Research impact refers to how studies across disciplines influence and change society beyond the academy. This influence may be seen in policy development, educational reform, improvements in health care, adoption of technologies, improvements in historical understanding and beyond. Measuring research impact is a complex task that requires assessment of how scholars share, develop, and adopt ideas. Analyzing citations to peer-reviewed literature (also know as citation metrics) has long been an important method of attempting to understand how much impact an article, journal, or author has had on society, despite the lack of direct correlation between citation and actual societal change.
Almetrics are now considered a supplement to citation metrics, providing additional data drawing on social media, news, blogs, research communities, and other non-peer reviewed sources to help tell the story of how research leads to change in the broader society.
This guide is a brief introduction to some of the tools available to the WPI community for assessing research impact through citations metrics and altmetrics. If you have questions or would like to discuss research impact with a librarian please contact us using the communication methods provided at Ask Us.