Measuring and improving research impact

How to measure, evidence, and improve your impact and create impactful research processes

Publication details

Harzing, A.W. (2023) Measuring and improving research impact: Crafting your career in academia, Published by Tarma Software Research Ltd, London, United Kingdom.

  • Kindle edition, 161pp. ISBN 978-1-7396097-8-8.
    • $6.95,  Amazon US, £5.95  Amazon UK
    • also available on other national Amazon stores.
  • Black & white paperback, 126pp. ISBN 978-1-7396097-5-7.
  • Black & white hardcover, 126pp. ISBN 978-17394538-2-4.
    • $22.95,  Amazon US, £17.95  Amazon UK
    • also available on other national Amazon stores.


This book provides a brief yet very comprehensive overview of what it means to engage with research impact. It is very informative and it articulates the nuances around research impact clearly and in an accessible way for researchers at all career stages. Exploring a topic that is intrinsically important but also increasingly relevant to today’s academic work, the book is also a great practical guide to help scholars plan and implement their impact related activities outside of academia. Ilaria Boncori.

Most, if not all, in academia aspire to make a meaningful difference inside universities and in the larger world. This sounds simple enough, yet even defining what constitutes a “meaningful difference” can become difficult. Additionally, scarce resources can make pressure to perform intense. Some professors cynically see dissemination of research a marketing game that does not add real value. In this book, Anne-Wil Harzing argues that efforts to enhance impact play a critical role, and she shows us how to make the most of our opportunities in a very modern world of media. Scott Pearson. [A much longer version of this review is here]

Book description

Want to progress in academia? I provide you with step-by-step guidance on measuring, evidencing, and improving research impact, leaving you better prepared to climb the academic career ladder. 

You will learn about the multi-faceted nature of impact, how to measure, evidence, and improve it, but also about impactful research processes, with the values of equity, openness, collegiality, soundness, and community. 

Using plenty of examples, this guide will help to demystify the role of research impact in academia and provide you with the tools to be successful in your own efforts to improve your impact.

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When starting their career, many academics are mainly interested in getting their work published. However, publishing your work should not be seen as the “end product” of doing research. If research funding can be seen as an “input” measure, publication is a “throughput” measure, with the ultimate purpose being impact. If our published work doesn’t have impact, why publish?

This short book provides you with a lay introduction to measuring and improving research impact. Chapter 1 focuses on the concepts, discussing what research impact is, and how it differs by academic role. We will also delineate it from related concepts such as research quality and research evaluation. Chapter 2 focuses on measuring research impact. It provides you with a crash course, discussing both traditional and new data sources and metrics. It also shows you how to establish your citation record with the free Publish or Perish software.

Subsequently, we move on from measuring impact to presenting and evaluating research impact. Chapter 3 demonstrates how to make your case for research impact, whereas Chapter 4 looks at the role of metrics versus peer review in evaluating research impact. The next two chapters focus on improving your own research impact, discussing the four Cs of getting cited (in an ethical way!) in Chapter 5, and outlining a 7-step process to improve your research impact in Chapter 6.

Chapter 7 concludes this short book by emphasising the importance of impactful research processes that complement impactful research outcomes. It discusses the five key values of the HuMetrics initiative that should underlie an impactful research process: equity, openness, collegiality, soundness, and community.

I hope this short guide will help to demystify the topic of research impact in academia for you, and will provide you with the tools to be successful in creating your own research impact. I would love to hear from you if you feel this book has helped you.

Table of contents

Below is the chapter outline of the book. If you would like to know more about what is included, you can download a very detailed table of contents and the introduction to the book here.

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: What is impact?
  • Chapter 2: Getting savvy about data sources and metrics
  • Chapter 3: How to make your case for citation impact
  • Chapter 4: Evaluating impact: peer review vs metrics
  • Chapter 5: The four Cs of getting cited
  • Chapter 6: Follow the 7 steps for impact
  • Chapter 7: Research process vs research outcome
  • Conclusion
  • Further reading

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