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Bibliometrics & Measuring Research Output: Overview

Table of Contents

This guide overviews the topic of bibliometrics, and all content is informed by the White Paper, "Measuring Research Output Through Bibliometrics", authored by the University of Waterloo Working Group on Bibliometrics

More specifically, this guide explores:

White Paper on Bibliometrics

The White Paper, "Measuring Research Output Through Bibliometrics", provides a high-level review of bibliometrics, and provides recommended practices for working with bibliometric data.

Link to Measuring Research Output through Bibliometrics White Paper in UWSpace

The White Paper is not a policy paper; instead, it defines and summarizes evidence that addresses appropriate use of bibliometric data at the University of Waterloo.

For further information connected to this white paper, please contact:


Working Group on Bibliometrics
University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo ON Canada N2L 3G1

What are bibliometric measures?

  • Bibliometric measures are one important tool among many to capture elements of research productivity and impact.
  • Bibliometric measures are used to express an amount or degree of research or academic output. The European Commission defines bibliometrics as, “a statistical or mathematical method for counting the number of academic publications, citations and authorship”.1
  • Examples of bibliometric measures include the number of publications or citations of a single researcher, a group of researchers, or an institution.


1 European Commission. (2008). Assessing Europe’s university-based research. Retrieved from 

How is bibliometric data used?

In the post-secondary sector, common assessment activities that incorporate bibliometric measures can include:

  • Individual peer review of funding applications
  • Individual assessment for promotion and tenure
  • Granting of awards
  • University rankings
  • Institutional funding