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Research Guides

Research Impact & Researcher Identity

Book & Book Chapter Impact

For some disciplines books are the primary means of disseminating research. Citation counts for books and book chapters measure the influence of a book by tracking how many times it has been cited or mentioned.

Traditional Book Level Metrics

Citation Count

What is it?

For some disciplines, books are the primary means of disseminating research. Citation counts for books and book chapters measure the influence of a book by tracking how many times it has been cited or mentioned.


  • It is more difficult to verify the citation counts for books and book chapters than for articles.
  • There are often inaccuracies in the referencing data for books due to variations in date of publication, edition, and author.
  • Measuring citation counts for books is a relatively recent endeavor, consequently the coverage of books and book chapters is not nearly as complete as it is for articles.

Tools Available for Citation Count

  • Web of Science allows you to track and analyze citation data in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. It is best used to measure the impact of articles and books in the sciences. This is a Licensed product offered by the University of Toronto Libraries that has limited coverage for books and book chapters dating back to 2002.
    • Watch this video tutorial to on How to do a Cited Reference Search.
  • Scopus provides citation tracking, visualizations, and analysis tools for publications. This is a Licensed product offered by the University of Toronto Libraries that has limited coverage of books published before 1995.
  • Google Scholar provides citation counts of book titles and book chapters. It is a useful tool to book-based disciplines for tracking citations not available through major databases.

Field Normalized Citation Impact

What is it?

Field Normalized Citation Impact (FNCI) shows how well an article or book chapter is cited compared to similar documents in the same field of research. It is calculated as the ratio between the citations received by an article and the average number of citations received by all other similar publications within a particular database. A value greater than 1.0 means the article has been cited more than average compared to similar publications, and a value less than 1.0 means the article has been cited less than average.  


  • This metric is calculated based on citation count, and is therefore subject to many of the same limitations.
  • Different tools use different methods for calculating FNCI and therefore book chapters can only be compared based on values provided by the same tool.
  • Classifications of subject area or discipline are not always accurate, and this can therefore affect the accuracy of the ranking or percentile. 

Tools Available

  • Scopus calculates a Field Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI) for each of its articles and book chapters, which is "the ratio of the document's citations to the average number of citations received by all similar documents over a three-year window." Similar documents are those with the same year of publicationdocument type, and disciplines. This is a Licensed product offered by the University of Toronto Libraries. 
  • NIH iCite Database is a research impact tool from the U.S. National Institutes of Health that calculates an article or book chapter's Relative Citation Ratio (RCR), “a field-normalized metric that shows the scientific influence of one or more articles relative to the average NIH-funded articles.” Because this metric uses NIH-funded research as its basis for comparison, it is only applicable to other articles in biomedical sciences.


​Many scholars believe traditional metrics do not give the whole picture of research impact, especially in fields outside the sciences. Altmetrics use a range of measurements to show research impact. They measure both impact on a field or discipline and impact on society. They "expand our view of what impact looks like, but also of what’s making the impact. This matters because expressions of scholarship are becoming more diverse."

Altmetrics can be useful for early-career researchers or new publications that need time to gain citation counts. They also account for other types of publications, such as datasets, code, or blogging. This list is not exhaustive, and many more Altmetrics resources can be found on the Metrics Toolkit website. Other Altmetrics include

Altmetric Attention Score and Donut

What is it?

Altmetric tracks mentions of articles, book chapters and other research outputs such as datasets on social media, news outlets, and bookmarking services. These metrics are visualized using an Altmetric Attention Score and colourful 'donut'. 

Altmetric's Donut

  • Altmetric Attention Score is a weighted score of the attention a research output has received. It is based on three main factors: Volume, Sources and Authors. 
  • The donut visualizes where online attention is coming from. Each colour in the donut represents a different type of online output. 


  • The Altmetric Attention score does not measure the quality of the research, but identifies the level of online activity. 
  • Online attention can be both positive and negative.
  • Altmetrics can be gamed, and bots and web crawlers may impact online activity data. 

Tools available

This metrics can be found in all products offered by Altmetric, including the free researcher bookmarklet and on many journal publisher websites and repositories (such as Figshare). ​

PlumX Metrics

What is it?

PlumX Metrics from Plum Analytics "provide insights into the ways people interact with individual pieces of research output... in the online environment." These metrics are divided into five categories:

PlumX Metrics Plum Print
  • Citations
  • Usage 
  • Captures
  • Mentions
  • Social Media


  • Usage and Captures don't always reflect the actual number of readers and users of a book or book chapter. For example, someone may download, save or favourite a research output but never actually read or meaningfully engage with it. 
  • Altmetrics can be gamed, and bots and web crawlers may impact Usage and Social Media data. 
  • As with other ALMs, PlumX Metrics are unable to make distinctions of quality, and online attention can be both positive and negative.

Tools Available

PlumX Metrics and the Plum Print visualization are available on a wide range of platforms and publisher's websites, including Engineering VillageMendeleyScopus and Science Direct. 

Mendeley Readers

What is it?

Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network that helps researchers organize their work, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research. The metric provided by the website totals the number of Mendeley users that have added a particular document to a Mendeley library. Aggregated demographic information, such as geographic location and discipline for Mendeley readers, are also available. 


  • While several investigations have demonstrated moderate to strong correlations between Mendeley readership counts and later citation activity, this relationship is less significant for articles in the humanities and the social sciences. 
  • Searching Mendeley using a persistent identifier, such as a DOI, can be useful and efficient strategy for retrieving readership count across duplicate files, but it is not 100% accurate.

Tools Available

  • Scopus provides users with an easy way to integrate their research into their Mendeley library and see the Mendeley Reader metric. This is a Licensed product offered by the University of Toronto Libraries. 

Monograph Holdings

What is it?

The metric refers to the number of libraries that own, or "hold," a particular book. Holdings counts are pulled from national or international union library catalogues, such as OCLC WorldCat. The holdings count is calculated as the number of unique libraries that own a copy of a book.


  • Monograph holdings counts and contextual data, such as the type of libraries that own a book, do not reveal how, if and how often, and by whom a book is used. 
  • Provides an incomplete understanding of historical impacts on such areas such as teaching as research, because less current materials are often weeded from library collections.

Tools Available

  • WorldCat provides monograph holdings data where one can trace the details of each library's ownership information.

Information and definitions of metrics in this section by Metrics Toolkit. It is licensed under CC-BY 4.0