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Impact Factors, and other measures of scholarly impact

Adapted from Impact Factors and Citation Analysis, Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory University; used by permission.

What is data mpact?

Making data sets available for re-use by other researchers is an established scientific methodology that can reduce costs for research. However, there is not yet consensus about how to best publish or make available data sets, what counts as "re-use," and not all publications include adequate citations to data sets (so undercounting  of use is frequent).

If you are a researcher who has made your data available for re-use, define for yourself what you consider "impact": a valuable and substantive re-use of your data. Try to find this information, and include this as a surrogate measure of your individual researcher impact.

If you're looking for help with managing data for your research project or complying with mandates to make your data available, review the Scholarly Communication guide.

Impact in data repositories

Data sets can be deposited by researchers in a variety of types of repositories: US-government-run repositories, free subject-specialized repositories set up by professional organizations, free, multidisciplinary repositories set up by nonprofits, University-run repositories, or a personal website.

Some of these sites will include frequency counts for how often a data set has been viewed or downloaded. Additionally, one source tracks use of repository data in articles.

Impact of data papers

Data can be published in journals: "data papers" or "data description papers" describe datasets in depth in order to encourage re-use. Other journals will require or allow a dataset as an appendix when publishing a paper, so any citations to the data will refer to the article citation. For general tools for tracking the impact of articles, review the Article Impact tab. There are also some specialized databases that track citations to data published in journals and the re-use of these datasets.