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Scholarly Communications & Open Access

Journal Prestige

Selecting which journal(s) to send your manuscript to is an important step in the academic publishing process. Here are the main criteria to consider: 

  • Citability: Impact and immediate factors
  • Review process
  • Acceptance rates
  • Editors/sponsoring organization
  • Circulation stats: Online and print 
  • Indexing: If and in which databases

Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides basic citation data, and allows you to see who is citing your publications and graph citations over time.

  • The h-index of a publication is the largest number h such that at least h articles in that publication were cited at least h times each. For example, a publication with five articles cited by, respectively, 17, 9, 6, 3, and 2, has the h-index of 3.
  • The h-core of a publication is a set of top cited h articles from the publication. These are the articles that the h-index is based on. For example, the publication above has the h-core with three articles, those cited by 17, 9, and 6.
  • The h-median of a publication is the median of the citation counts in its h-core. For example, the h-median of the publication above is 9. The h-median is a measure of the distribution of citations to the h-core articles.
  • Finally, the h5-index, h5-core, and h5-median of a publication are, respectively, the h-index, h-core, and h-median of only those of its articles that were published in the last five complete calendar years.


What are Altmetrics?

Altmetrics (alternative metrics) uses the Web to generate new measures of scholarly impact. They include factors like: 

  • Mentions on Facebook, Twitter, or professional networking sites (e.g., ResearchGate)
  • Comments in publisher-hosted spaces (e.g., PLoS or blogs)
  • Mentions in mainstream media and news
  • Social bookmarks on sites such as CiteULike
  • Exports to citation management programs (e.g., Mendeley, Zotero)

Altmetrics are fast, diverse, and open metrics. They are generated and gathered immediately, from a wide variety of sources, and are gathered from open-source web services, meaning the algorithms and scores can be verified by others. 

Using metrics to your advantage

It may be beneficial to cite certain metrics while applying for grants or promotions, to demonstrate your article's longevity or impact, or your multidisciplinary appeal. Below are some examples of how to find and use this information.

Metrics used in grant and promotion applications

  • Number of publications (typically peer reviewed journal articles, reviews, conference papers, scholarly books and book chapters)
  • Career citation count (number of times a scholarly publication is cited by other works)
  • Citations per publication
  • Percentage of publications cited
  • h-index

Other metrics include:

  • your level of collaboration
  • how your individual publications compare to similar publications 
  • journal quality
  • benchmarking - how you and your papers compare in your field for your career stage
  • your article's attention beyond the scholarly community

Your research areas

Analyzing your research areas in Web of Science and Scopus will tell you your main research areas and if your research spans into other research areas, indicating if your research is multidisciplinary.

"My work is multidisciplinary, spanning biochemistry, biophysics and oncology - 34% of my articles are in the subject area of biochemistry, 29% in biophysics and 16% in oncology (source: Web of Science subject categories, 1/8/2016)"

Writing your grant or promotion application

Publication metrics vary over time and between disciplines, therefore:

  • always put your claims into context
  • calculate regularly
  • provide a source for your data

Find your top publications

Your article's impact is demonstrated by:

  • how many citations it has
  • how quickly the citations have accrued
  • citations still accruing if the paper is 10+ years old, indicating longevity and importance of the work

How do your papers rank in a research topic

  1. Search for the main topic related to your research work eg. "knee pain"
  2. Refine your topic search by country and/or years  
  3. Sort the result list by citation count
  • do any of your papers appear towards the top of the list?
  • how many publications have you contributed to your topic?
  • are you one of the most prolific authors who publish papers on that topic in Australia? (view list of authors in refine search)

"For the year 2014, I have the 1st and 3rd highest-cited papers in the topic of "knee pain" published with an Australian institution in the address (source: Web of Science topic search = "knee pain", 2014, 1/8/2016)"



The content of this guide is based in larged part on the UQ Library Research impacts and metrics guide.