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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Introduction to Impact Factor and Other Research Metrics

This online guide will help you identify common research metrics that are used to measure scholarly impact. This guide also outlines methods and tools you can use to identify journals in your field for publishing.


Welcome to the online companion to the Savvy Researcher research metrics workshop! Research metrics, or bibliometrics, refer to the statistical analysis of written publications, mainly articles. Alan Pritchard created the term in the late 1960's in his paper, Statistical Bibliography or Bibliometrics? Bibliometrics will help you understand how different journals, articles, and scholars are evaluated so that you can make informed decisions about where you would like your work published or what you should start to pay attention to as a scholar in academia. 

This guide is a supplement to the workshop and includes a lot of information that wasn't covered. For example, you can find more specific information about how different metrics are calculated. You will also find links to more in-depth resources that describe many of the session's topics in more detail. Finally, this guide includes a summary of many of the topics that were covered throughout the session, including the controversy surrounding specific metrics and the databases used to determine each metric. Please use the tabs on the left side of the screen to navigate through the guide.


image of a wordcloud made of of words from papers written about research metrics

Wordcloud courtesy of:


Creative Commons License

Except where otherwise indicated, original content in this guide is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 license. You are free to share, adopt, or adapt the materials. We encourage broad adoption of these materials for teaching and other professional development purposes, and invite you to customize them for your own needs.