Metrics Toolkit can assist with impact and peer evaluation.

Mar 13, 2018 · Megan O'Donnell

Citation counts. H-index. Impact factor. Altmetrics. Download counts. All of these quantified measurements are used in one way or another to evaluate research and scholarship. However, knowing what a metric means, how to interpret it, and how to use it isn’t easy. Luckily there’s a new tool available, the Metrics Toolkit.

The toolkit was created by three individuals with Library and Information Science degrees who are well versed with how the various metrics in the toolkit are gathered and calculated as well as their history. The toolkit covers common scholarly metrics such as Journal Impact Factor (JIF), h-index, and citation counts as well as new and emerging metrics, referred to as altmetrics, such as reader reviews, news stories, software citations, and Twitter mentions.

Suggested audiences for the Toolkit include: First-time authors and graduate students (check out journal acceptance rates, Journal Impact Factors, and how social media factors into various metrics), Faculty preparing for Promotion and Tenure, and Peer Evaluators who may see new metrics they’ve never run into before or need to verify that a metric is being used correctly.

Need help finding or understanding any of the metrics mentioned in the Toolkit? Reach out to your librarian: we’re good at this stuff.

While the Toolkit is a valuable resource it’s important to remember the shortcomings of metrics of all kinds. J. Z. Muller’s “The Tyranny of Metrics,” a recent article in Chronicle of Higher Education, provides a good summary of the pitfalls and shortcomings of various academic metrics – from impact factors to College Scorecards. Muller’s book of the same title will be available from the University Library soon.