Groups, whether a research group, department, or institution, may wish to gauge the impact of their research or learn how it compares to its peers. Similar to individual impact measures, these numbers can give only a partial story of impact.

On this page:

Publication activity and citation count

Citation counts can serve as a simple measure of activity and impact for a group or department.*  Search the names of all individuals in the group by combining their names with the OR search operator.  Raw citation counts will vary depending on the data source as they will report the impact of only those items indexed in their database.  Number of articles or citation counts can be found in:

  • Scopus: Scopus indexes more than 50,000 publications. Individual researchers can find their profiles using the "Author Search" feature. Scopus also allows you to remove self-citations.
  • Web of Knowledge: Web of Science indexes more than 20,000 journals, plus books and conference proceedings. Despite its name, it indexes arts and humanities materials from 1975 to the present. Web of Science allows you to limit by institution to reduce the number of false matches, and allows you to remove self-citations from citation counts.
    • The Libraries subscribe to Thomson Reuters’ InCites Essential Science Indicators, which can be used to identify emerging trends in scientific research.  It is based on Web of Science citation counts and provides the ability identify highly cited researchers, journals, papers, and countries in 22 fields of research.

  • Google Scholar is not recommended to calculate these impact measures because the search cannot be limited by institution. It is, therefore, likely that the count would include false matches.

Group h-index

This measure aims to capture productivity as well as impact by counting how many of an author’s papers have been cited many times; to have an h-index of 5, five of a scholar’s publications must have been cited by others at least five times each. While more sophisticated than plain citation counts, the h-index shares the limitations of incomparability across fields and across career stages. The h-index for a group takes all the publications of every member of the group and creates a cumulative score. H-index can be calculated using:

  • Scopus: Data can be retrieved by searching for all individuals in a group separated by the OR search operator. Total publications and citations will be available, but h-index for the group will not automatically be calculated. 
  • Web of Knowledge: Calculates the h-index using only citations indexed in Web of Knowledge. A similar process to calculating an h-index for an individual, but instead of searching just one name, include all the individuals in your group separated by the OR search operator.
  • Google Scholar is not recommended to calculate these impact measures because the search cannot be limited by institution. It is, therefore, likely that the count would include false matches.

Institutional rankings

A number of organizations publish rankings of institutions and research programs. In ranking an institution, a level of ambiguity must be embraced because many different metrics are used to make comparisons. A variety of ranking models are created by various organizations for their own purposes. As each ranking model incorporates different variables and weights them differently, no single ranking methodology is appropriate for all situations. Examples of published rankings include:

The US News & World Report Rankings is a well-known ranking of universities by discipline, but actual research measures are not part of their ranking criteria.

Berlin Principles on Ranking of Higher Education Institutions

UNESCO European Centre for Higher Education (UNESCO-CEPES) and the Institute for Higher Education Policy founded the International Ranking Expert Group (IREG) was founded in 2004 by the in Bucharest and the Institute for Higher Education Policy in Washington, DC.  In 2006, the IREG proposed a set of 16 principles for ranking of higher education institutions (the ‘Berlin Principles’).  This was followed with a manual for auditing rankings. To date, QS World University Rankings is the only international ranking that has been undergone and passed an audit based on these principles.

University of Minnesota Provost office reports

At the University of Minnesota, the Academic Affairs and Provost's office reports a number of ranking tools. A variety of data is presented to assist users to determine the University’s ranking in a number of areas.


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