as publications (including Non-Traditional Research Outputs), particularly demonstrating the quality and peer recognition of research achievements relative to your discipline standards.
  • Levels D and E applicants must also include three significant scholarly sole-authored or collaborative works with their application, recommending that at least two of the three works be within the last five years or since your last promotion. These significant works must be submitted with your application as either: a single electronic copy of each significant work (preferred); or three hard copies of each of your significant works. See Section 5 of the Academic Promotions Guidelines for more information.
  • In your Academic Promotion Application CV, Textbook reviews can be included as applicable achievements (see page 13 of the Academic Promotions Guidelines under Teaching and Learning Information).

For more information about your Research Activity Statement, email the Research Data Team:

Finding your research areas

Analysing your publications in Scopus and Web of Science will tell you the following:

  • your main research areas
  • if your research spans other research areas, indicating if your research is multidisciplinary.

"My work is multidisciplinary - 34% of my articles are in the subject area of biochemistry, 29% in biophysics and 16% in oncology (Web of Science, 1/12/2019)"

Identifying your Fields of Research (FoRs)

In SciVal, change the Subject classification to Fields of Research (FOR).

  • Log into SciVal
  • At the bottom of the Overview module you will find a donut or pie chart titled Publication share by Subject Area. Use this to find the percentage of your SciVal research output classified by Field of Research (FoR) codes.

Deciding between Scopus or Web of Science data for tracking performance

This will depend on which indexing platform best reports your metrics.

Following is a comparison of Scopus (Elsevier) and Web of Science (Clarivate) data as at 2019:

  • 37,535 journals were indexed in Scopus (31% more), and 28,560 journal titles were indexed in Web of Science.
  • Journal coverage for Web of Science and Scopus in Social Sciences and Arts & Humanities is low.*
    • Scopus: The strongest coverage is in Biomedical Research, followed by Natural Sciences and Engineering.
    • Web of Science: The strongest coverage is in Natural Sciences and Engineering, followed by Biomedical Research.
* Source: Mongeon, P & Paul-Hus, A. (2016). “The journal coverage of Web of Science and Scopus: a comparative analysis”. Scientometrics 106. 213-228. DOI: 10.1007/s11192-015-1765-5

Features Scopus (Elsevier) Web of Science (Clarivate)
Materials Indexed
  • Active peer-reviewed journals: 23,793
  • Inactive journals (mostly predecessors of the active titles): 13,742
  • Conference papers: 8+ million
  • Books: 150,000+
  • Trade publications: 280
  • Book series: 560+
  • Patents: 39+ million
  • Active peer-reviewed journals: 20,219
  • Inactive journals (mostly predecessors of the active titles): 8,341
  • Conference papers: 10+ million
  • Books: 90,000+
Content focus (Institutional profile categories)
  • Health Sciences (28%) (100% MEDLINE, Nursing, Dentistry)
  • Life sciences (33%) (Neuroscience, Pharmacology, Biology)
  • Physical Sciences (19%) (Chemistry, Physics, Engineering)
  • Social Sciences (43%) (Psychology, Economics, Business, strong Arts & Humanities coverage)
  • Agriculture, Biology & Environmental Sciences
  • Arts & Humanities (strong coverage)
  • Business
  • Clinical Medicine
  • Electronics & Telecommunications
  • Engineering, Computing & Technology (strong coverage)
  • Life Sciences
  • Physical, Chemical & Earth Sciences (strong coverage)
  • Social and Behavioural Sciences
Time period covered 1970-present 1900-present
Author indexing Author-generated by Scopus-edits only done by Scopus staff Author-created as part of Researcher I Dedited by authors
  • Broader international, non-English coverage
  • Stronger biomedical research coverage
  • Effective keyword/index term facet based on underlying databases with indexing
  • Powerful interface and more features:
    • Analyse search results: graphs by year, source (journal), author, institution affiliation, discipline, country, document type; exportable to MS Excel
    • Compare journals: compares up to 10 sources by impact metrics: number of citations, number of articles published in a year, % of articles not cited, & % of articles that are review articles, all graphed by year
    • View secondary documents, which are documents not indexed in Scopus (retrieved from the references or citations of the documents that Scopus covers).
  • In 2016, the National Science Foundation (NSF) chose Scopus as a new data provider for its Science and Engineering Indicators report due to Scopus’ broader global coverage
  • Indexed journals have fewer coverage gaps
  • Deeper citation indexing across all content (back to 1900)
  • More options for citation analysis for institutions
  • More robust author searching - all authors from all publications are indexed, searchable and unified based on ORCID and ResearcherID profiles
  • Funding Data: 2008-present
Sources: Clarivate Analytics and Scopus webpages, A. Ben Wagner. (2015). A Practical Comparison of Scopus and Web of Science Core Collection (; Iowa State University, LibGuides: Scopus (


"My work is multidisciplinary - 34% of my articles are in the subject area of biochemistry, 29% in biophysics and 16% in oncology (Web of Science, 1/12/2019)"

Finding your level of collaboration

Find your level of collaboration by analysing your metrics in Web of Science and Scopus.

  • Do any publications have a corporate/industry author?
  • How many publications have a non-WSU or overseas author?

See also: Collaborations.


"70% of my journal articles have non-WSU Australian-based co-authors, with 15% of my papers involving international co-authors, including three papers with Harvard University co-authors (Web of Science, 1/12/2019)"

This Metrics for grant applications guide includes instructions on finding and using metrics to provide evidence of your track record and top papers.

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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)