Measuring the Impact of Research Using Conventional and Alternative Metrics

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2019 Apr;98(4):331-338. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001066.


Bibliometrics use statistical methods to measure the scholarly impact of publications. Bibliometrics are categorized as conventional metrics or alternative metrics. Conventional metrics have often been considered the standard to measure the impact of publication-related scholarship. With the growing popularity of social media and ease of instantaneous distribution of information globally, alternative metrics have become an important complementary measure of scholarly activity. Bibliometrics may provide a standard performance measurement that may be used for tenure and/or promotion among academic institutions. The alternative metric industry has shown considerable growth with increasingly improved algorithms working towards standardization. Together, conventional metrics and alternative metrics may synergistically complement each other to provide an accelerated translation from research to clinical care that may lead to tremendous benefits in patients. All physicians and other healthcare professionals should receive training in bibliometrics and understand the potential impact of professional social media use.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Bibliometrics*
  • Humans
  • Publishing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical / statistics & numerical data*