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Measuring research impact

Social issues play an increasingly central role when looking at research impact. The quality and social relevance of scientific research can be measured in various ways. Using various tools, you can gain insight into how your research scores on different parameters.

The value of understanding impact

Understanding the impact of research can be beneficial for future (research) projects. A good substantiation of impact can support SEP evaluations, grant applications, annual reports and personal (HR) evaluations. It also leads to greater awareness of your research group or institute, which facilitates finding research partners. The insights gathered can also illustrate how research findings are translated by scientific and societal partners and policymakers, and find their place in the public debate.

Available tools 

Altmetric Explorer
Altmetric Explorer mainly provides insight into the social relevance of research. It tracks in which (social) media and policy documents scientific publications are mentioned and with what frequency. You can see separately for each source how much attention there is for research. The social attention is also summarised in one figure, the so-called Altmetric Attention Score

VU Research Portal  
The VU Research Portal provides information about research at the VU. Simple questions can usually be answered with information from the portal. The portal does not offer many possibilities for more in-depth analyses. For this, you can use Altmetric Explorer.  

Openalex is an open-source and freely accessible information source for scientific publications. In addition to data such as citations and open-access status, it also provides indicators for the relevance of research to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. The data is accessible through the website, where a wealth of information can be looked up relatively easily. For more complex queries, Openalex also offers an excellent API, although some technical knowledge is required to work with it.

Are you looking for information on the impact of a large research group or faculty? Team Research Intelligence helps answer questions about the academic and social impact of VU research groups and faculties.

Team Research Intelligence


Portret of Project manager Research Intelligence Matthijs de Zwaan