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Research Impact and Evaluation

About this guide

Assessing quality and importance of work is an ongoing and increasing concern for funders and promotion and tenure committees. "Research impact” is defined as “real change in the real world," including changes in attitudes; awareness; economic or social status; policy, cultural or health outcomes. Broader research impact requires a purposeful approach to making sure that more people can find, understand and act upon your research. (Charlie Rapple, How Related are Journal Impact and Research Impact?)

Impact Factor is one measure of the relative importance of a journal to literature and research. Informed and careful use of the impact data is essential and the following must be kept in mind:

  • The number of times a paper is cited is not a measure of its actual quality.
  • Some tools that measure the impact data do not incorporate books.
  • Certain disciplines have low numbers of journals and usage. One should compare journals or researchers within the same discipline.
  • Review articles are cited more often and can change results.
  • Self-citing may skew results.