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Researchers: Using metrics

Choose a journal to publish in

The immediacy index (found on Web of Science) indicates how quickly after publication articles within a journal are cited, on average. Although it is well known that many articles will never be cited, perhaps this indicator could help you to make the final choice between two journals.

Other factors worth considering include:

  • an open access option
  • acceptance/rejection rate
  • speed from submitting to publication
  • quality signs like peer review process & overall reputation of the journal

More information can be found in our researchers' Scholarly Communication guide.

Choose a collaboration partner

Highly cited authors tend to accrue more citations so that they are sought after co-authors. Also, papers from a large, international collaboration with hundreds of authors are often more highly cited. The authors will potentially all be promoting their paper, so co-authored papers are more likely to be widely disseminated. An interesting paper in Scientometrics explores the characteristics of highly cited authors.

Strategic publicising of your papers

If you already know that you are missing a couple of citations to one of your outputs to boost your h-index up to the next level then you could be strategic in publicising that output to others.

Five ways to publicise an output:

  • Make sure that an Open Access copy is available in the Middlesex University Research Repository
  • Add information about it to your email signature
  • Tweet a link to it (or ask a contact on Twitter to do so for you)
  • Send it to researchers in the field (by email or in print)
  • Cite it from one of your own forthcoming papers

This using metrics page will explore

**Please click on any word that is a link, to find out more about it in the accompanying glossary or in a further source of information.**

Responsible use of metrics

There are some important movements that seek to guide our use of metrics in research arenas:

  1. San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (also known as DORA) - "initiated by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) together with a group of editors and publishers of scholarly journals". Signed by both individuals and organisations who agree with it: as listed on their website. 
  2. Leiden Manifesto for Research Metrics - "five experts led by Diana Hicks, professor in the School of Public Policy at Georgia Institute of Technology, and Paul Wouters, director of CWTS at Leiden University, have proposed ten principles for the measurement of research performance" Published as a comment in Nature.
  3. Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA UK) Metrics Special Interest Group - ARMA are a UK professional organisation with an interest in supporting and measuring researchers. 

See how you look to others

Take control of your online identity

A quick video from introducing their "health check" for a researcher's digital identity

Track who is interested in your work

Look for people and places where connections could be made or impact might be achieved with techniques such as:

Reflect your successes online

Consider tweeting, blogging, vlogging (video blogging) or sharing images, as a way of raising your profile, and use this channel to celebrate your success.

Some tools will help you to boast about how many visitors or followers you have: this is fairly common practice on social media. Just beware of the "humblebrag" and make it a straightforward celebration. 

Benefits of using social media

A few of these are that you can:

  • Find and connect with other researchers online
  • Stay ahead in your field
  • Identify key points in your own work
  • Develop skills: eg a different writing style or video production
  • Reach new audiences beyond academia

Melissa Terras documented the effect of tweeting about her research.