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Publication Metrics: Article Metrics

What are the metrics for articles?

citation in scopus

Citation Counts simply count up the number of times your article, book, or other published research has been cited. Citation counts may vary across databases, such as Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar, as each database indexes different journals. Google Scholar citation counts are often over-inflated because they may count multiple versions of the same paper. PubMed does not contain citation counts for articles.

Read more about citations to articles on the Metrics Toolkit.

NIH logoThe RCR (relative citation ratio) is a field-normalized indicator of influence, used by the NIH for evaluating the relative merits of biomedical research articles.  The RCR was developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Portfolio Analysis. The RCR makes use of a co-citation network, which means that when it assesses one paper it looks at the other papers that appear alongside it in the reference list. By doing this, it field-normalizes the number of times an article is cited. 

The RCR is calculated by dividing the number of citations a paper received by the average number of citations an article usually receives in that field. That number is then benchmarked against the median RCR for all NIH-funded papers. This allows articles to be assessed on the basis of their relevance in their own field, and highly influential articles will be recognized even if they are published in an obscure journal.

Read more about the RCR at the Metrics Toolkit


altmetric donutAltmetrics provide a collated measure of how often an article has been mentioned or shared in various social media platforms. Altmetrics provide feedback on impact beyond other academic articles, such as mentions in Twitter and mainstream media. Altmetrics also capture how often an article has been saved in an online reference manager. An altmetric score is represented as a number in a multi-colored "donut" that collates the number of mentions across sources with the colors representing the mix of sources. Altmetric scores show impact of an article earlier than traditional citations from other academic articles.

Read more about the Altmetric Attention Score on the Metrics Toolkit.

PlumX imagePlumX Metrics report metrics across 5 categories: citations, usage, captures, mentions, and social media. PlumX metrics are owned by the publisher Elsevier and are embedded in certain citation databases, such as Scopus, to show citations and impact of an article across categories. 

How to Find Article Impact

1. Go to Scopus.

2. Search for the article of interest by author or document title or keywords.

Scopus search

3. From the results page, click on the article of interest. The number of citations appears in the Metrics panel on the right.

Scopus result

4. Note that additional article metrics are available from the Metrics panel by clicking "View all metrics." This panel includes many other article metrics and options for exporting data, as available.

Scopus citations

1. Go to Web of Science.

2. Search for the article of interest by author, document title, keywords, or some combination thereof.

Web of Science search

3. From the results page, click on the article of interest. The number of citations appears in the Citation Network box on the right. Note that the number of citations may be different in the Web of Science Core Collection from the times cited in All Databases or in Scopus. This is because the count is based on which journals are included in each database; i.e., the times cited number will be lower in smaller databases.

Web of Science result

1. Go to iCite.

2. Search by author name, keywords, MeSH terms, or PMID(s).

iCite search

3. The analysis will show the weighted relative citation ratio (RCR).

iCite result

Many e-journals from 2011 on include the altmetric on the electronic version of the article on the e-journal site.

1. Connect to the article using a database, such as PubMed, or by going to the e-journal site directly.

2. Scroll through the online article to find the altmetric donut.

altmetric journal


If the altmetric donut is not there, you can use the Altmetric bookmarklet, which displays the altmetric donut for any article with a DOI.

1. Go to the Altmetric Bookmarklet for Researchers webpage

2. Complete the form and install the bookmarket.

3. Once the bookmarklet is installed, you can click on the bookmarklet to see the altmetric score for any article with a DOI.

altmetric bookmarklet

1. Go to Scopus.

2. Search for the article of interest by author or document title or keywords.

Scopus search

3. From the results page, click on the article of interest. Then click on the Metrics panel on the right. Scroll down to view PlumX metrics.

Scopus PlumX

Resources for Determining Article Impact