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Research impact and visibility: Introduction

Scientific publications and research evalution

The impact and visibility of scientific research are evaluated in many ways, for example by examining how many citations research publications have received in newer publications (bibliometrics). 

Some reasons for measuring research impact are university funding models and measuring the productivity of the university research output. Nowadays publishing and where one publishes is more and more important. Also a researcher needs citation analysis e.g. when applying for a job or a grant, choosing a publication forum or when wanting to become acquainted with other researchers in the same field.

Bibliometric services

Tampere University Library invites the faculties of the University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital to order bibliometric analyses of researchers' publishing activities e.g. for processing the recruitments or docentship applications. The analyses are free of charge.

Requests for publication analyses can be sent to: kirjasto.tietopalvelu[at]

Altmetrics vs. bibliometrics

Altmetrics are not a substitute to traditional metrics, but complementary. Altmetrics may provide information about different types of research impact like social, economic and cultural impact when bibliometrics (citations) may reflect only scientific impact.

Altmetrics may be an early indicator of research's later impact. Where bibliometrics are slow to accrue, altmetrics are immediate.

Altmetrics in YouTube

Altmetrics in YouTube. You can filter e.g. videos.

What are bibliometrics used for?

The impact of scientific publications



 What can be measured?

  • publications per year, per author
  • publication type like articles, conference papers, dissertations and monographs
  • collaboration between researchers, groups, organizations etc.
  • who is citing whom, what, when

What impact can be measured?

  • individual, group, institution, subject area, geographic region
  • article level (altmetrics)
  • publication channel methods: 1) quantitative - journals, e.g. Impact Factor; 2) qualitative - journals, series, conferences, publishers, e.g. Publication Forum (Jufo)


Bibliometrics examine scientific publication activity, the most cited publications and the linkages between citing articles. It is the study of the impact of a publication, an author or an institution based on the number of times works and/or authors have been cited by others.  

Bibliometric indicators, like Journal Impact Factor and h-index, are used to measure research impact and publication activity.

The three best known citation analysis databases are Web of Science (WoS), Scopus and Google Scholar (GS). Google Scholar operates through Publish or Perish software.


Altmetrics (article level metrics) measure research visibility in social media and other online platforms. How much an article is viewed, downloaded, recommended or discussed on the net? Altmetrics try to answer who is saying what about research.

Measurable ”items” for example:

– mentions (e.g. blog posts, comments, tweets, Wikipedia)
– use (e.g. downloads, views, saves, bookmarks)
– recommendations (e.g. likes, shares, reviews)
– citation counts

Figures are collected from extensive, open services, including e.g. Open Access journals, citation databases, social media and researcher visibility services like ORCID, ResearcherID, Google Scholar, AcademiaEdu and Mendeley.