There are various tools available to help you keep track of where your research is being picked up and used. Using them, you might identify where your work is having an impact.
You can track and quantify the contribution that your research makes to academic advances, across and within disciplines, by referencing citations data.
SciVal is a particularly useful tool for monitoring your academic impact by helping you to visualise research impact, benchmark impact relative to peers, find research partners, create customisable reports, and identify and analyse emerging research trends. Help on using SciVal is available on the UCD Research Portal.
Using metrics responsibly
Over the last five years, the use and alleged abuse of metrics in research assessment has been in sharp focus, with three major frameworks all calling for a significant change in the culture of metrics use:
Following extended, careful consideration, and review of the three major frameworks and policies developed by other universities, UCD agreed its statement on the responsible use of research metrics.
Societal and economic impact
Tracking societal and economic impact is a little more challenging than tracking academic impact. However, you can use various techniques to work out where you research is being used outside of academia:
- Tracking the attention your research outputs generate beyond readership of academic journals using Altmetrics.
- Tracking downloads of your research outputs stored in institutional repositories.
- Using website analytics to analyse the attention that your research website receives
- Using Impact Tracking Templates to plan and track progress against your impact goals
However, it’s important to remember that these techniques do not give you insights into impact itself. Rather, they alert you to where your research is being picked up, which may help you to identify knock-on impacts.
Altmetric Explorer is a database that allows you to view the widespread attention and potential impact your research is receiving online. You can use Altmetric Explorer to learn:
- Where your research is referenced by policy and patent documents
- Where your research is being picked up by national and international news outlets
- Where engagement with research in your field is happening online
- Who is talking about your research
- Which journals are publishing research that receive the most online attention
If you have a dedicated site for your research project, web analytics can give useful insights on the audience for your work. For example, you can track and report your website traffic using Google Analytics – a free web analytics tool that helps you understand how visitors are engaging with your website. Get the basic tracking code at the Google Analytics website.
Impact Tracking Template
Professor Mark Reed from Newcastle University has designed a useful Impact Tracking Template. This tool helps you track how different activities contribute to meeting your impact goals.
Here’s how it works:
- Enter your impact goals and activities from your Impact Planning Canvas
- Identify indicators that will easily tell you if your activities are working or not, and make sure you’ve got quick and easy ways of measuring your indicators
- Assess your progress using the traffic light system and make any comments about the reasons for your assessment and what you plan to do
- Do the same with indicators that will tell you if you are making progress towards your impact goals.
Find out more
To learn more about impact monitoring, including training opportunities offered at UCD, please get in touch with our Senior Manager for Research Analytics and Impact.