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Library Research Support

Manage your identity

Managing your identity helps you to ensure that your work is unambiguously attributed to you and can help to raise your researcher profile.

Create an ORCID ID

A key thing to do is to create an ORCID.  This is a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher.

Your ORCID identifier will do the follow:

  • identifies you, even if you have  various versions of your name
  • distinguishes you from other researchers with a similar name
  • provides a record of your works
  • facilitates communication with other systems in the university and those managed by research funders and publishers

Think about the name you use on your research outputs

If you are new to publishing you should think about the name you use on your outputs so that your work can be attributed to you.

  • Be consistent by using the same version of your name on all your work. For example, choose either Stephen Grey or Steve Grey but don’t mix and match.
  • If your name is likely to be shared with another researcher, consider using your middle names or initials if you have them. For example, Sarah K. Jones instead of Sarah Jones.  However, be sure to do this consistently.
  • Ensure your affiliation is included in your publications. If you include the organisation at which you work this will help to differentiate you from someone with a similar name who is working elsewhere.  This is also required by the SHU open access publishing policy.

Increase your visibility through profiles

Your profile(s) is your shop window to the world.  Consider where you would like to have a presence and remember to update your profiles on the services you have decided to use.

Maintain your SHU Profile

If you are a member of staff, your claimed outputs on Elements are used to populate the publications section of your SHU profile on the University’s externally facing web pages. It is therefore important to keep the record of your outputs up to date in Elements.

Manage your SCOPUS identifier

If your work appears in Scopus, you will have a Scopus Author Identifier created by Scopus.  This helps to identify and pull together your work in Scopus.  It can be linked with your ORCID ID to help you to maintain your record and can be used for automatic claiming in Elements.

If your Scopus author identifier needs amending, find out how to do this on the Scopus page Manage my author profile.

Curate your Web of Science/Publons profile

You can use the ‘Researchers’ option to find your profile on Web of Science, including a list of your outputs (those that are indexed in this database). You can claim your author record, verify your work and control how your name, title, institution, and profile image appears.

Consider using Academic Social Networks: ResearchGate, Academia, etc

You may wish to create profiles and publication lists in social networks for researchers such as ResearchGate or Academia.  If you are thinking of using these sites to share your work as well as to have a profile, please have a look at our page about sharing your research to help you share your research in line with your publisher’s policies.

Consider having a profile on Google Scholar

Another option is to set up a  Google Scholar Profile.   You can create a public or private profile in Google Scholar with information about you and links to your publications.

Research Impact

Research impact is an increasingly important part of the research process.

To find out more, have a look at the Research Impact at SHU webpages provided by Research and Innovation Services.  This includes information about what impact is, training and resources on impact, tools and services, and sources of support with impact.

You may be interested in the information on this page about using Library resources to track academic and other attention to your published works.

Do also have a look at the information about making your work more discoverable and accessible through making your work Open Access.

Track citations to your work

It can be very interesting to find out about the documents that have cited your work.

The main sources for finding citations to your articles are Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar.  

Consider the following when choosing which source(s) to use:

  • your output(s) must be indexed in the source (pretty obvious really, but some of the resources may not cover your research area)
  • consider whether the source covers the type of material that is likely to cite your work.  For example, Google Scholar tends to cover more types of material, such as citations from books
  • you are likely to get different results from different tools as the range of literature they cover differs, so it may be worth trying more than one source.

Web of Science

Search for your article on Web of Science. When you find it, there is a “Times cited” link on the right hand side of the page with a count of the number of citing documents – click on this link to view the documents citing your article.

You can also use the ‘Researchers’ option to find your profile on Web of Science, including a list of your outputs (those that are indexed in this database).  You can then click on 'View citation report' to see an analysis of the total citations to your publications. Claim your profile and verify your publications to be sure this is as accurate as possible.


Search for your article on Scopus. There will be a “Cited by” link on the right hand side of the page which gives a citation count and which you can click on to view the documents citing your article.

