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Searching the Internet: Research Impact & Analytics

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Research Impact is more than number of citations. New tools are providing *qualitative* data on citations, as well as altmetrics (alternative metrics) which measure social impact through mentions of scientific research on social platforms.

Introduction to the practice of Research Impact:

Measuring Research: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. Available from the Library Network.


Citation tracking

Google Scholar

Google Scholar (GS) generally shows a higher citation count than other academic search engines, however bibliometric experts who have closely studied GS's citations report that they are greatly inflated by duplication and citation by poor-quality, fringe scientific papers (i.e. undergraduate papers). In addition, GS aggressively blocks systematic harvesting of citations, which makes it a poor candidate currently for systematic citation analysis. GS is best used by the individual researcher using Google Scholar profiles as a starting point for monitoring all citations of their work. Researchers must claim their GS profile and monitor it to ensure the list of papers Google associated with their profile is accurate. Search Google Scholar researcher profiles here. One option for harvesting GS citations for a set of papers, is via the Zotero Google Scholar plugin. Zotero is a citation management tool that can be downloaded from IMF's Software Center. Contact the library if you require help with Zotero or with the plugin.


Microsoft Academic

The number of citation linkages between papers depends on the size of the dataset used. Microsoft Academic (MA) not only has the second largest academic publication dataset next to Google Scholar, but it is fully harvestable via free APIs and via MAKES (Microsoft Academic Knowledge Exploration Service). Microsoft's dataset is somewhat smaller than Google's because it uses stronger criteria to identify "academic" content found on the Internet, then normalizes the data into six entities, which allows a more refined view of *who* is citing a paper: Paper, Journal, Conference, Author, Institution, and Topic (also called "Field of Study"). Microsoft's Topics are generated by combining several traditional taxonomies with other sources such as Wikipedia and new topics discovered by Microsoft's A.I. Because Microsoft Academic's full dataset is free, it is used as a base dataset for several other academic search engines that are listed below. Take a look at MA's analysis of publications produced by IMF authors here. is a best best for collecting data for Research Impact work. Its data set is built on top of Microsoft Academic, but further normalizes the data and merges in additional rich sources of metadata. facilitates export of the data (50,000 papers at a time into CSV format) when you are registered and logged in with a free account. Lens' data export includes number of citing patents, which can provide insight into real world impact of scholarly publications. Lens also supports API access to its data for programmatic data querying and export. is another best bet for Research Impact work. Like, it merges many sources of data, but is built on the backbone of CrossRef data. (CrossRef is the DOI "digital object identifier" registration agency used by most academic publishers around the world.) Its dataset is smaller than Lens, but includes unique data unavailable in other academic search engines: Altmetric score (social attention score), country of researcher and SDG mapping (supports search and filter by SDG as well.) 


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Scite: Qualitative Citation Analysis


Qualitative insight into citations. Scite uses A.I. to understand the sentiment of citation as Supporting, Contrasting or just Mentioning. Appears as a badge on the right-side of the publisher's landing page for the article when the page contains a DOI (digital object identifier), and in the hit list for Google Scholar. Click-through to see details.

Click here to see live example.

Altmetric it! bookmarklet

Altmetric it! bookmarklet

It takes years for some academic articles to reach their peak citation rates. Social mentions of an article on Twitter, Wikipedia, Facebook, news, Mendeley downloads, etc. is thought to predict future citation rates. This new research impact indicator is called altmetrics. Tracking altmetric activity on an article can also provide the authors a chance to monitor the social conversation on their research. Click the Altmetric It! bookmarklet when on the landing page for a journal article (like the publisher's website), cto open a badge with overview of social media activity. Click on that badge to see more.

To install this bookmarklet, click and drag this link to your browser's bookmark bar: Altmetric it!