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Niven Library - Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology Library Guide: Research Metrics

The library supports a number of themes - African ornithology, conservation biology, Antarctic and sub-antarctic biology, specifically birds.

Compare the Impact Factor with your citation score

Web of Science publishes 2 impact factors (IF) for the suite of journals in the WoS database.  These are the 2 year IF and the 5 year IF.  It must be remembered that the IF relates to the journal and not to the article.  However, the IF calculation is based on the number of citations received by the articles in the journal during the previous 2 or 5 years and the number of articles published in that journal during the same 2 or 5 year period. The following calculation and example illustrate how you can use the IF to compare your citation score with the impact factor.

The two year IF is calculated in the following way:
A= 2013 cites to articles published in 2011-12 in, for example, Proceedings of the Royal Society B – Biological Sciences
B=number of articles published in PRoySocB-BiolSci during 2011-12
2013 IF = A/B
During 2011 PRoySocB-BiolSci papers were cited 2981 times and during 2012 papers were cited 2787 times
A = 2981+2787=5768
During 2011 & 2012 PRoySocB-BiolSci published
B=466+624=1090 papers
Impact Factor =5768/1090=5.2917 (5.292) = average number of citations/article published in 2011+2012
Below is the calculation for five Fitztitute papers published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B – Biological Sciences during 2011-2012 showing the number of citations each scored in 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively.  The 2013 citation scores can be compared to the average score for papers in this publication during 2013 which is 5.292.  In this selection it can be seen that the first two papers compare favourably with the average impact factor of the journal.
Fitztitute Papers published in Proc Royal Soc B-Biol Sci during 2011-2012 with 2013 cites
Title Authors  PubDate   Pub Year   Vol   Is  Pages   2011   2012   2013 
How to evade a coevolving brood parasite: egg discrimination versus egg variability as host defences Spottiswoode, C.N.; Stevens, M. 7.12.2011 2011 278 1724 3566-3573 3 6 8
Fork-tailed drongos use deceptive mimicked alarm calls to steal food Flower, T. 22.5.2011 2011 278 1711 1548-1555 1 5 6
Understanding the ecological drivers of avian influenza virus infection in wildfowl: a continental-scale study across Africa Gaidet, N.; Caron, A.; Cappelle, J.; Cumming, G. S. et al.  22.3.2012 2012 279 1731 1131-1141 0 5 2
Internal incubation and early hatching in brood parasitic birds Birkhead, T. R.; Hemmings, N.; Spottiswoode, C. N. et al. 7.4.2011 2011 278 1708 1019-1024 2 5 1
Novel methods reveal shifts in migration phenology of barn swallows in South Africa Altwegg, R., Broms, K., Erni, B., Barnard, P. et al. 22.4.2012 2012 279 1733 1485-1490 0 1 4

Thanks to Arjun Amar at the Fitztitute for his collaboration and understanding of the impact factor.

Use Web of Science to calculate your H-index

Open Web of Science by going to the UCT Library homepage, Click on Databases.  Click on the W in the alphabet across the top of the resulting page.  Select Web of Science.

Type your name in the Author box according to the format given e.g. O'Brian C* OR OBrian C* .  If you have a common name like John Smith, you will have to specify other information so that you do not end up getting results for all the other John Smiths in the world.  Fill in the address field as well e.g. Univ Cape Town.  If you have more that one research address then use the Boolean operator "or" between multiple addresses.

Run your search and when you are presented with the results, click on the button Create Citation Report to the top right of your citations.  This will open a new window showing graphs of your publication output and of the number of citations for each year.  Scroll down the page to see the citations listed in highest to lowest citation order.

Your H-index is automatically calculated and can be found to the right of the graphs.

NB.The h-index factor is based on the depth of UCT Library's product subscription and the selected timespan. Items that do not appear on the results page will not be factored into the calculation. If the subscription depth is 10 years, then the h-index value is based on this depth even though a particular author may have published articles more than 10 years ago. Moreover, the calculation only includes items in the product database - books and articles in non-covered journals are not included.

Use Google Scholar to calculate your research impact and H-index

Google Scholar will provide a more accurate measure of your research impact than Web of Science as the search will include books and book chapters, which are not included in Web of Science.

Open Google Scholar and click on Advanced Scholar Search.  Type your name in the Author box according to the format given e.g., "PJ Hayes" or McCarthy.  Google will order the results from highest to lowest. 

e.g.  Diving birds in cold water: do Archimedes and Boyle determine energetic costs?
RP Wilson, K Hustler, PG Ryan, AE Burger… - American Naturalist, 1992
Cited by 138

You can calculate your H-index with Google Scholar, either manually or by installing the programme available at

Thomson Reuters gives the following description of the calculation of an H-index value

An h-index of 20 means there are 20 items that have 20 citations or more. This metric is useful because it discounts the disproportionate weight of highly cited papers or papers that have not yet been cited.

To do this manually count the number of citations from highest to lowest until the number of citations matches the score recorded in the line Cited by

This figure is your H-index

Use Scopus to calculate your research impact and H-index

Open Web of Science by going to the UCT Library homepage, point at the drop down menu labelled Electronic Resources and select Databases.  Click on the S in the alphabet across the top of the resulting page.  Scroll down the list to select Scopus.

