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Research Metrics

What are research metrics?

Metrics fall into two broad categories:

  • Bibliographic metrics (bibliometrics)
    These are measurement tools used across the scholarly publishing industry to measure the performance of a publication, publication source, or researcher. Bibliometrics methods apply quantitative analysis and statistics to describe patterns of publication and citation activity within a given field or body of literature.
  • Alternative metrics (altmetrics)
    These are measurement tools used to capture and track indicators of online engagement with research outputs. Altmetrics are complementary to traditional citation-based metrics.

What are the benefits of using metrics?

Research metrics can:

  • provide evidence of influence or performance when applying for grants and promotions
  • help to benchmark and assess your performance against peers
  • be used as part of a strategic publishing plan to identify suitable publishing outlets
  • may indicate your research performance and attention to your research.
  • quantify the return on research investment when applying for grant renewals
  • identify who is using your work
  • highlight the value of your research in progress reports, including school, institute and research centre reviews, and the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) framework

    Examples of metrics include:
    • number of publications
    • publication citations — the number of times a research work is cited by others (the assumption being that important or influential articles will be cited more often than other articles)
    • alternative metrics — based on internet mentions and attention.

Australia’s national research evaluation framework, Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), draws upon a combination of publication citation metrics and expert peer review to identify and promote excellence across the full spectrum of research activity in Australia’s higher education institutions.


Learn more about metrics

  • Metrics Toolkit — explore and choose metrics that may be best used for your situation
  • Citation impact — an overview of how academic performance is evaluated, from Phd on Track

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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)