This guide is designed to help faculty members, graduate students and librarians use and understand the citation analysis tools that describe, utilize, and support the current research landscape.
As with any statistical measurement, there will always be limitations of the data. Things to keep in mind:
The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), run by the American Society for Cell Biology, has partnered with editors and publishers to ask the scientific community to stop misusing impact factors as a metric to judge scientific output.
Research impact is a measure of the significance and importance of academic work within a scholarly community.
Bibliometrics are the use of quantitative tools to study publications and other written material.
Citation metrics focus on the statistical patterns and measurements of citations.
Citation analysis can be used as a quantifiable measure of academic output and research impact, which can help inform decisions on publication, promotion, and tenure.
Altmetrics is increasingly becoming an alternative and important method of measuring the impact of scholarly output and allows for social media tracking by various indicators such as number of tweets, blog posts, likes, bookmarks, etc. and are more timely wider-ranging measures of how people—both other researchers and the general public have demonstrated interested in an individual's work and contributions.
Tools and methods of citation analysis are used to determine:
Because of the limitations of each method, it is important to use multiple methods, sources, and tools to get a fuller and more complete analysis. Increasingly, the research community is studying how to assess the value of cooperation and collaboration among colleagues, scholars and scientists, with barriers being reduced and geography more global. New metrics and values will likely emerge through different sources, to complement and extend already existing methods and products.
Image credit: http://altmetrics.org/