How to Understand Research Metrics

The world of research has many different metrics that can be useful in measuring and comparing candidates for science, technical, or research job vacancies.

Here’s a breakdown of what each means.

When you’re looking at candidates for a job, there are some obvious factors to consider: level of education, years of experience, and skill-level.

For candidates with a research background however, there are a few extra metrics that you can use to inform your decision.

It is important that you understand these metrics, whether you’re hiring for a science job, a research job, or a technical or R&D position at your company or department.

ResearchGate Scientific Recruiting supplies a selection of these metrics for candidates, making it easier for you to make your hiring decision. To find out how more about how we can help you find the best scientific and technical candidates, schedule a demo today.

Below is a breakdown of exactly what these metrics are, what they mean, and how to interpret them.


The number of publications is the most basic, and perhaps most important metric for a researcher—all other metrics are in some way based on publications. A researcher with a high number of publications is likely to be experienced, whereas a researcher with fewer is likely to be at an early stage of their career.


Citations gives you how many times a researcher’s publications has been referred to in research by their peers. This is a good indicator of how well known a researcher is in their field because it shows how many people have referred to their work in their own research. Citations don’t, however, tell you much about the quality of their research.

Impact Factor (IF)

Impact factor measures the reputation of an academic journal. It measures the average number of citations received per paper published in that journal in the previous two years. It can be useful in comparing journals from similar fields, and for evaluating the journals in which a particular researcher has published articles.


Reads is a simple metric that shows exactly how often a researcher’s work is accessed on ResearchGate. A read is counted when somebody reads the full-text or summary of any type of research, or downloads a file. The higher the number of reads, the more popular a piece of research is on the platform.

RG Score

A researcher’s RG Score measures scientific reputation based on how all of a their work is received by their peers. The score is based on both published research and contributions to ResearchGate.

A contribution is anything a researcher shares on ResearchGate or adds to their profile, from published papers, questions and answers, to negative results and raw data. The RG Score algorithm looks at how other researchers receive and evaluate contributions and who these researchers are.

In contrast to more traditional metrics, the RG Score focuses on the community, and puts reputation back into the hands of researchers.

RG Reach

RG Reach is a way to gauge the level of exposure a researcher’s work is receiving on ResearchGate. It combines connections and wider reach metrics, and shows you how much of an impact the researcher is having on the platform.


h-index looks at the number of highly impactful publications a researcher has published. The higher the number of cited publications, the higher the h-index – regardless of which journal the work was published in.

ResearchGate Scientific Recruiting

ResearchGate is a network for experts with 13+ million research professionals, technical staff, scientists, and academics.

Showing your job on the platform is easy, and reviewing and assessing candidates is simple.

Hiring with ResearchGate also allows you to promote you company as an important part of the technical and research community.

To find out how ResearchGate Scientific Recruiting can help you hire new scientific experts, schedule a demo now.

Header photo courtesy of Anders Sanberg.

ResearchGate Scientific Recruiting

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