Measuring the impact of research has become increasingly important in helping to show the value of research to your institution and funding bodies, to identify areas of research strength and weakness, to identify top journals and identify emerging areas of research. Some metrics can be used to locate potential collaborators or competitors.
Metrics are used in rankings such as Times World University Rankings and QS rankings and by some panels in the REF so whatever your views on them it is worth finding out what is recorded about you.
There are a wide range of developing and established tools to evaluate research which you can explore using the Metrics Toolkit
The most established form of metrics is 'Bibliometrics' which is the analysis of research literature based on citations, however subject coverage does vary – arts and humanities has traditionally not been included in citation indices for example. It is important to note that citation databases have biases in coverage especially towards research written in English, and from Western countries.
When using Research Metrics, there are two golden rules;
- Always use both qualitative and quantitative input into your evaluations
- Use a combination of indicators and acknowledge their limitations to gain a more accurate picture.
Traditional Metrics and Altmetrics are measure of attention or engagement, not necessarily quality. There are limited methods to discover whether a citation or tweet about a work is positive or negative, so use of either or both should be contextualized where possible.
The Library Research Support Team supports the recommendations of HEFCE's Metric Tide Report. This includes the following recommendations to ensure responsible use of metrics:
Swansea University has endorsed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). Guidance for implementation of DORA principles by the Wellcome Trust has also has been released; Implementation Guidance
Inspec and Inspec Analytics from the Institution of Engineering and Technology, are highly specialised discovery and research intelligence tools that provide detailed insights into research trends and patterns across physics and engineering disciplines at both local and global levels.
The granularity of the Inspec index makes it easy to analyse research output by organisation and/or specific subjects, allowing you to monitor research output over time, compare output between organisations, stay up to date with emerging trends, find collaboration opportunities and identify the most relevant journals and conferences to publish work. Inspec Analytics is accessible via Inspec then click on the 'Go to Inspec Analytics' URL
To watch a video on how to access Inspec Analytics please follow the link; Inspec Analytics Video
Sources indexed in Inspec: https://www.theiet.org/media/6168/inspec-active-journals.pdf
More about Inspec’s subject classifications: https://www.theiet.org/publishing/inspec/inspec-content-coverage/inspec-classification/
Inspec Analytics user guide and videos: https://inspec-analytics.theiet.org/inspec-analytics-user-guide
We offer the following to colleges, departments, research groups, REF units of assessment and individual researchers:
Requests for any of these services should be sent to Libraryresearchsupport@swansea.ac.uk .
Altmetrics are metrics based on social media interactions and attention. They are more immediate than citations but also more open to "gaming". Providers of altmetrics suggest that they are best thought of as indicators of engagement and attention.
Reasons to consider altmetrics are to:
There are a number of commercial providers of Altmetrics but there is also a lot freely available: