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Research Metrics

This guide will help you understand research metrics about authors, articles/books, and journals.

General Information

Relative Citation Ratios (RCR) and Field Citation Ratios (FCR) are newer metrics that weigh an article's citation count against others in the same subject area. Because they are newer, these ratios are not viewable on most databases. However, Dimensions provides both of these ratios. The NIH iCite tool provides RCR. The boxes below define these two ratios and show screenshots of these ratios using Dimensions and iCite.

Relative Citation Ratio (RCR)

RCR is a newer metric primarily endorsed by the National Institutes of Health. It is used to weigh the citation count of an article against a group of NIH-funded comparison articles within the same field. This provides the relative impact of a specific article within its own field of research.  

An RCR of 1.0 means that the article received the same number of citations per year as the median paper of the same field. A number lower than 1.0 means the article has had below average impact. A higher number means that the article has had higher than average impact.


Hutchins, B. I., Yuan, X., Anderson, J. M., & Santangelo, G. M. (2016). Relative Citation Ratio (RCR): A new metric that uses citation rates to measure influence at the article level. PLoS Biology14(9), e1002541.

Field Citation Ratio (FCR)

FCR indicates the relative citation performance of an article, when compared to similarly-aged articles in its subject area. The FCR is normalized to 1.0 for this selection of articles. An FCR value of more than 1.0 shows that the publication has a higher than average number of citations for its group (defined by its Fields of Research (FoR) classification system and publication year). Articles that are less than 2 years old do not have an FCR. An article with zero citations has an FCR of 0.


Here is a screenshot showing RCR and FCR for an article found on Dimensions (see section highlighted with yellow box):

NIH iCite

After accessing the NIH iCite tool you can search by title/author/keywords, by uploading a spreadsheet of PubMed IDs, or by copying in a comma separated list of PubMed IDs. 

iCite Search Menu

Once a search is conducted, iCite displays up to 10,000 results of matching articles. The top of the results page shows general data about all of the publications found in the search, including a Relative Citation Ratio distribution, numbers of citations per year, Max/Min data, and more. There are other tabs labeled “Translation” and “Citations” which display other article information, but all the Relative Citation Ratio information is found on the “Influence” tab.

Icite Search Results

The bottom of the page shows the search results, which are displayed in table format. Along with PubMed ID, Title, and other normal information, the right two columns contain RCR data. NIH Percentile is a rating of how high the RCR is in comparison to all articles found in the search. The RCR column contains the actual value of the RCR for comparison. By clicking on the words “NIH Percentile” or “RCR” you can order the results from lowest to highest, highest to lowest, or in original search order, allowing you to quickly view the most influential articles in the search

iCite Article Results