Understanding Research Intelligence

The Library can support you during the REF, and help you to understand the ways that the academic impact or influence of your research can be measured using publication and citation data, and altmetrics.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The REF is the system used by Research England to assess the quality of research conducted at higher education institutions in the UK. There is a strong emphasis on open access in the 2021 REF.

Academic impact

The impact of research can be illustrated and assessed in many ways, both qualitative and quantitative.

Bibliometrics is the quantitative analysis of research publications and citations, and is one way in that the academic impact of a publication, research group or individual can be measured. This data is currently very influential in University rankings.

These measures are used alongside qualitative measures such as peer review. These metrics are not intended to be used to assess societal or economic impact.

Measuring your Research Impact is a comprehensive and interactive tutorial developed by four Irish academic libraries.

Sources of citation and publication data

There are several sources of publication and citation data that can be used to calculate citation metrics at Lancaster University. The data will vary depending on the coverage of each product or database. For more information please see the library website on research intelligence.

Help with citation analysis

All of the tools mentioned come with help and tutorials, with thorough explanations of how the metrics are calculated.

The Library can provide help to:

  • effectively use Web of Science, Journal Citation Reports, Scopus, SciVal or Google Scholar for citation analysis
  • decide which sources and metrics are right for your purpose
  • understand the limits of each source
  • interpret the citation data


Contact the Academic Services Team at academicliaison@lancaster.ac.uk 






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