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Scholarly Impact Report

Metrics for Books and Book Chapters

Quantifying the impact of books and book chapters can be more difficult than for journal articles, and there are limitations to taking a strictly metrics-based approach because books tend to be underrepresented compared to journal articles in research databases. They also tend to use persistent identifiers less often, and publishers are less likely to share usage metrics. In short, traditional bibliometric information available for these types of media can be scarce, and it is possible that entries in this part of the report will be less robust, depending on the available data.  

Especially in disciplines that rely heavily on monographic scholarship, like the humanities, it is important to understand these limitations and consider introducing other types of evidence to demonstrate impact. Some additional measures to consider are: 

  • Book reviews 

  • Awards 

  • Sales 

  • Usage within academia (syllabi, for example) 

  • Multiple publications, like the existence of several editions or a translation 



Steps in the Process

Once again, use the CV as the primary source for bibliographic citations since it is the most comprehensive list of publications. After populating the report with the relevant citations, you can begin your search.  

As you can see below, the template only uses a few of the most common data sources for books, but don’t limit yourself to what you see listed. Because book metrics can be so variable, we recommend taking a more thorough approach, and adjusting the template to suit your needs. 



Book citations can sometimes be found in Google Scholar or Web of Science, and it is always worth checking to see if you can find anything, though in some cases there may be none, or the book or book chapter may be in Google Scholar, but not Web of Science. It is also recommended that you go to the publisher’s website to see if there are any usage metrics, especially if is an open access publication; however, it is not unusual for none to be provided. If there is a DOI, you can also try checking for an Altmetric Score, though many monographs lack a DOI. Book chapters can be slightly more likely to be assigned a DOI, but this can be discipline or publisher specific. 

See the section on gathering journal article metrics for the steps to follow in order to fill out the chart using Google Scholar, the publisher’s website, and other sources of work level metrics. Again, not all metrics may be available, and there are a few different ways to represent this in the report. N/A can be used, or the sections that don’t have any data can be removed from the chart entirely. You can also add rows to the chart if you wish to include a type of data that does not appear on the book template. 

What sets the chart in this portion of the report apart from the one for journal articles is the inclusion of library holdings gathered from WorldCat, as the number of libraries that provide access to a book is one of the primary methods for quantifying the impact of monographs. A caveat to keep in mind here is that this number is not comprehensive since not all libraries’ collections are included in WorldCat, though many are. 

You can find a book in WorldCat by searching with the title or ISBN. Once in the book’s record, scroll down the page to the section titled ‘Find a copy in the library.’ Under the location you can see the total number of holdings. This feature will only work if you have a location entered, but it doesn’t need to be specific; a city or zip code will do. 




Once you find the total number of libraries that have the book, add the number to the report.  

A completed chart may look something like this, but remember, you don’t have to include all metrics in the template. Only use those that help support the story you want to tell.