Measuring impact as an early career researcher (Part 3)

Esmeralda Bon shares her thoughts on measuring impact. In her previous blog posts, she explored what measuring impact means and non-academic impact. In this post, she outlines some specific considerations around impact for early career researchers.

Measuring and making impact as an early career researcher

At the early stages of an academic career, most of us will not have a large number of publications. I currently have just one. Having little to no publications makes it even more difficult to measure impact made.

Hans on Pixabay, CC BY


Some of the limited options available are that of tracking views of our profiles, personal pages and published publications on personal websites and academic social media (e.g. ResearchGate, and counts of Twitter followers.

Making a mark

However, whilst ways of measuring impact may be limited, there are many ways in which we can be making an impact. We can share our code, datasets, slides, and our views, offline and online, at presentations and conferences, but also websites, Twitter and other forms of social media.

An example of a freely accessible repository I intend to use for sharing my code is Github and academic institutions tend to have digital archives available as well.

While doing so, it is crucial to make sure that our publications and material are specifically linked to us as individual researchers. Once they are tracked, it will be possible to get some basic indication of the impact we individually make.

One way of doing this, and a good way of getting started, is to create a personal researcher ID. This can be done with ORCID and ResearcherID.

All the material we make available should then be provided with a digital object identifier, when possible, and clear citation details and citation instructions. We should also thoroughly consider where to store our data and aim for open access, when possible.

TheDigitalWay on Pixabay, CC BY


In the end, it is crucially important to remember that whatever we provide – no matter how seemingly simple and small – should be regarded as our personal intellectual property. In this respect, we can and perhaps should take credit, so that our development from PhD candidates and early career researchers to seasoned academics – as well as the continuing impact we make – becomes visible and can be mapped, in complementary ways to add to quantitative metrics.

About the author

Esmeralda Bon, @EsmeraldaVBon is one of our UK Data Service Data Impact Fellows for 2017. Esmeralda is an ESRC-funded PhD student in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham, in collaboration with the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL), an advisory non-departmental public body sponsored by the Cabinet Office. Esmeralda is affiliated with the Centre for British Politics and the Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic and Political Research (NICEP).

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