You can also use the ‘Authors’ search feature to find your Scopus profile with your list of outputs, total citations, citation trends, etc. Find out more from the Scopus FAQs about author profiles.

Google Scholar

Search for your article on Google Scholar. When you find your article there will be a link below it to the citing articles and a count of the number.  For example ‘Cited by 46’. Clicking on this link will allow you to view the citing articles. You can create a public or private profile in Google Scholar to collect your works together.


You can also find citations to your work in Dimensions.  A summary of the number of citations can be found under each publication.  Click on the title of the publication to see the full details and scroll down to the ‘Publication citations’ section to find a list of the citing documents.

Europe PMC

If your publications are on Europe PMC you can see citing documents. When you look at the details of an article they can be found under the ‘Citations & impact’ link on the left. The citation count on Europe PMC is likely to be lower than on subscription-based services such as Web of Science or Scopus because the dataset in Europe PMC is based on open citation data and is smaller.


If you are using the SHU publications management system, Elements, you can see citation metrics for your outputs.  When viewing your list of claimed scholarly & creative works, use the drop down menu at the top to change 'Focus on' from to 'metrics'.  You will then be able to see article metrics from Dimensions, Web of Science, Scopus, Europe PubMed Central and also a link to Altmetrics.


In all of these sources you will find additional citation metrics as well as citation counts.  Please read our guide to the responsible use of metrics in research assessment.


Setting up Citation alerts

You can create email alerts that will let you know if an article or other publication of yours is cited.

Search for your article on Web of Science and click on it to see the full details.  Click on ‘Create Citation Alert’.

Search for your article on Scopus and view the full details.  Click on the option to “Set citation alert”.

Search for your article on Google Scholar. When you find your article click on the ‘Cited by‘ link below it, to view the citing articles.  Then click on “Create Alert” to set up an email alert to inform you when any new articles on Google Scholar cite your chosen article.  If you have a Google Scholar profile you can also track the citations to your outputs in your profile. You can set up a Google Scholar profile using Google Scholar Profiles.

Use citation counts responsibly

Using citation counts responsibly

When you are looking at citation counts, it is important to think about their limitations.  Some of these limitations are described below:

  • The number of times an article or other work has been cited is not a measure of the quality of the work, it really only measures the attention of other researchers to the work
  • Discipline citation patterns vary dramatically.  It is therefore not recommended that you compare articles in different disciplines based on citation counts as there is no normalisation for field or subject.
  • Controversial or disputed research may be highly cited
  • Researchers may cite their own work disproportionately or favour articles in particular journals
  • Review articles tend to be more highly cited
  • There is often a bias towards citing research published in the English language

To find out more about using citation counts responsibly, see the Metrics toolkit page on article citations.  

Please read the information about the responsible use of metrics in research assessment at SHU.

Altmetrics - social media, policy and news attention

Altmetrics are alternative methods of measuring interest or attention to research outputs and provide information about:

  • social media mentions on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.
  • mentions in other media such as blogs, Wikipedia and in the news
  • captures and shares on tools such as Mendeley and CiteULike
  • citations in policy documents and patents
  • counts of the number of views and downloads can also be considered altmetrics, but are often available separately from the types of information above

Altmetrics should be seen as complementing citation metrics and can be used in building a ‘story’ around the impact of research outputs. The benefits of altmetrics include;

  • being able to track attention to outputs from the wider community not just the scholarly community.
  • seeing attention before citations in the literature are likely to occur.
  • giving a wider picture of citations, beyond the academic literature.
  • finding out about mentions in documents such as policy documents, which are not usually tracked by the tools that offer citation metrics.

You are likely to see altimetric data about journal articles and papers when using resources such as library databases and publisher websites. There are also tools specifically for finding altmetrics.


