Understanding Traditional Research Impact Metrics

Joseph S. Butler*, Arjun S. Sebastian, I. David Kaye, Scott C. Wagner, Patrick B. Morrissey, Gregory D. Schroeder, Christopher K. Kepler, Alexander R. Vaccaro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Traditionally, the success of a researcher has been judged by the number of publications he or she has published in peer-review, indexed, high impact journals. However, to quantify the impact of research in the wider scientific community, a number of traditional metrics have been used, including Impact Factor, SCImago Journal Rank, Eigenfactor Score, and Article Influence Score. This article attempts to provide a broad overview of the main traditional impact metrics that have been used to assess scholarly output and research impact. We determine that there is no perfect all-encompassing metric to measure research impact, and, in the modern era, no single traditional metric is capable of accommodating all facets of research impact. Academics and researchers should be aware of the advantages and limitations of traditional metrics and should be judicious when selecting any metrics for an objective assessment of scholarly output and research impact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-166
Number of pages3
JournalClinical Spine Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Eigenfactor score
  • SCImago journal rank
  • impact factor
  • research impact metrics


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