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Research Impact and Metrics: Appropriate Use

Describes ways to identify impactful research and describe it and how to interpret metrics that are applied to journals, articles and researchers Library Support During COVID-19

Using Research Metrics

While this type of value analysis has been groundbreaking in its ability to identify important trends in scholarly work, it is not without its problems.  Using impact factors and other metrics to assign value to a job candidate's work has met with a great deal of criticism.  While it's easy to rely on quantitative research value indicators in lieu of a more thorough review of the work itself, the misuse of the indicators has become highly problematic and has led to concern that the pursuit of high impact factors could negatively influence the direction of science by directing research funds away from innovative ideas.

Recognizing this potential for the misuse, activists in the field have published guidelines for using the indicators appropriately.

Do's and Don't's

Do use metrics to:

  • Assert the value of your research output and enhance your CV
  • Find influential articles in research database
  • Help identify highly cited journals for a library collection

Don't  use metrics to:

  • Judge the quality or appropriateness of individual research papers
  • Make fine rankings of papers, researchers, or journals
  • Assume qualities that they aren't meant to measure, for example, the value of an individual paper from the impact factor of the journal that published it


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