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Research publication impact: What metrics are available?

A guide to different measures and metrics for assessing research publication impact.


This page lists some of the metrics available to researchers.  This is not a comprehensive list and new metrics are becoming available all the time. If you have any queries about bibliometric tools, please contact us.

Authors and Institutions

Author metrics include the following:

The above are all available from both Web of Science and Scopus:


Web of Science

More detailed guidance on how to find these metrics is available in this document:


Subject metrics include the following:

  • Highly Cited Papers
  • Hot Papers
  • Journal Impact Factors

Highly Cited Papers and Hot Papers are only accessible through Web of Science. You can limit your results to just highly cited or hot papers using the facets on the left hand side of the screen. These indicate papers that show an unusually high level of citation immediately after publication.

Hot papers are in the top 0.1% of papers in an academic field.

Highly cited papers are within the top 1% of papers in an academic field.

You can also use the Essential Science Indicators platform in Web of Science to examine research fronts.

These metrics may allow researchers to decide what subjects to research to increase impact.


Journal metrics include the following:

  • Journal impact factor or rank
  • Eigenfactor ranking

Journal impact factors can be useful in deciding where to publish to improve levels of impact. Journal ranks or impact factors are available from both Scopus and Web of Science:


Journal metrics are available by clicking on the journal title link for any article.


Web of Science:

Journal impact factors are available from any article by clicking on the linked journal title. There is normally the most recent impact factor and a 5 year impact factor. A larger range of impact factors covering different time periods can be found in Journal Citation Reports.

TOP Factor

 Feb 2020: the US Center for Open Science has launched a new metric which scores journals for Transparency and Openness, based on the 2015 TOP Guidelines. 

The authors describe the TOP Factor as "a first step toward evaluating journals based on their quality of process and implementation of scholarly values. This alternative to JIF may reduce the dysfunctional incentives for journals to publish exciting results whatever their credibility". 

Read more here:


Article metrics include the following:

  • Citation counts
  • Social media mentions, such as Facebook and Twitter

Citation counts are available in both Web of Science and Scopus as part of the article record:

Web of Science:

Web of Science also offers usage statistics for how often an article is used in Web of Science.


Scopus offers article level citation counts with field-weighted citation impact and citation benchmarking.

CINAHL Complete:

CINAHL Complete uses Plum Print, which gives a breakdown of usage, captures by users, mentions, social media and citations.