Research impact and publishing: Key tools

Telling your story

With any measure of “impact”, you need to place the information in context and think about using a range of indicators. Citation analysis provides just one aspect, focusing on scholarly impact using quantitative data metrics. Additional indicators that consider broader, societal impact, and quality measures such as peer-review are necessary to tell your impact story.

Disciplines such as Arts & Humanities are often not well represented by existing citation analysis tools that predominantly index journal articles and coverage in the sciences. Recognition of a diverse range of outputs that can be tracked for attention and engagement are helping to provide a more complete picture. See Altmetrics Libguide for more.

Impact Models/Frameworks

Becker Medical Library Model for Assessment of Research Impact

Evaluating Research in Context (ERiC)

reading   The Turnbull Government 2017 pilot to test impact, business engagement of researchers

Citation analysis tools

  Web of Science Scopus Google Scholar
  • 12 000 peer-reviewed journals (including open access journals) from 1900 to present
  • 160,000 conference proceedings
  • 60 000 books (2005 to present)
  • 21,000 peer-reviewed journals (3,800 are open access) from 1966 to present. Includes articles-in-press.
  • 6.8 million conference papers
  • 360 trade publications
  • 27 million patents
  • 90,000 books (2003 to present)
  • Journals, theses, books, abstracts, court opinions
  • Coverage of scientific and medical literature (65% of total content)
  • Citation data from 1900 to present
  • Includes citation data for research data sets
  • Coverage of the life, health and physical sciences literature (76% of total content)
  • Broad coverage of journals
  • Free to search
  • Includes grey literature
  • Coverage of arts and humanities literature (35% of total content)
  • Weak international & non-English language coverage
  • Limited citation data for publications prior to 1996
  • Coverage of arts and humanities literature (24% of total content)
  • Weak international & non-English language coverage
  • Limited quality control
  • Content coverage unclear
  • Inflated citation counts from Table of Contents  & reading lists
  • Citation errors
  • Library Subscription
  • Library Subscription
  • Free to search
  • Weekly
  • Daily
  • Monthly on average

Research performance tools

InCites, produced by Clarivate Analytics, can be used to:

  • Identify and manage research activities and their impact
  • Benchmark and compare performance to peers
  • Promote internal and external partnerships and collaborations
  • Identify experts both inside and outside the organisation
  • Promote areas of strength and specialisations

SciVal, produced by Elsevier, consists of four modules:

1. Overview: Get a high-level overview of the research performance of your institution, other institutions, countries and groups of researchers.

2. Benchmarking: Compare and benchmark your institution to other institutions, researchers and groups of researchers.

3. Collaboration: Explore the collaboration network of your institution and other institutions.

4. Trends: Identify current scientific trends to determine a new research strategy, find collaboration opportunities and rising stars.

Visualisation tools

Visualisation tools can assist in discovering and demonstrating connections or relationships between entities and may add clarity and impact to an analysis.

Examples of how visualisation tools may be used:

A selection of visualisation tools is listed below:


  • For Science of Science research and practice.
  • Could be used for visualising co-author networks.
  • Provides advanced algorithms, effective visualisations, and many standard workflows. Supports micro-level documentation and replication of studies.


  • Open Source and free tool for Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • Could be used for visualising co-author networks.
  • Interact with the representation, manipulate the structure, shapes and colours to reveal hidden properties. Make hypotheses, intuitively discover patterns, isolate structure singularities or faults during data sourcing.


  • Can be used for any type of data in a variety of formats.
  • Provide data visualisations in web browsers.
  • D3 helps bring data to life using HTML, SVG and CSS.  
  • Combines powerful visualisation components and a data-driven approach to Document Object Model manipulation.

VOS Viewer

  • Free standalone tool developed by Leiden University.
  • Networks may include journals, researchers, or individual publications, and they can be constructed based on co-citation, bibliographic coupling, or co-authorship relations.
  • Text mining functionality available.