VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Research Impact

This guide describes the different metrics and methods available to determine the impact of your research and scholarly work. This guide will also connect you with the library resources necessary to find, use, and understand the context of these metrics.

H-index

The h-index attempts to measure the cumulative impact of an individual researcher’s publications, using both the number of publications and the number of citations.

Method of calculation

H-Index = number of papers (h) with a citation number ≥ h

Advantages
  • Useful for comparing impact within specific disciplines or areas of research
  • Useful for comparing impact of researchers with similar career lengths
Disadvantages
  • Not an accurate measure for early-career researchers
  • Not appropriate for comparing impact across disciplines
  • Does not provide context for citations
  • Can vary based on which citations are included in the calculation data. For example, it is common for a researcher to have two different h-indexes in Web of Science and Google Scholar.
Tools for measuring

I-10 Index

Method of calculation

 i10-Index = number of publications with at least 10 citations

Advantages
  • Easy and free to calculate
Disadvantages
  • Used only in Google Scholar
Tools for measuring

Web of Science Author Beam Plots

Proprietary analysis provided by Clarivate, this provides information about an author and their impact across time. 

Advantages
  • Images that can be edited and captured
  • Can display productivity over time
Disadvantages
  • Must claim profile to edit it
  • Combining multiple profiles/names/affiliations can be difficult.
Tools for measuring

Additional Metrics for Authors

Authors can also utilize metrics about the articles they have published or the journals they have published in like:

  • NIH iCite Relative Citation Ratio (RCR)
  • Total number of citations for an author
  • Yearly average of citations for a body of work.

Check out the other tabs in this guide to learn more about different levels of metrics.