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Bibliometrics – University of Reading

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What are bibliometrics?

In very simple terms bibliometrics is a term used for data about publications.

The first use of bibliometrics involved the collecting of data on scientific articles and publications, classified by authors, institutions, fields, country etc in order to give an indicator of "productivity" for academic research. Subsequently more sophisticated techniques based on citations in articles were developed.

Bibliometric analysis uses such data to measure the "output" of individuals, research teams, institutions etc. It is increasingly being used to assess the "impact" of research in order to evaluate and quantify it. There are many tools available to help authors assess the impact of their publications and provide data for the UK Higher Education's Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Commonly used indicators to assess "impact"

Impact factor 

A measure of the impact of a journal using the JCR (Journal Citation Reports). It is a quantitative tool for evaluating the relative importance of a journal. It is the measure of the frequency with which its published papers are cited up to two years after publication. To find out an Impact Factor use JCR within Web of Science. You will also be able to establish the cited-half life and immediacy index for each title. JCR covers mainly sciences and social sciences (nearly 7000 titles). Find out more about impact factors.

H-index (Hirsh Index)

A method of assessing the impact of an individual's publications. It uses a calculation based on citation rates. An individual's H-index can be found from Web of Science or Google Scholar. Find out more about the Citation Report and h-index.

Times Cited

Web of Science Core Collection also gives access to Citation Indexes which are important tools in bibliometrics. You're able to find out how many times a particular paper has been cited. Web of Science can also be used to view citation patterns and calculate h-index values.

Other useful tools


An ORCID® identifier or ORCID iD is a 16-character identifier that can be used to clearly identify you - and not another researcher by a similar name - as the author/owner of an academic output or activity. Find out more about ORCID and how to get an ORCID iD


This is a feature on Web of Science. It allows an author to set up a unique personal identifier which can be linked to their publications within the Web of Science, regardless of any variations in the use of their name and regardless of their affiliation when a particular paper was published. ResearcherID helps to uniquely identify an individual researcher, which can be difficult for people with a common surname. Find out more about ResearcherID

Google Citations

In the 'My Citations' service, you can create a profile and track your publications' citations in Google Scholar. Find out more about Google Citations


Contact your Academic Liaison Librarian for advice on bibliometrics.

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