Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Workshop: Citation Counts and Journal Impact Factors for Tenure and Promotion

Why use metrics

Why include citation counts in a T&P portfolio

  • The reviewer may not be as familiar with your discipline. Including citation counts and other metrics can help you explain the rigeur of a particular journal publication or the quality of a particular citation. 

There is no industry standard 

  • Multiple business in the publishing industry have competing products. 
  • Impact  varies greatly by and within disciplines
  • There is no University standard. Faculty are encouraged to refer to your department policy statement on expectations for Tenure and Promotion. 

How to include citation counts in a T&P portfolio

Including citation counts and impact factor is more than a numbers game. They can provide context to the scholarly rigeur and impact of your work. 

Consider some of the following ideas as you consider how to incorporate citation counts and journal impact factors into your T&P portfolio. It is up to use to use a blend of metrics, whether it be all, some or none of  citation counts, journal impact factors,  and altmetrics. 

Citation Counts

  1. Total number of publications for an individual scholar to give context to the scope and productivity

  2. Total number of citations per publication /author to give context to the impact on the discipline

    • Quality of the citation count also plays a role. Consider digging deep to find an example of a citation that shows impact. 

  3. Compare your citations counts with your colleagues in your department. Where do you fall in the hierarchy? What is your unique contribution? you will need to look at all three sources for a complete picture.
  4. Consider the longevity of your citations. Do you have articles that continue to be cited?
  5. Look at the authors and the journal you are cited in. Are they noteworthy? 
  6. Review the articles that cited you. Are there a few that use you work in a profound way? 

Journal Impact Factors

  1. Is the journal you were accepted into a high impact journal?
  2. Was it difficult to be published in that journal?


  • Influence on Social Media (altmetrics) to give context to impact beyond traditional publishing or other non-speer-reviewed sources. 

Example Citation Count for T&P

There are many ways to include metrics into your portfolio. 

Create a chart graph


Create  a list

Bordwell D. Intensified continuity: Visual style in contemporary American film  FILM QUARTERLY 55 (3): 16-28 SPR 2002: 

  • Cited 2 times in Web of Science [accessed August 14, 2007]
  • Cited 9 times in Google Scholar [accessed August 14, 2007]
  • Film Quarterly lists a circulation of 4550 in Ulrich's Periodical Directory [accessed August 14, 2007]
  • 1414 libraries currently subscribe to Film Quarterly, according to WorldCat [accessed August 14, 2007]
  • Film Quarterly had a SJR value of 0.118 in 2002 in Scimago Journal and Country Rank [accessed December 6, 2016]
  • Film Quarterly has a h5-index of 8 and a h5-median of 11 in Google Scholar Metrics [accessed December 6, 2016]
  • Film Quarterly has an Sales Rank number of 2,803 [accessed August 14, 2007]
  • Film Quarterly has an acceptance rate of 15% (or a rejection rate of 85%) according to the MLA Directory of Periodicals [accessed August 14, 2007]

Taken from

Using Altmetrics/Pulling quotes or examples from those who cited you

The Harvard Library Research Literacy Project   references  Sachs, Langan, Leatherman & Walters, 2013  from a Spark grant project. The authors used the above article as a foundational source on how to develop online learning materials for library instruction on primary sources. "Research has shown that students prefer multimedia learning objects for library instruction, and find them more engaging (Sachs, Langan, Leatherman & Walters, 2013), and recent research from HILT (Turkay, Wang, & Moulton, 2015) found that multimedia animated physics lectures were found to be more effective for learning and more engaging than text-only learning objects. However, the tutorials were not formally embedded in courses and viewing was not required of students." 

Sample Narrative

My scholarship and accomplishments are solid for a junior scholar, and the number of citations objectively indicates the relevance of my work and its impact in the field. Although the algorithm used by Google Scholars fails to capture all my citations, it does suggest the solid impact of my 5 Final  Tenure Review, 2020 work. The continuous number of citations over the years indicates the continued relevance of my work, with a peak in 2017, when my number of citations doubled (= 40). My number of citations barely three months into 2020 (= 10) suggest that they will continue to be steady. With 229 citations and an h-index of 8 as generated by Google Scholar, I am currently among the junior scholars with the highest h-index in the humanities and social sciences divisions in my institution. The average among Assistant and Associate Professors in these two divisions with an h-index and a Google Scholar profile, excluding myself, is 2.6 among current Assistant Professors (= 3), and 5.5 among current Associate Professors (= 7) in the humanities, and 2.4 among current Assistant Professors (= 5) and 7.3 among current Associate Professors (n = 6) in the social sciences. This is consistent with findings from Jarvey et al.’s (2012) study of professors’ h-index at 71 major universities in Canada, where the averages for professors of all ranks were 2.3 in the humanities and 5.2 in the social sciences.