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Quantifying the Impact of My Publications: Home

This libguide provides guidance on metrics and reports that can be used to quantify performance and impact based on publication data.

Quantifying the Impact of My Publications

This guide reviews publication data and how it can be used to demonstrate performance and impact. Publication data is more than just raw numbers and can be used to add contextual background for tenure or grant purposes and in some instances, illustrated to tell a more compelling story based on research activities.

Also see Research Impact for more information on impact.

While publication metrics can provide compelling narratives, no single metric is sufficient for measuring performance, quality or impact by an author. Publication data is but a single chapter in an author's academic and research story. Publication data alone does not provide a full narrative of an author's impact or influence, nor is it predictive of meaningful health outcomes.

Source: Using Publication Metrics to Highlight Academic Productivity and Research Impact.

See the 2014 report on the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study 2014 Report for examples of using publication data for reporting.

What Stories Can Publication Data Tell?

Why is Publication Data Useful?

  • Demonstrate qualification to undertake research project
  • Justification for grant renewal
  • Qualification for tenure/promotion
  • Performance and impact for a group
  • Benchmarking
  • Reporting for a grant project
  • Institutional reporting

What Stories Can Publication Data Tell?

  • Publication activity demonstrates willingness to share research findings.
  • Authorship/collaboration patterns show evidence of working with other authors, with various areas of research and institutional affiliations.
  • Citations to publications demonstrates knowledge transfer of research findings and can lead to evidence of synthesis into clinical applications.
  • Citation patterns help shed light on how original research is being used, by whom, in what areas of research, and where.
  • Grant acknowledgement networks show how original research is being used by other research groups and who is funding those projects.
  • Cross-disciplinary research efforts demonstrates sharing of expertise and efficient use of resources.
  • Research foci trends represented by journals and articles illustrate changes in publication activity and possible evidence of cross-disciplinary efforts.
  • Evidence of public engagement or activity noted for the work.


 Using Publication Data to Demonstrate Productivity and Impact

Do you need to provide a report on your publications or include an impact statement in a grant renewal? This presentation will review how to use  library databases to create reports and images to demonstrate productivity and impact for tenure, grant renewals or applications, among others. Presentations can be customized for a specific group and investigators.

Contact Cathy Sarli if you would like to schedule a presentation.


The authors of this guide are Christopher R. Carpenter, MD, MS,  and Cathy C. Sarli. This libguide is based on a CE Course presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine: Quantifying the Worth of My Publications for Promotions and Grants: Measures of Academic Currency.

Dr. Carpenter is currently Professor of Emergency Medicine and Vice Chair of Implementation and Innovation at Mayo Clinic-Rochester.

What are Publication Metrics?

Publication metrics are measures of productivity/performance, quality, and impact/influence based on publication data and social or public engagement activity. Assessment can be done on the following levels:

  • Document
  • Source
  • Author
  • Group
  • Institution


  • No single metric is sufficient for measuring performance or impact.
  • Publication data is not predictive of synthesis into clinical applications or public health outcomes.
  • Publication data may not be meaningful for non-academia audiences such as the public, policy-makers, clinical trial participants, healthcare providers, or grant funding agencies.
  • Publication data from databases requires review for accuracy.
  • No single database will capture all publications for a single author.
  • Most databases do not index gray literature materials.