Click on the tab for Author and fill in your name and initials in the boxes provided.  Fill in the address field as well e.g. Univ Cape Town.  If you have more that one research address then use the Boolean operator "or" between multiple addresses.  Limit your subject areas if this will make your search more efficient, e.g. if you know that there is someone with the same name and initials as you who is working in an alternative discipline.

Click on View Citation Overview to see your H-index. Note:The h index considers Scopus documents published after 1995.

Click on Show Documents to see how many times your papers have been cited.

Scholar Metrics

Google Scholar launched their Scholar Metrics interface on the 26th June 2014.

The metrics are based on citations to articles indexed on Google Scholar since mid-June 2013 that were published between 2009-2013.

The top papers in the Bird sub-category of Life & Earth Sciences are those published in Ibis.  The fourth highest cited paper discusses the research of Jess Shaw, a recent Fitztitute PhD graduate who worked on the impact of power lines on the Ludwig Bustard.

 GR MARTIN  2011. Understanding bird collisions with manā€made objects: a sensory ecology approach
Ibis 153 (2), 239-254.

Claire Spottiswoode, a Fitztitute Research Associate, is one of the collaborating authors on the 5th highest cited paper in this category.

 JA TOBIAS, N SEDDON, CN SPOTTISWOODE, JD PILGRIM, et al. 2010. Quantitative criteria for species delimitation. Ibis 152 (4), 724-746

Ostrich: journal of African ornithology is #20 in the top 20 international bird journals and the Fitztitute has the top two cited papers for the period 2009-2013.

PAR Hockey, GF Midgley 2009. Avian range changes and climate change: a cautionary tale from the Cape Peninsula.  Ostrich: journal of African ornithology 80 (1), 29-34.

JM Shaw, AR Jenkins, PG Ryan, JJ Smallie. 2010. A preliminary survey of avian mortality on power lines in the Overberg, South Africa. Ostrich: journal of African ornithology 81 (2), 109-113.

If you would like to go and have a look, click on Life Sciences & Earth Sciences in the menu on the left of the screen, click on subcategories and select the category you are interested in.  To see the top cited papers click on the H5-index number to the right of the journal name.

Other disciplines in which one can drill down are

  • Business, Economics & Management
  • Chemical & Material Sciences
  • Engineering & Computer Science
  • Health & Medical Sciences
  • Humanities, Literature & Arts
  • Physics & Mathematics
  • Social Sciences

Each category is divided up into sub-categories e.g.Business, Economics & Management is broken down into 16 subcategories, each subcategory has a list of the top 20 cited journals, where one can investigate the top papers and their authors.

Google Scholar's strength is that it gives citation metrics to books, chapters and conference papers.  Unfortunately this metric evaluation is only to international scientific journals.

Use Altmetrics to calculate your research impact

“As funding gets squeezed, scientists face stiffer competition for resources and jobs, and it becomes more crucial than ever to develop reliable ways of spotting and supporting the best work.” (Editorial, Nature Volume 502 of 17 October 2013 - special issue on research impact).

In this age of social networking, where researchers can advertise their research and link to other researchers in the digital environment, measurement of research impact is now able to evaluate more than the traditional measures of journal impact factors, citation counts and H-index.  Enter the world of ALTMETRICS where tools and services, both proprietary and open access, have been designed to enable researchers to really get an idea of the impact of their research papers, research data, research blogs and research-related tweets.  ALTMETRICS is also able to measure impact outside academia, and the impact of work which is not peer-reviewed. 

Many researchers already have profiles on internet sites such as  ResearchGate ScienceCardPeerEvaluation, and LinkedIn.  There is also ORCID which provides a comunication tool between identifier systems such as ResearchID (Web of Science) and Scopus' author identifier. ImpactStory, a free resource, allows you to set up your own profile and then "Share the full story of your research impact". This tool covers multiple web resources with which you may interact such as CiteULike, CrossRef, Delicious, GitHub, Mendeley, Plos, Scopus, ORCID, PubMed, FaceBook, Twitter and many more. The powerpoint document below describes some of the Altmetrics Tools, Services and discussion groups which are available.

Plum Analytics, a commercial altmetrics tool, has been purchased by EBSCO Information Services and will be made available through EBSCO from January 2014.

Read the Declaration of Research Assessment (DORA).  This is not just about researchers and academia, it is also about employment opportunities once you have completed your postgraduate degree or postdoc.

SCImago Journal & Country Rank

The SCImago Journal & Country Rank is a portal that includes the journals and country scientific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus® database (Elsevier B.V.). These indicators can be used to assess and analyze scientific domains.

This platform takes its name from the SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) indicatorpdf, developed by SCImago from the widely known algorithm Google PageRank™. This indicator shows the visibility of the journals contained in the Scopus® database from 1996.

SCImago is a research group from the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), University of Granada, Extremadura, Carlos III (Madrid) and Alcalá de Henares, dedicated to information analysis, representation and retrieval by means of visualisation techniques.

As well as the SJR Portal, SCImago has developed The Atlas of Science project, which proposes the creation of an information system whose major aim is to achieve a graphic representation of IberoAmerican Science Research. Such representation is conceived as a collection of interactive maps, allowing navigation functions throughout the semantic spaces formed by the maps.

Contact e-mail:

SCImago. (2007). SJR — SCImago Journal & Country Rank.
Retrieved March 25, 2014, from