Uses of bibliometrics and altmetrics

How to use bibliometrics and altmetrics to promote yourself and your research, explore your field and find influential authors.



There are many different metrics available, each using different calculations and data to assess different aspects of research publication. Some (like the Scimago Journal Rank or Impact Factor) are designed to help evaluate journals. Others, such as the h-index are designed to help compare individual researchers.

It's important that you use the appropriate metric for the question you're trying to answer – for example, the Journal Impact Factor was designed to help Librarians compare journals (by calculating the mean number of citations over a two-year period) and can't tell you anything about individual articles or authors.

Comparing journals

Metrics can't tell you which the best journals are, but they can help you to identify journals which receive more attention on average than others (in the form of citations and online discussion).

Whilst publishing in a highly-cited or highly-discussed journal won't guarantee that your paper will be read, cited or shared, it can help to raise the profile of your work and boost your CV.

Ultimately, however, the decision of where to publish your work depends on many factors that are beyond the scope of metrics.

Where to find these metrics

The University subscribes to a range of tools which can help you find highly cited or highly discussed journals.

Each tool indexes a different range of publications and may therefore give different results (for example, Scopus and Journal Citation Reports may give different citation counts for the same journal, because of differences in coverage between the two providers).

We therefore recommend that you use at least two in conjunction to provide an accurate assessment.

Finding highly-cited journals using Journal Citation Reports (PDF, 1.1MB)

Finding highly-cited journals using Scopus (PDF, 817KB)

Finding highly discussed journals using Altmetric Explorer (PDF, 565KB)

Promoting yourself and your research

Many academics list their h-index on their web pages and on their CVs as a form of self-promotion. If you see this, it's important to remember that a researcher's h-index can vary depending on the database used to calculate it.

For example, Google Scholar will almost always show a higher h-index than Web of Science or Scopus. This is due to the different sets of sources each database uses to track citations.

There are other bibliometrics that can also be used to promote yourself, such as percentile benchmarks (how your paper compares against similar papers), online scholarly commentary (blog posts etc. that have cited your work) and media mentions (your work has been picked up by a media outlet).

It's always useful to use several of these indicators to provide a rounded picture of your research.

Exploring your impact using Dimensions (PDF, 479KB)

Finding highly discussed papers using Altmetric Explorer (PDF, 565KB)

Where to find these metrics

See citation metrics and altmetrics for your publications in MyPublications

Use Web of Science to create a citation report and h-Index

Find Author metrics in Scopus

Google Scholar metrics – For a more sophisticated analysis of Google Scholar citations, you can use the free Publish or Perish software.

Using altmetrics 

Assessing research performance/benchmarking

For help with these areas, contact the Management Information and Benchmarking team in Research Services.

Exploring your field and finding influential authors

Collaborating with other authors, particularly those at another institution, can be an effective way to raise your profile. You can use metrics to help identify hot topics and rising stars in your field and see what people are citing and sharing.

Finding influential research using Dimensions (PDF, 705KB)

Finding highly discussed papers using Altmetric Explorer (PDF, 952KB)

Ask a question


Phone: +44 114 222 7200