Sophia GuevaraThree Novel Ways to Measure the Impact of Published Work

By: Sophia Guevara In: Media and Technology| Philanthropy

21 Sep 2012

As a grantmaker, you may be familiar with the usual measures of impact for a program that you have helped fund. But have you ever thought about measuring the impact of the publications that may be produced as a result of your program work? If you are interested in learning more about measuring the spread of published ideas, here are three suggestions:

1. Use Google Scholar.

This resource allows you to look up an article title and see how many times it has been referenced in other work. By clicking on the “cited by” number at the bottom of the search entry, Google Scholar will take you to the citation information or a live link to the article that has cited your work. This is great information because it provides you with a better understanding of how the published work has influenced research going forward.

If you are an author, you can claim your profile within Google Scholar and add or delete articles that you want associated with you. In my own case, I saw that about 25 percent of what I have published was cited within Scholar. If you find that an important article isn’t included, you can choose to do a manual entry. Scholar will also provide a full list of the citations it has on file for you and your h-index. (If you don’t know what an h-index is, click here to learn more).

2. Try WorldCat.

Look up article titles to learn where these resources are stored and where they are accessible to researchers who might be able to use the work. Using the advanced search option, type in the name of the article, the authors, and the year it was published. For example, when I type in my name and the title of an article I published several years ago about Generation Y, you will see that the article is currently held in the collections of a few hundred organizations. Not just limited to academic and public libraries, the article also ended up in the collections of several large companies, medical centers, and a national laboratory.

If you are the author of several works, you may run into the same problem of finding only a few articles attributed to your name. Unfortunately, you can’t manually enter your own article references into WorldCat as you can in Scholar.

3. Access Web of Science database.

Thomson Reuters vends a database product called Web of Science. Using their “Cited Reference Search” option, you can enter an article title to see how many times it has been cited in other research. If you are an author, you can check to see how many times your work has been cited in here as well. Again, you may find that you are only able to view a handful of references to your work.

Work with your foundation’s librarian to learn and understand other ways the impact of your organization’s funded published work can be measured.

Sophia Guevara is the chair of the Consortium of Foundation Libraries affinity group

1 Response to Three Novel Ways to Measure the Impact of Published Work

Bobbi Hapgood

September 24th, 2012 at 8:34 am

All good approaches for more academic work - thanks for sharing! My only challenge is that we often support published work that is intended to change policy or public opinion. Thoughts on how to measure those works through online diagnostics?

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