Where to see altmetrics for publications

One of the main providers of altmetrics is the company  Data from them is often displayed in a ‘donut’ next to the details of an article or paper.  You may also see altmetrics provide by a company called PlumX or produced by the publisher of a journal or the provider of a particular tool you are using.  You will find altmetrics in the following places:

  • Publisher web pages for journal articles. Publisher’s journal sites usually include an index of all the articles in a journal.  Alongside the article details, some publisher’s also provide data such as the number of views or downloads, altmetrics data about mentions or shares, the altmetrics ‘donut’ or PlumX altmetrics.
  • Library databases. Some library databases, for example Dimensions and Scopus, provide altmetrics data about the articles they index. You may see a link called ‘Metrics’ or ‘Altmetrics’ next to an article record or you may see the ‘donut’ or a link to PlumX altmetrics.
  • SHURA. On the Sheffield Hallam University Institutional Repository SHURA the Altmetric donut will be displayed for outputs where it is available.  Click on the donut to see more information about the Tweets, shares and mentions that the Altmetric donut summarises.
  • Elements.  In the University’s  publications management system, Elements which is available to SHU staff and doctoral students, you will see the Altmetrics donut to link you to altmetrics data for your outputs (where any altmetrics data exists).
  • Social networking services: Academia and ResearchGate, You can see some limited altmetrics on Academia and ResearchGate, for example, the number of views or reads for an output.  You may wish to find out more about sharing your research on these social networking  sites for researchers.

 If you have shared your research outputs using Figshare, ImpactStory or Zenodo  you will be able to see some altmetrics in those services.  Look in their help pages for more information.

If your outputs are in the database of papers on Mendeley you can see the numbers of reads they have had.

These aren’t the only options.  This is a fast developing area and things change and new services appear all the time.  Check and see if the tools you use offer any altmetrics, but bear in mind that these are new and as yet are not standardised.


Tools for finding altmetrics: Altmetric it! and Altmetric Explorer

You can install the ‘Altmetric it!’ bookmarklet which is a browser plug-in.  It allows you to instantly see the Altmetric Attention Score for the scholarly output you are viewing, provided the webpage includes appropriate metadata such as a Digital Object Identifier for the article.

Altmetric Explorer provides a great way to find altmetric data for lots of outputs in one place.  For example you can find attention to your own collection of outputs, to outputs from a particular institution or with a particular keyword, etc.

  • To use on-campus: choose ‘continue as guest’ (no account needed).
  • To use off-campus, or with personalisation, choose ‘create an account’. Use your SHU email address to create your account.
  • To find your outputs, search for your name.  You will see your outputs that have almetrics data tracked.
  • The default view shows SHU research outputs, to view the full content, click on ‘Edit Search’ and choose to search the ‘Full Altmetric database’.

You can find training material on Altmetric Explorer here.


Altmetrics alerts

You can automatically keep up to date with new mentions of or attention to your work and that of others.

If you click on an Altmetric donut or use Altmetric Explorer to see the full details page for your publication or output of interest to you, you will see an ‘Alert me about mentions’ button. Click on this to enter your email address and confirm that you would like to start receiving notifications.


How to use altmetrics data about your outputs

The following are some of the ways you may wish to use altmetrics:

  • you may wish to use altmetrics in CVs or job applications and in applying for research funding.
  • the underlying information about who is responding to your work and what they are saying is of most value
  • altmetrics are appropriate for helping  you to tell the story of  individual outputs

Below is an example of how you might consider referring to the altmetrics of one of your outputs:

“This paper is listed on as being in the 98th percentile of outputs of the same age and source.  It was covered in 18 news outlets, including The Independent and the Nursing Times and cited in two policy documents including the NHS Long Term Plan.”

Avoid using just counts e.g.  Twitter mentions: 21, Blog mentions: 8.  Instead, add the context which gives these more meaning.

Bear in mind that these metrics may not always be considered appropriate, depending on your discipline, etc.


How are altmetrics produced?

Altmetrics are created by tracking the attention to an output in a source that the altmetrics provider trackers.

