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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Research Impact Indicators & Metrics

Counts - Downloads, Derivatives, Adaptations, Etc.

Post your Open Educational Resource (textbook, test questions, lab exercise, etc.) to a repository.  This has the two-fold advantage of allowing you to track downloads, and be given a unique identifier.  Use the identifier and your citation information to search for other places your work might be re-hosted, and request download information from those platforms.

Derivatives and Adaptations
Use the identifier and your citation information to search for any derivatives, adaptations, or partial use of your work.  In addition to adding to your download count, the very fact that others have been inspired to build on your work is a valuable piece to include in your narrative of your work's impact.


Several aspects of research impact that would apply to a traditional book or published work apply to OERs.  Some qualitative factors can illustrate the impact of your work more eloquently than stark numbers.

  • Is it cited in review articles? 
  • Is it a central reference, cited many times, or cited only once in most papers?
  • How do other researchers refer to your work within their articles?
  • Is your OER used as a textbook/used in classes on other campuses?
  • Have you received requests to update the information/release a new edition?
  • Have translations of the work been requested?

Cost Savings

Student Savings
Open Educational Resources are powerful tools for equity in education.  Don't neglect it in writing your narrative.  Keep track of how many classes use your work, the number of students, and the commercial cost of the nearest equivalent work.  You can present these data by annual savings; total cumulative savings since the creation of your work; or various other breakdowns.

Campus Savings
You may also be able to describe how your work has saved the university money.  The cost to the libraries to have two copies of the textbook on reserve can be counted not just in the cost of the books, but in staff time to manage them.  Does your department pay for a subscription test bank?  What other ways might your work be saving your department or the university money?