You may need to use a combination of traditional metrics, altmetrics and other measures of esteem, to address the impact or value of your book in research, teaching and other professional activities. Which metrics to use, or which measures of esteem are feasible, is highly depended on your discipline where opinions can differ on their appropriateness. Be aware that referencing publisher or publishing platforms might not be feasible, such as in NWO grant applications.
Books and book chapters are increasingly indexed in databases, so it is worth checking to see if you can find citations metrics. Resources to check:
- Scopus (see Scopus Book title list for publishers that are indexed)
- Google Scholar
- Web of Science (via the ‘Cited Reference search’ option)
Scopus also displays the FWCI for books and chapters but it is questionable if the FWCI is representative because Scopus is still very restrictive in indexing books (see Scopus Book title list for the books from publishers that Scopus indexes).
If your book/chapter only has a few citations, consider looking more closely at who has cited your work and why.
Altmetrics for books and chapters are available through:
- Almetric Explorer
- Scopus (PlumX)
- Pure-portal (PlumX and Altmetrics Explorer)
- Dimensions (Altmetric.com)
- Altmetric Bookmarklet
Note: altmetrics suppliers use DOIs and ISBNs to track and collect information on books, and when an ISBN or DOI cannot be found, may search for different identifiers, which can be different for different editions. This may result in metrics that are not directly measuring the specific edition of the book.
Libraries holding your book or the book you contributed to in their collections is another sign of impact.
Useful metrics may be (when appropriate to use in your discipline):
- The total number of libraries that hold your book
- Whether prestigious libraries hold the book, i.e., Bodleian Libraries, The Library of Congress. Look out for significant libraries for your particular area/topic.
For holdings in international libraries, search WorldCat. Look out for different editions, which may have separate records! PlumX, (available through the Pure-portal), also tracks book holdings.
A good starting point for book reviews is the publisher website. Established cultural magazines and publications are also good sources of non-scholarly but still reputable book reviews. For reviews in the scientific literature, one might also try Scopus or the Web of Science.
Sources for book (chapter) reviews:
- New York Times Book Reviews
- The New Yorker Book Reviews
- The Guardian: Books
- Project MUSE
- The Times Literary Supplement
- Scopus (filter on reviews)
- The Web of Science (search via ‘Cited Reference search’ and filter on reviews)
Note: PlumX tracks the number of reviews and the average user rating on Goodreads and Amazon.
Other ways how books are evaluated:
- the prestige or reputation of the publisher – for example, it is an academic/university publisher?
- If the book resulted in publicity and events – Were you interviewed during the book release or invited to a signing or to do a talk?
- If the book has received prizes/awards
- Ongoing demand – If the book was republished, published in electronic format, or translated into other languages
- If the book has been used as a textbook by a school or university (link to educational use)
- Is it an Open Educational resource?