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Measuring research impact: metrics

Measuring research impact: metrics

Quality and societal relevance of scientific research can be measured in various ways. Which metric-methods are being used – for what purposes? How can metrics be useful to you as a researcher and which tools and services does  VU Library offer you?

How can metrics be useful to you?
Metrics can be useful for you:

  • To raise your personal research profile or that of your research group or institute.
  • To demonstrate your impact in a in a quantifiable way e.g. for SEP-evaluations, grant applications, annual reports and personal (HR) evaluations.
  • To identify how your research is being used by scientific and societal partners and policy makers.
  • To find new research partners.

What services and tools does VU Library offer?

Traditional metrics
Traditional metrics measure impact by counting citations using databases as Web of Science or Scopus. Methods are: Citation analysis, H-index, Journal Impact Factor, Field Weighted Impact Score, Eigenfactor. VU Library offers various tools and guides for traditional metrics.

Tools and services for traditional metrics

Alternative (next-generation) metrics for societal impact and relevance
Altmetrics is a new method of measuring impact, which looks beyond journal citations. It also captures mentions in social media, blogs, bookmarks, news media, in policy documents, and the number of downloads. Altmetrics are available faster in comparison to citation counts which take a longer time to accrue. VU Library has a one year licence (for 2018) for and will evaluate the use of this tool in 2018.
The EU advisory committee argues that metrics in general, and in particular the alternative metrics, should be: transparent, and reproducible in order to be used in evaluations. A growing number of reports, manifests and standards support this view (e.g. Altmetrics ManifestoLeiden Manifesto, NISO standard, EU report on Open Science metrics, VU Bruto Academische Waarde, Science in Transition). There are various free and paid services for alt-metrics:,,,

Measuring societal impact and societal relevance of research
VU Library is developing two kinds of services for research groups to demonstrate societal impact and relevance of research in annual reporting and SEP-evaluations.
1. Research in Societal relevant topics.
2. Societal attention on research.

Access to tools and services
Lean Library browser extension: first install this plug-in, then you will always be redirected to the correct address that will allow you to access, through the VU, the services listed below. This will also give you access, off campus.

Tools and services to measure societal impact and relevance of research

Websites, blogs, articles about measuring impact 

Team Research Intelligence


Portret of Project manager Research Intelligence Matthijs de Zwaan