Statistics from Altmetric.com
Not everything that can be counted counts
More than one million scientists publish peer-reviewed research each year.1 Health research strives to generate new discoveries or consolidate existing knowledge to benefit the lives of humans. But does published health research impact patients, policy, the economy, or society?
Common metrics that are purported to capture scientists’ contributions to their field include citations generated by peer-reviewed publications, journal impact factor, and indices that combine stand-alone metrics such as publication and citation count (eg, H-index).2 These metrics are frequently used by academic scientists and administrators to (1) inform faculty hiring and promotion, (2) rank grant funding applications, and (3) compare researchers’ perceived productivity.3 However, measures of academic output do not appear to capture the socioeconomic impact of health research, and fixating on academic metrics can lead scientists to neglect other important areas. As federal and international health research funding agencies increasingly demand that research should have impact beyond academia, researchers and academic institutions must adapt. We aim to draw the sport and exercise medicine community’s attention to the concept of research impact, highlight existing ways of assessing research impact, and outline the challenges of measuring research impact.
What is research impact?
Research impact is considered the positive …
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