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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Research Impact Indicators & Metrics

Purpose and Benefits

Welcome to the Research Impact Indicators & Metrics guide, a collection of tools, resources and contextual narrative to help you present a picture of how your scholarship is received and used within your field and beyond. Research is often measured in terms of its impact within an academic discipline(s), upon society or upon economies. As with any raw numbers, impact metrics can be misappropriated and misconstrued. Our goal is to help you select the metrics and tools that most accurately and fully represent your work.

Appropriate indicators applied within context have the benefits of:

  • Demonstrating what audiences are reading/using your works
  • Demonstrating your work's value for promotion and tenure
  • Justifying funding requests

Coverage and Scope

The sections of this guide are designed to help you answer questions such as:

The tools and resources included here are available freely and publicly or through a Libraries subscription. You may be familiar with or have heard of others, but if you have to pay to use them, we are not talking about them in this guide.

For news, resources and tools, see Open Scholarship & Scholarly Publishing blog posts on impact indicators.

Finally, the focus here is to help individual scholars. Tools and methods for evaluating a department, group or institutional ranking may be related, but they are beyond the scope of this guide. 

RIIM Team - Contact Us!

We welcome your questions about impact metrics and/or your suggestions to improve this guide. Please contact us at

This guide has been developed by a team of librarians:

  • Christine Turner, Scholarly Communication Librarian
  • Jennifer Chaput, Data Services Librarian
  • Melanie Radik, Science and Engineering Librarian
  • Rebecca Reznik-Zellen, Head, Science and Engineering Librarian, and
  • Sarah Fitzgerald, Assessment and Planning Librarian