Skip to Main Content CSS Website Layout

The University of Bolton Library

Research support

Why measure impact?

As a researcher, it is likely that you will want to be able to assess the way in which your research is perceived: you may wish to assess impact. Understanding and measuring research impact is important for a number of reasons. This page will will tell you why it is important to measure impact and how to go about it.

Your research in UBIR: impact

UBIR can provide you with statistics of how often documents in UBIR have been downloaded. Statistics are available for each item, take a look at the graphs within UBIR.

Citation searching and bibliometrics

Bibliometrics measure the impact of research using mathematical and statistical analysis. It takes into account data about publications such as the rate at which the articles are cited, and the quality of the journals in which the research is cited.

Fully understanding bibliometrics can be difficult, but having a broad understanding of the way in which measuring research impact with bibliometrics is useful. For example, it can help you make decisions about which journal to publish in, which are the best journals for your particular descipline, who is citing your research and how relevant is your research.

Citation searching employs a specific search technique to establish how research has been cited. By searching some databases for a specific author, you should be able to retrieve a list of the publications of that author, and also how that author's research has been cited. Scopus is a very useful database for thorough citation searching, and you can also undertake citation searching in Google Scholar. Follow these links:


What are altmetrics?

Altmetrics are "alternative metrics": a way of assessing impact that reflects the way in which the scholarly community engages and disseminates research. A number of providers offer this type of service, one of which is a company called Altmetric. Something you may have seen in a number of places is the Altmetric 'donut', which you can see above. Altmetric assesses the many ways in which a piece of research can be shared. For example, an article may be shared on Twitter; others may Tweet about it. Perhaps the article is 'liked' on Facebook, or it might be blogged about, or flagged up on the BBC website. These are all ways in which research can be shared, and altmetrics aim to measure the impact of research by bringing these together. 

UBIR displays the Altmetric donut where altmetrics are available. 


Sharing research

Sharing research is an important part of scholarly communication. Sharing research encourages academic debate, enables further research and promotes discussion and fosters collaboration among other positives. To share research goes further than writing journal articles and presenting at conferences, it adds to the intrinsic value of conducting that research. 

By sharing research, you can not only demonstrate the importance of the research (and achieve compliancy if appropriate), the process can be more rewarding. 

Open access; open research

Never discount the value of open access material. Many open access journals boast increasingly impressive impact factors. There are number of ways in which you can find open access material, both in traditional journals where the articles have been made available via an open access model, and in journals whose entire publication output is available via open access.

Discover@Bolton includes a wide range of quality-assured open access databases containing hundreds of thousands of articles. To include open access article in your results select the Check this box to search open access resources beyond your library's collection option at the top right-hand side of your results list.