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Research Metrics

A guide for research impact tools, databases, and metrics

Telling Your Story

Using metrics to help communicate how your scholarship has impacted research communities can be achieved in a number of ways. Use the following tips to assist you in preparing reports, grant applications, and tenure and promotion packages.

Measuring Public Engagement: Analytics DataGoogle Analytics engagement with Welch Medical Library Guides

Google Analytics on your personal website or research network website will allow you to see if (and how many) users from around the world are visiting webpages detailing your research. Among other features, Google Analytics provides a map interface where you can view users by country, city, and region (state). The map displayed here measures the number of users who have visited Welch Medical Library Guides between May and October 2018. 

Analytics data can prove useful for narrative sections in grant applications. Researchers can communicate the geographic regions where their research is being viewed, the number of users, and the number of page views. Google Analytics also allows users to see the service provider, and in the case of research metrics, this feature can prove useful because it shows .edu domains. For example, if you have data showing that users from Buffalo, New York visited your website under the service provider "state university of new york at buffalo," then you have evidence that your research is reaching these communities. In addition, the bounce rate (% of users who have no interaction with content on an individual page) and average session duration will show whether or not these users engaged with your content.

Video Tutorial: Google Analytics for Beginners, from Google Analytics Academy

​NIH Biosketch and Grant Applications

When preparing your NIH Biosketch for a grant application, try to articulate how your scholarship has impacted your research field.

The contributions to science section of the NIH Biosketch can be enhanced by contextualizing the background of your research area and by emphasizing the impact your research has made in the field. If your field has been altered by one or more of your publications, articulate this impact by describing how your research findings have influenced technology, public health policy, or standards of care, and describe your role in the research or study.

Metrics worth considering to enhance the your NIH Biosketch or grant applications include: mean citation rate, median citation rate, portfolio h-index, median Relative Citation Ratio (RCR), percentage of articles in the top 10% of citations, the number of guidelines supported, and/or the number of patents supported.

Examples from Altmetric's guide include statements such as:

This article, in particular, has had a relatively large effect upon the field of biophysics, receiving among the top 5% of social media and other online attention (compared to other research published in the same journal and time frame, according to Altmetric.com).
This research has received international news coverage from major news outlets including the New York Times, reaching millions worldwide. This has implications for far-reaching changes in personal nutrition choices, based upon my research.
The video webinar below, from Altmetric.com and Northwestern Medicine's Galter Health Sciences Library, demonstrates ways in which you can use alternative metrics in your NIH Biosketch and stay within the requirements for the document.

Resources to Help You Tell Your Story

Assessing the Impact of Research by the Bernard Becker Medical Library

100 Metrics to Assess and Communicate the Value of Biomedical Research by the Association of American Medical Colleges

Telling Impact Stories: Video (below) from Cushing/Hay Medical Library at Yale University.

Further Reading

Blog Post: 23 diverse metrics to use in your next grant application, from Altmetric