Skip to Main Content
Michigan State University

Research Impact Metrics

This guide describes the different ways one can measure research impact and output through metrics that assess authors, journals, articles, and departments.

Citation Network Analysis

There are many ways to visualize the impact of one's research. From simple graphs of number of times cited to some of the graphical presentations found in products like Scopus and Web of Science for individual author or paper metrics. There are several online tools to make more sophisticated data visualizations including citation network analyses. One free and comprehensive tool is VOS viewer.


VOSviewer is a free software tool for constructing and visualizing bibliometric networks. It has a desktop application and web-based interface. You can use data from several bibliographic database and API sources. Accepted bibliographic databases are: Web of Science, Scopus, Dimensions, Lens, and PubMed files. it will also ingest reference manager files (i.e., RIS, EndNote, and RefWorks files) VOSviewer can download data through an API (i.e., Crossref API, OpenAlex API, Europe PMC API, and several others). More information on using VOSviewer can be found in its robust support documentation and videos.