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Research Impact for Fine Arts and Music

Researchers and academic staff are often asked to demonstrate the impact of their research in applications for academic promotions, grant applications and in many other contexts.  

Citation counts, journal impact factors, and h-index are considered standard tools for measuring the impact of research publications within academia. This is based on an assumption that significant research publications will have higher citation counts.



  • Research impact measures are not comparable across disciplines.
  • No one database will provide a comprehensive measurement of impact.
  • The results between citation databases are not comparable since their coverage varies.
  • Citation counts alone are not an indication of excellent research. They should be used with other qualitative measures such as esteem.

The selection of the most appropriate metrics and/or the optimum method of presenting those metrics is dependent on the discipline, the purpose, the context, the specific research being evaluated, and so on.  Therefore the library advises that you ensure that you understand fully the requirements of the grant, promotion, etc application.  The following are all resources that you should consult to assist in deciding which metrics are appropriate for the specific purpose, and how to use those metrics to demonstrate research impact and engagement:



The Library's Research Impact Library Advisory Service (RILAS) focuses on providing various research evaluation measures, including metrics, to University of Melbourne staff and researchers to support their research grant and academic promotion applications.

The specific metrics that are commonly used vary greatly in each discipline, along with the data sources and tools.  The tabs on the left of this guide will link you to University of Melbourne guides created specifically for your discipline.


Further information

The use of metrics to demonstrate research impact or to compare researchers or research publications is a topic that has been debated much in recent years.  The following websites and articles are recommended for further information and discussion:

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