Arrow@TUDublin is a member of the Digital Commons Network (DCN) whose by-line is “powered by scholars, published by universities.”  This is a database of open access scholarship from hundreds of universities and colleges that provides access to peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, working papers, conference proceedings, and other original scholarly work. This material is all full-text and is free to read and use. The DCN can be a useful tool for current awareness as it is possible to browse by subject and topics.

View further information on how to submit to Arrow.

Taking part in social media can be a great distraction and also be very time-consuming. Use social media strategically. Decide to spend a certain amount of time on this activity and stick to that schedule.

Tips for using social media effectively 

  • Social media can be a great way to contact experts in your fields, follow them and take part in the conversations. Do not only talk about yourself, refer to fellow researchers. If you talk about them, they will reciprocate and talk about you. Assume everything you say is in the public domain even if it starts as a private conversation so always be respectful and remember it is not only your reputation that is involved but also that of your organisation.
  • Use social media to promote and disseminate your work. Blogging can be useful especially in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. But always evaluate if it is working for you. If it is not, shut it down rather than abandon a blog or logout of a website.
  • Academic Social Networking sites are a great way to network with peers and share research. This can be a way to ask questions, but the response rate can be low. You can create groups and share references. You can also upload your papers but remember copyright still applies so it is better to upload the paper to Arrow@TU Dublin and link to that. The 2 main ones are ResearchGate and Edu: the former is more widely used in Europe while the latter is more commonly used in the United States (US).

Further reading

Citizen Science is research carried out by members of the public who volunteer to collect data and engage with a research project. By participating in such projects people can enhance their own scientific knowledge and have a greater say in and commitment to the research. An educated citizenry can make informed contributions to debate on climate change, health, and democracy. It can empower communities to make a difference in their own lives and can contribute to social well-being. By engaging with citizen science researchers can discover more than they would have on their own, create larger datasets with voluntary manpower, and inputs from non-researchers can provide unexpected insights that can develop the research questions. It is also a great way to create a pathway to impact.

Citizen Science Ireland is an initiative to harness the knowledge gained by practitioners and researchers and involve citizens across the different STEM disciplines in Ireland. These are some of the projects currently underway:

Research metrics are measures used to assess the influence or impact of scholarly works. They can be both qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative methods will include peer review of the actual research not just the publications, the amount of funding achieved, awards and patents obtained and the amount of the material that is available as open access. However, quantitative methods are more generally used to answer questions such as how the work has influenced future work, who are the leading researchers in a field, what are the emerging areas of research, who are potential collaborators/competitors and to assess the impact of an individual’s/group research output. The most common methods here are bibliometrics (methods to analyse and track scholarly literature), citation analysis ( who is citing who) and almetrics (a relatively new way of tracking and analysing scholarly works online).

There are two main citation databases Web of Science and Scopus and each has its own analysis tool. TU Dublin has access to Web of Science Core Collection and Scopus and to the analysis tool on Scopus called SciVal.  If you are a member of the university you can have access to Scival and run your own analysis. Contact the library if you need assistance or training on how to use Scival.

Quantitative measures for research impact have been heavily criticised and most of that criticism is based on the coverage limits of the databases used to create metrics (heavy on the sciences, scanty on the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences), failure to account for differences in scholarly outputs and citation rates  among disciplines (for example Engineering and Computing rely heavily on Conference papers which are not as well covered as journal articles) and over-reliance by funders and institutions on a single metric or on quantitative rather than qualitative metrics on judging scholarship.  New principles of assessing research such as Leiden (connect to the section on Dora and Leiden) and Dora are also gaining traction as being a more accurate and fair method of evaluating research output.

Some examples of traditional metrics are

  • H Index - this is an author metric that tries to measure both the productivity and impact of the publications of an author. A researcher with a hindex of 3 has published 3 papers, each of which have been cited in other papers at least three times.
  • Field Weighted Citation Impact - this is an author metric which compares the total citations actually received by a researcher’s publication to the average number of citations received by all other similar publications from the same research field. The global average of the FWCI Is 1 so an FWCI of 1.50 means 50% more cited than the world average and an FWCI of 0.75 means 25% less cited than the world average.
  • Journal Impact Factor - calculated on the number of citations within one year to items published in the last two years. This metric is also available excluding journal self-cites and as a five-impact factor.

Useful Resources

Scival is the analysis tool for Scopus and is made up of 4 modules: Overview, Benchmarking, Collaboration and Trends. It uses Scopus date for traditional publication and citation metrics and usage date from Scopus and Sciencedirect, global mass media, patents and funding awards to measure research visibility and soci-economic impact. As a member of TU Dublin you can access the database and run analysis for yourself. Register for an account on If you need training on how to use Scival, contact the library.


Altmetrics stands for "alternative metrics." The "alternative" part refers to traditional measurements of academic success such as citation counts, journal prestige (impact factor), and author H-index. Altmetrics are meant to compliment, not totally replace, these traditional measures. Since most research, including journal articles, are now electronic and networked it is possible to  track how many times they are accessed, used, and shared. These numbers/almetrics provide a more complete picture of the reach and impact of research and scholarship; one that goes beyond citations in peer-reviewed publications . There are two main companies specialising in altmetrics. One is called and the other is called PlumX Analyticals.

Altmetrics can answer questions such as:

  • How many times was my article downloaded?
  • Who is reading my work? (on Mendeley, bookmarking sites, etc.)
  • Was my article covered by any news agencies?
  • Are other researchers commenting on it?
  • How many times was it shared? (on Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Which countries are looking at my research?

Almetrics will look at the following;

  • Citations: Scopus, Web of Science, PubMed Central, and Google Scholar citations; citations in policy documents
  • Bookmarks: scholarly bookmarks on Mendeley & CiteULike; bookmarks by the public on Delicious & Pinboard; Twitter favorites
  • Discussion: peer reviews on F1000, Publons, and other post-publication peer review websites; Twitter mentions and Facebook wall posts; newspaper articles, videos, and podcasts; mentions on scholarly blog networks like ResearchBlogging
  • Shares: Twitter mentions, Facebook shares
  • Views: Pageview & download statistics from the journal website or repository where you've archived your paper

Benefits of Altmetrics

  • Almetrics can inform researchers of the societal impact of their research. The data can help researchers understand how their research is being interacted with by the public, government, policy makers, and other agencies.
  • Altmetrics provide a wider range of data, from a wider range of sources than traditional metrics. Altmetrics data is also highly nuanced and can be provided in high detail and in the context in which it originates.
  • Altmetrics data accumulates at a faster speed compared to traditional metrics. In disciplines where citations grow slowly, or in the context of new researchers, this speed helps determine which outputs are gaining online attention.

Providers like and ImpactStory provide access to their API and source code. Altmetrics providers also pull their data from open sources, who give access to their APIs or raw usage data, which makes altmetrics data more easily replicable than data in proprietary databases.

However, they should be used with caution. Nobody quite knows how they work, different providers provide different metrics, Altmetrics tend to be concerned with current activity, and they work best when items have a doi (digital object identifier).

Use almetrics to explore the impact of your research beyond journal level-metrics. Engaging with Arrow@TUDublin which uses PlumX Analyticals will provide you with information in this regard and demonstrate on  audiences are engaging with your work. Use your number of downloads to show funders the broad reach of your material. Show your almetrics on your cv and institutional website.