Research metrics

What is this about?

Research metrics, or Bibliometrics, is a statistical analysis of published articles and journals and their citations. Research metrics analysis can be on journal level, article level or author level (1, 2). Altmetrics is an alternative approach to research metrics (as opposed to traditional ones) which is also used today by some journals.

Why is this important?

Research metrics is used to evaluate the popularity, impact and importance of individual scientists, articles and journals, as well as the performance of employees and projects. The logic behind such approach is that cited items have bigger impact on science and are of bigger value. Such data is then used when granting advancement of researchers. Bibliometrics is also used in research, when analyzing relationships between researchers, and when assessing the impact of research projects and grants.

For whom is this important?

Scientists, Researchers, Journal editors

What are the best practices?

On an individual level, the most important research metrics are the H-index and the i-10 index. The H-index, also known as Hirsch index, is an author level metric which shows how many articles have been cited that number of times. For example, h-index of 10 shows that the author has 10 articles, each cited at least 10 times (3). I-10 index shows the number of articles an author has published with at least 10 citations. On a journal level, the impact factor shows an average number of citations per article in two consecutive years (4). Other famous journal metric systems are Eigenfactor, SCImago Journal Rank, etc.

It's important to note that every metric system has its flaws and should not be the only criterion when making a decision.


1. Garfield E. Citation indexes for science; a new dimension in documentation through association of ideas. Science. 1955;122(3159):108-11.

2. Yeung AWK, Heinrich M, Atanasov AG. Ethnopharmacology-A Bibliometric Analysis of a Field of Research Meandering Between Medicine and Food Science? Front Pharmacol. 2018;9(215).

3. Diaz I, Cortey M, Olvera A, Segales J. Use of H-Index and Other Bibliometric Indicators to Evaluate Research Productivity Outcome on Swine Diseases. PLoS One. 2016;11(3).

4. McVeigh ME, Mann SJ. The journal impact factor denominator: defining citable (counted) items. Jama. 2009;302(10):1107-9.

Marin Viđak contributed to this theme.

Latest contribution was June 1, 2019