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Research Impact and Citation Analysis


Impact analysis when applied to a single document is particularly tricky. Imagine how many different forms of impact a journal article might make:

  • Serving as the foundational text on a graduate-level syllabus for hundreds of students
  • Helping to form the context and argument within the literature reviews of dozens of other scholarly works
  • Inspiring an analysis piece in a national newspaper, introducing thousands of readers to a new realm of research
  • Becoming the topic of interest in a heated social media thread in an engaged community of scholars
  • Included in a report from the Congressional Research Service to inform a Congressional committee on an important piece of legislation
  • Cited within the development process for a new patent

These are just a few examples, and not all of them are quantifiable. The tutorial below will help you gather both traditional metrics and altmetrics to tell that story, but even so, the tale will be incomplete. Despite tools like the Open Syllabus Project, there is no comprehensive source of university syllabi. Even if we can see how many works have cited a piece, we don’t necessarily know if those citations substantially contribute to the piece’s argument. We encourage you to consider a single publication’s impact as a complex and ongoing story.

Use Scopus and Dimensions to find Metrics and Altmetrics

Step 1: Locate article in Scopus

Use the main search to find a work of interest in Scopus. We’re going to be using the article: “Decade-long leukaemia remissions with persistence of CD4+ CAR T cells”, published in Nature in 2022.

Article record in Scopus titled “Decade-long leukaemia remissions with persistence of CD4+ CAR T cells”


Scroll down on the page to “View all metrics”, and click the link.

Selection of metrics such as number of citations and views count, with "View all metrics" link highlighted

The resulting page contains Scopus-specific metrics, like field-weighted citation impact. If you click on “More metrics”, you can see other traditional metrics like the number of times a document has been cited in Scopus within a given date range.

Scopus also contains PlumX altmetrics from Plum Analytics, an organization which focuses on measuring scholarly impact in non-traditional settings, such as social media mentions. Plum Analytics and Scopus are both owned by parent company Elsevier.

Selection of both Scopus metrics and PlumX altmetrics


Click on View PlumX Details. Here, you can review a scholarly article’s mentions on social media, news articles, blog posts, and captures in Mendeley, a citation management system also owned by Elsevier. 

Not all links to social media posts are available with Scopus-level access to PlumX metrics; instead we have access to raw counts.

Interface for PlumX metrics with news, social media, and Mendeley mentions for the CAR-T article



Step 2: Locate article in Dimensions

While Scopus provides access to PlumX altmetrics, Dimensions provides access to content from Dimensions is a free database, though some advanced features are only available with a subscription.

Dimensions search interface

Access Dimensions at, then click through to Access Dimensions. Look up your article of interest, and click on the Altmetric icon at the bottom of the article record in your search results.

Entry for the CAR-T article on the Dimensions search results page

The resulting page will provide results for the article’s mentions in news, blogs, social media, Mendeley readers, and overall citations within Dimensions. While will provide raw counts and a preview of the most recent mentions, full access to mentions are only available by subscription.

Altmetric also provides their own Attention Score, which they algorithmically generate by providing different weights to different types of mentions based on the amount of readership anticipated. For example, Altmetric provides greater attention weight to news mentions than Wikipedia mentions. interface for CAR-T article, with a rainbow attention score spiral

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