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Impact: beyond bibliometrics

Societal impact is the effect, change or contribution that your research makes to society. It can be useful to think about the process as an impact journey involving inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, and impacts, and to consider who will benefit from your research and how they will benefit.

Impact can be:

  • Cultural, e.g., changing attitudes or opinions
  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Health & wellbeing-related
  • Policy-related
  • Scientific or academic 
  • Societal, e.g., increasing awareness or understanding
  • Technological
  • Training and capacity building

Collecting evidence of your activities, outcomes, and impacts is important in helping you to represent a comprehensive picture of your research impact. This may include bibliometrics and other quantitative indicators, as well as qualitative information and evidence. 

See Research impact: what it is, why it matters, and how you can increase impact potential by Kudos. 

Improve the visibility and impact of your research

It is always beneficial to publish your article in a journal which is indexed in the most popular databases such as Scopus and Web of Science. This improves the visibility of the article in the research community. There are, however, many other ways to increase the visibility and impact of your research, for example:

  • Registering your publications and research data in Haris: Haris public portal pulls data from Haris database, and is also integrated with researchers’ personal Hanken webpages (for example, These three together publically display Hanken researchers' publications, data, activities, and projects, and improves the visibility of Hanken’s research achievements on both institutional level and researchers’ individual level.  
  • Open accessibility of your research publications and data: When publications and research data are published freely accessible, they are more used and cited. Open access and open data increase the visibility and impact of your research, speed up the adoption of your research findings, and facilitate disciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration. See Why OA? in the LibGuide on Open access and Data publishing and pre­ser­va­tion in the LibGuide on Research data management (RDM).
  • Networks in social media: Social media offer opportunities for researchers to network with their colleagues and make their research visible to both their peers and the general public, for example, ResearchGateAcademia.eduMendeleyLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Note that it is recommended to have a wide range of ways to share the information about your research, such as via social media including and Mendeley, to increase the visibility and impact of your research. Researchers are, however, responsible for any content they upload or share via social media, which is protected by copyright. Check in advance each publisher’s self-archiving policy if you have the necessary right to share a version of your publications through these forums.

  • Researcher profiles: You can create your researcher profiles in different citation databases. 
    • Profile in Scopus, Scopus Author Identifier, and Scopus Affiliation Identifier: Scopus automatically creates researcher profiles with author identifiers. Researchers can request for corrections, if needed.
    • Web of Science ResearcherID: After registration in the ResearcherID service, researchers can create a researcher profile and through it maintain their list of publications. They can also supplement their profiles with affiliation information and monitor both the citation data and h-index from the Web of Science.
    • Google Scholar profile: Google Scholar does not automatically create profiles for researchers. However, you can create a Google account and collect all your articles found in Google Scholar to your My Citations page. The profile can be made public or kept private.
  • Use Altmetrics: Altmetrics (alternative metrics), often called the next-generation metrics, serve as a complement to traditional, citation-based metrics to showcase how much and what a wider range of types of attention a research output has received in society. Altmetrics services including Altmetric and PlumX have been integrated into Haris public portal. See Altmetrics
  • Be involved in citizen science: Citizen science is listed as one of the 8 ambitions of the EU's open science policy. The term citizen science can be described as the voluntary participation of non-professional scientists in scientific research process and activities in different possible ways: as observers, as funders, from shaping research agendas and policies, to gathering, processing and analysing data, and assessing the outcomes of research. The term also refers to the public’s better understanding of science through open publications, research data and process. Citizen science allows for the democratisation of science and reinforces societal trust in science.

In responsible citizen science, it is important that the people are not the subjects of the research but the authors of it. Citizen science requires that:

  1. Amateur scientists are involved at least at one stage of the research.
  2. Amateur scientists are not the subjects of the research but the authors of it.
  3. Research must usually be led by a trained researcher.

The researcher need to ensure that the amateur scientists are offered material in a sufficiently general language during and after the research.

See example projects in the Zooniverse – People-powered research.

Video: Citizen Science: Opening up science to society, EU Science & Innovation.