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Scholarly Impact Research Guide (Turchin)

Getting Started

This guide provides resources and instructions on how to locate and document the following types of research impact: 

Unique Researcher Identifiers

A unique identifier allows you to distinguish yourself from other researchers. It can be used in journal and grant submissions and it allows you to standardize your research persona ensuring that you get recognition for your work. It is now required by many funders and publishers. 

Types of Metrics

The h-index is an author-level metric that attempts to measure both the productivity and citation impact of the publications of a scientist or scholar. 

The h-index is based on the highest number of papers included that have had at least the same number of citations. The value of h is equal to the number of papers (N) in the list that have N or more citations.


Thus, if the h-index for an author is 10, it means that of all his published articles, at least 10 have been cited 10 or more times.


The g-index is an index for quantifying scientific productivity based on publication record (an author-level metric). It was suggested in 2006 by Leo Egghe


The Journal Impact Factor is a measure of the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year. The JCR also lists journals and their impact factors and ranking in the context of their specific field(s).

Researchers at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) have developed the Relative Citation Ratio (RCR). The RCR normalizes citation numbers across disciplines, so that articles from biomedical fields with different citation rates can be compared. The NIH says that it is using the metric to assess the influence of work that it has funded. 

The RCR is calculated by dividing the number of citations a paper received by the average number of citations an article usually receives in that field. That number is then benchmarked against the median RCR for all NIH-funded papers. 

For more information on the RCR please see this pre-print article: 

To calculate your RCR Score for free, visit iCite

Journal Normalized Citation Impact: The Journal Normalized Citation Impact (JNCI) indicator is a similar indicator to the Normalized Citation Impact, but instead of normalizing per subject area or field, it normalizes the citation rate for the journal in which the document is publishing.

Category Normalized Citation Impact (CNCI) of a document is calculated by dividing the actual count of citing items by the expected citation rate for documents with the same document type, year of publication and subject area. 

Altmetrics are statistics sourced from the social Web that can be used to help you understand the many ways that your work has had an impact with other scholars, the public, policy makers, practitioners, and more. They are useful supplementary measures of impact, best used in tandem with traditional measures like citation counts. Together, the two types of metrics can illustrate the full impact of your work.

Things to Consider & Limitations

There are very clear limitations to using the different types of metrics currently produced and used. Some of the limitations to the traditional metrics are as follows:

  • Citation errors can lead to missing or inconsistent citations
  • Metrics can be biased depending on the length of the research career, field of research, and format of the scholarly output
  • Do not consider all forms of research output (datasets, programming language) or qualitative value of research
  • Citation counts do not measure readership
  • Citation counts do not reflect accuracy or authoritativeness of the research product, journal, publisher or author
  • Citation counts do not include impact made outside of the scholarly community (i.e., public policy, schools environment, etc)
  • Difficult to compare scores across disciplines and areas of research
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