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Research impact for Education: a self-help guide

Research impact in the research life-cycle


Impacts may occur at all stages of the research cycle. It is worth planning how impact activities will be carried out and how data will be captured. Quantitative and qualitative data are collected to help inform the narratives included in evaluative statements to respond to requests for delivering evidence on research impact.


  1. At project inception, reflect on potential future indicators of impact. Who could benefit from the research? What can the research project do (activities) to make this happen?
  2. Plan these activities and devise ways to capture data during these activities. How will the activities as well as the data capturing be supported?
  3. Do the activities and keep registers of contact details of stakeholders and collaborators.
  4. Record the difference these activities have made. Also monitor the media during this period. Collect and capture data on an ongoing basis.
  5. Report the results of the research project and impact evidence captured.
  6. Repackage the impact evidence for different audiences and build on this to ensure future projects are funded.


Adapted from "Vertigo Ventures, & Digital Science. (2016). Collecting research impact evidence: Best practice guidance for the research community."


Consider any of the following for support:

  1. Speak to the FoE Research Grants support staff to get grant support
  2. Your research liaison librarian is the contact point for support with understanding the content in this guide. Use the 'Book a research consultation' button on this page.
  3. Talk to your administrative supervisor for peer support with the preparation of your grant application
  4. Visit the UOM Research Grants website to establish any rules for the grant scheme you are considering up-front
  5. View successful grants in the University of Melbourne Research Grants library
  6. View the Research Funding website

The button below will take you to a Service Now form where you can ask to meet with a librarian and discuss what evidence you are looking for. When you book a research consultation you speak to an education liaison librarian. They know the tools where you can collect research impact and attention metrics.


Book a research consultation

Build your case

Grant bodies and research institutions evaluate research impact and engagement using multiple metrics and approaches.

The industry-standard citation databases offers a range of metrics and methods of tracking impact. Each of the metrics and indicators focus on separate aspects of research performance. 

These data sources are most accurate once the researcher takes control of the data in their researcher profiles. Start with setting up your ORCID and having it linked in Minerva Elements , Upgrading your ORCID integration (Elements) and Writing to ORCID from Elements



The button below leads to the updated Academic Career Benchmarks & Indicators (ACBI).


Academic Careers @ Melbourne


Checklist for researchers: 

  1. Keep record and evidence about the types of impact of your research and the attention to your research. One way is to use a table for documentation. This will save you lots of time later. 
  2. Keep an eye on your research profiles and your researcher identifiers to ensure they stay up-to-date.
  3. Keep an eye on the proposed actions for your Elements profile.
  4. Link your research profiles such as ORCID, Scopus Author Identifier and ResearcherID. That allows Elements to harvest data more accurately.

Choose metrics wisely

Research performance encompasses both research productivity and research quality. Research institutions and researchers often attempt to demonstrate research performance by using metrics. Research metrics alone are not sufficient to describe performance. Expert opinion should be added to demonstrate performance.

  • Aim to use qualitative and quantitative inputs together to produce quality and appropriate research evaluations.
  • Also aim to use more than one complementary research metric together where possible (basket of metrics).

The Research Metrics Guidebook (Elsevier, p.5) states that:

We provide only two rules in the use of metrics within this Guidebook: always use more than 1 metric to give insights into a question, and always use metrics in conjunction with peer review and/or expert opinion to support any conclusions. This "triangulation" of approaches will increase the reliability of conclusions drawn if these distinct types of information reinforce each other, and will flag areas for further investigation if they do not. Beyond this, there are no black-and-white rules. The best approach is to use common sense to ensure metrics are used responsibly.

Researchers that need to find information about which metrics to choose from and include into their grant applications or academic promotion applications or for similar exercises can use the Metrics Toolkit to help inform their choice. In addition, also discuss this with your supervisor or a peer.




Appropriate use of research metrics


Take action - researcher profiles

To learn more about improving your researcher profiles, click the button below.


Researcher profiles, identifiers and social networks



  • It is important for University of Melbourne academic staff to engage with Elements, their own space in the institutional research management system. Find user guides for Elements. You can also find video demonstrations.
  • In addition all researchers should regularly engage with their own ORCID profile that will stay with them through their publishing career.
  • Add all the important additional researcher profiles. It depends where you publish most often, but most researchers starts with Elements, ORCID, Google Scholar Citations and one of either Publons of Scopus Author ID.