Skip to Main Content

Scholarly Communication: Impact & Identity

This guide is designed to provide information on guidance on an array of important scholarly communication topics: rights, publishing, research impact and open resources.

Impact and Identity

Scholarly impact refers to one or more assessments of the reach and influence of various kinds of scholarly material. While traditionally citations — quality as well as quantity — have been the primary source of these assessments, in recent years there has been a movement toward alternative sources, such as related social media activity. For more information and resources, check out the boxes below, on Journal Assessment, and on Article Citations. Further, check out the box below left to find links on Scholarly Identity and Social Media, with some words of caution about using the latter. Finally, check out the link below for the "Metrics Toolkit," which serves as an excellent primer for becoming acquainted with the types of assessments available, and for what purpose(s) each might be used. 

Journal Assessment

Journal assessment — that is, providing a score for a given journal based primarily on the number of citations generated by that journal's articles — is the most common and traditional way of providing an impact factor. Check the resources below for some resources on how to find impact scores or other journal assessments.

Article Citations

A newer approach is to assess citations of a specific article, providing granular information at that level rather than assuming that an article has a given reach merely because it has been published in an influential journal. This approach is called "Article-Level Metrics" (ALMs). You can check out this page from the scholarly communication advocacy organization SPARC to learn more about this approach, and/or check out the resources below on article-level citations:

Scholarly Identity & Social Media

As scholarly impact assessments become more diverse, it's increasingly important to register a persistent identifier that can be applied to all of your work. The current standard for this is ORCID, a nonprofit, open system of numerical identification that distinguishes all of your activity as a scholar. Scroll down (below the video) to find out more information on some other frequently used researcher ID systems. 

Below you'll find links to two prominent social media networks for academics: ResearchGate and Although we in the library don't necessarily recommend their use, we are including them on this site informing you about them. It's important to realize some things about them:

  1. Both sites have been subject to a lot of critique on copyright grounds and a lack of safeguards against predatory publishers.
  2. Although these are networking sites, they also are used for article and document sharing. While some of the documents uploaded may be perfectly legal to upload and download, others may not be, and it's tough to tell the difference. Proceed with extreme caution.