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Bibliometrics and Altmetrics: Measuring the Impact of Knowledge

This guide includes information on which of the databases contain citation measures that can be used to gage either an author, article or journal impact.

Peer's Advice for Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure (APT) Preparation

Preparing for tenure and promotion is a complex, labor-intensive process, allow plenty of time and set up citation tracking as early as possible. Below are some best practices and techniques to maximize search results and efficiency.  A Research Consultation with a librarian can provide additional guidance.  Some things to keep in mind: 

  • It is impossible to get a complete, accurate count of citing references.
  • Errors in citations are common, therefore many ‘variant’ references occur.  It is difficult to track them all down.
  • Citation styles vary by publisher, search for different forms of author name and journal title.
  • You'll reach a point of diminishing returns for your efforts.
  • Appraisal is based upon both quantifiable impact and qualitative peer review. 

Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure (APT) Committees

  • Ask about your unit's APT committee's--as well as the University's Office of Faculty Affairs--stance on counting self-citations.
  • Be aware of what resources your department and UMD are willing to consider, e.g., does SCImago have credibility?  SCImago covers more journals, e.g. ~2x in dentistry, they can be useful for journal ranking info with their SJR.  They use a different formula than Journal Citation Reports so the two used in combination may give a better overall sense of a journal's influence.
  • Ultimately, you must make a strong case for the impact of your scholarly work using whatever data you have available to you.

Databases and Tools Limitations

  • No resource covers all citing sources; they only track what they track.
  • Many subject databases have only recently begun to include/track reference lists thus may only include more recent citations to older publications.
  • Some types of publications are not well covered:  books, conference proceedings, and dissertations.  This refers to both the original and citing documents.
  • CAUTION: Be careful not to count the same citing publication more than once; the same citing publications will likely be found in more than one source.  Creating an archive of all citing documents in ZoteroEndNote or similar software is useful for removing duplicates.
  • Different strategies must be used for different resources. 

Adapted with permission from Cited Reference Searching & Journal Rankings subject guide, Marquette University. Authors: Pat Berge, Rosemary Del Toro, Heather James, Martha Jerme [Accessed June, 2014].  

Are You up for Promotion and Tenure?

Our Services to Faculty in Support of Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure (APT)

Librarians are available to consult with faculty and/or their student assistants in measuring the impact of research. Contact your subject librarian to make an appointment to:

  • Develop a strategy to increase the visibility of your research
  • Identify and learn to use the best databases for cited reference searching in your field
  • Determine journal impact factors and journal rankings by subject category
  • Explore h-Index and other metrics for evaluating the impact of research
  • Create a researcher identity using Google Scholar ProfileAuthor ID, etc.
  • Discover the problems and pitfalls of the process and how to avoid them