The how it works information is useful for understanding how this company tracks social media attention and creates the altmetric data they offer.

You will find that altmetrics are not available for all outputs.  For altmetric data to be collected about an output, the document needs to be uniquely identifiable by a Digital Object Identify (DOI) or similar identifier, depending on the supplier of the altmetrics.  You will therefore find that altmetric data is not available for materials types that do not have unique identifiers.

You may also find that:

  • Older resources may not be covered or tracked
  • An output may not have altmetrics if the domain on which it is hosted is not recognised.
  • A mention may not be tracked if the source where the attention  appeared is not tracked
  • It may not be possible for a mention to be tied to particular output and it will therefore not be counted.


How to optimise altmetric tracking of your research

The Altmetrics from rely on identifiers to match up mentions with particular publications, so it’s important that when you share your research, you link to your work appropriately.

If you are sharing information about your research publications, include a link to the journal or other platform page where the publication was originally made available by your publisher.  For example the landing page for your article, on the journal’s website.  The link you include needs to lead to the content you’ve published with a valid identifier (like a DOI on the page), and that identifier needs to be embedded properly in the page’s meta tags.

SHURA usually includes a properly embedded DOI for your outputs, so you may wish to link to the Open Access version of your work on SHURA. track posts on Twitter and many other sites, however, if you are blogging about your research on your own blog, Altmetric may not be tracking your blog’s domain, but you can request that they do.

This information describes in more detail how to share your published research online so that it gets tracked by Altmetric.

Use altmetrics responsibly

How to use altmetrics responsibly

  • remember that attention is not indicative of the quality of the research
  • Altmetric attention ‘scores’ are not an indication of quality or impact – they indicate the overall volume of attention that research has received. The “Score in Context” (found on Altmetric details pages) can be used to understand how a research output’s volume of attention compares to other scores. Have a look at the Metrics toolkit page on altmetrics scores for more information.
  • there is the possibility of gaming altmetrics, so look critically at the data
  • altmetrics are not standardised
  • altmetrics are not normalised by subject

When looking at Almetrics, take the following into account:

  • Many outputs do not have altmetric data – this is not a reflection of their quality or impact
  • Older data is not often available – for example only started collecting data in 2012
  • There is some evidence emerging that the pattern of attention is variable by discipline
  • Alternative social media platforms may not be monitored by the producers of almetric data and therefore altmetric data is not captured.  This can affect the data for outputs, for example in China, where Twitter is blocked

Please also read this information about the responsible use of metrics in research assessment.

Researcher metrics

You may come across metrics that relate to an author's body of work.

An example of this type of metric is the h-index.  This attempts to measure productivity and impact, based on the citations to the body of work. H-indexes have been used in some subject areas (mostly the sciences) in the past. It is now being recommended that these are best avoided as they cannot be normalised. Please see the metrics toolkit description of the h-index for more information about the limitations and read the SHU guide to responsible metrics

You may come across other researcher level metrics.  For example, ResearchGate gives researchers an RG score.  A  study has concluded that “RG Scores should not be mistaken for academic reputation indicators”.  Orduna-Malea, E., Martín-Martín, A., Thelwall, M. & Lopez-Cozazr, E. D. (2017). Do ResearchGate Scores create ghost academic reputations? Scientometrics 112, 443. doi: 10.1007/s11192-017-2396-9. The study found that high RG Scores seem to be achieved by being active in ResearchGate in terms of asking and answering questions.

Please make sure that you use any researcher metrics responsibly. More information can be found on this page about responsible use of research metrics.

Responsible use of metrics in research assessment

Responsible metrics refers to the appropriate and responsible use of citation-based metrics, altmetrics and other quantitative measures in the assessment and evaluation of research.

This page has included information about tracking citations to your work, using altmetrics and researcher metrics.  It is important to understand the limitations of these and any others metrics, and to use them for appropriate purposes.  

For more information, please see our pages about responsible metrics.

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