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Measure research impact and quality: Researcher impact

How to demonstrate impact

Increasingly researchers are being asked to demonstrate their research impact when applying for grant applications or promotions.
  • Citation reports are one method for creating a profile of your research activities.
  • The h-index is a single quantitative measure that looks at productivity and citation-based impact simultaneously.
  • Esteem measures can also be included to demonstrate impact or influence within your field.

Calculate your h-index

The h-index, proposed by Jorge Hirsch in 2005, looks at the number of articles by an author (or group) and the number of times those articles have been cited. It combines this data to produce a single number – the h-index.


The h-index is calculated where h number of articles have been cited h or more times e.g.a h-index of 10 means an author has ten articles that have each received ten or more citations.


The following presentation explains how to calculate the h-index, along with some of the limitations with it as a measure of research impact.

Category Normalised Citation Impact (InCites)

What is Category Normalised Citation Impact (CNCI)?

Citation rates vary across disciplines, change over time and different publication types have different citation behaviours. For accuracy and fairness, citation data should be normalised by discipline, year and publication type, making it an unbiased indicator of impact.

The Category Normalised Citation Impact (CNCI) used by InCites measures the impact of an article or the impact of a researcher in a particular subject area. It is measured by taking the number of citations a single article has, or the average number of citations for a group of articles, and compares it to the average number of citations for all articles in that subject area.

CNCI can also apply across several fields although it is a more meaningful metric if it is only for a single subject area.

A CNCI of 1 would be on par with the average citations for the subject area; more than 1 would be above average; and anything below 1 would be less than average.

*Note: The CNCI in InCites is exactly the same as the Field Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI) used by SciVal.

Measures of esteem

In addition to citations, you should include esteem measures into any grant or promotion application.
The only esteem measures eligible for ERA are:
  • Editor of a prestigious work of reference
  • Fellowship of a learned academy and membership of AIATSIS
  • Recipient of a nationally competitive research fellowship
  • Membership of a statutory committee
  • Recipient of an Australia Council grant or Australia Council fellowship
Other measures of esteem may include:
  • Invitations to speak, particularly as the keynote speaker
  • Involvement in committees, organisations or societies
  • Editor or reviewer on major journal
  • Awards or rankings in prestigious lists

Author identifiers

Create a unique author identifier, where the database allows, to connect all your papers together within a database.
Problems arise in correctly identifying all publications by an author, within a single database, because:
  • The same author can publish under multiple names (including maiden names)
  • Different authors can have similar names/initials
Linking articles together may increase your h-index within a database.
This short video, created by Curtin Library, demonstrates how an author identifier can reduce confusion.



Some common author identifiers include:


Scopus Author Identifier
  • Automatically generated within Scopus by matching particular fields
  • Authors frequently have multiple Scopus Author Identifiers
  • You can request to merge profiles within the Scopus database
  • For more information see the Scopus help
  • ResearcherID information integrates with the Web of Knowledge
  • You can add non-Web of Knowledge publications at
  • Only Web of Knowledge publications will be included in the citation counts
  • Create a ResearcherID and find out more
ORCID (Open Researcher & Contributer ID)
  • Link all current author ID schemes to one a persistent digital identifier
  • Attach ID to research objects e.g. datasets, articles, media stories and patents
  • Include the ID in manuscript and grant submissions
  • Find out more about ORCID
Google Scholar Citations
  • Track your citations on Google Scholar
  • Create a public profile to make it easier for people to discover all your research via a single web search
To create a Google Scholar Citations author profile:
  • Create a personal Google account, if you do not already have one
  • Complete the Citations sign up form, adding your Curtin email address
  • Select all your articles, from the list provided
  • Profile updates can occur automatically or manually
  • Find out more about Google Scholar Citations Setup
Example Google Scholar profile
An example of a public profile will appear in Google Scholar results when people search on a name.


Did you know...

Creating and maintaining author identifiers within a database will help link together all your articles.

Further resources