UTS Library

Article Metrics

At the article level, metrics are fairly straightforward and are largely driven by either simple citation counts or using alt-metrics such as newspaper mentions, policy mentions or social media engagement in order to demonstrate the attention, engagement and impact (either academic or social) of the article.

Citation Counts

The most common metric at the article level, a simple counting of citations for an article is widely considered to be a demonstration of academic impact; i.e. the level to which an article has affected other academic research and to what extent its findings must be taken into account in further research in the field. This does not inherently represent the article’s factuality or quality — an article seeking to counter and debunk previous findings will still provide a citation count. It merely demonstrates that an article was influential and paid attention to by other authors.

Good sources for citation counts usually include Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science


So-called ‘alternative metrics’ use information other than citation counts. These metrics attempt to measure three concepts: Attention (“People know about my research paper”), Engagement (“People have read and discussed my research paper”) and Impact (“People have built upon my research”). Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Social media engagement: Tweets, Facebook posts, Reddit threads or blog posts linking to your paper demonstrate that your article has gained the attention of others. Even if nothing else, they act as an indicator that other people know of your research paper.
  • Newspaper discussion: This is considered to represent engagement with your work. While a newspaper (or piece in The Conversation) may not represent a furthering of research work, it demonstrates that others are thinking about the paper.
  • Policy mentions: Mentions in policy documents demonstrate that the paper has influenced policy, showings its impact.

You can access the database Altmetric.com via the Library (sign in using your UTS details, and then use the Continue as a Guest tab).