Reporting Your Success

Previously I wrote about measuring your success. And the next obvious step after measuring is to report (or at the very least note down or record). Hopefully, you have spent a little bit of time – not heaps, but not none – investigating what success means to you, and how you can measure it.

With that in mind, I’m now suggesting you should report it. For some things, you’ll need or want to report publicly or have to report it publicly. If you’ve decided on h-index, you can set up your own Google Scholar Profile and it’ll do all the work for you. As a PhD student, or ECR this might be a bit confronting. If you’ve not published in your PhD, then it is impossible to have a h-index. And, essentially, with small numbers of publications, your h-index is limited to your total number of publications. So, even if your first and only publication is heavily cited your h-index cannot be greater than 1. In fact, the ceiling of any h-index is the total number of papers a person has published.

Therefore, you might select impact factor, or citations or something from Altmetric. If social media matters to you, you might report followers, likes, most popular post(s), and most comments. Then of course, there are things like grant or other project applications, grants or other projects awarded, as well as their associated income.


You might choose to collect certain metrics, then modify them over time to better suit your needs. Some metrics might be better to spur you on. Other metrics might be better suited to demonstrating your (academic) success. You might even select a handful of researchers who you respect and measure your progress against theirs. Importantly, don’t just report/collect outcome measures (data that looks at what is produced). Also look at input and output measures. Things like grants applied for, articles submitted for review, grants reviewed for others, are all useful output measures. Inputs could be things like days/hours spent writing. Consecutive days in a row that you have written. Experiments performed. Data collected. Data analysed.

So, where should you report this stuff?

That’s entirely up to you. But at the very least, I suggest a file on your computer somewhere. Each year, when you’re doing your performance or candidature review, update your metrics file. Add the data from the most recent 12 months. As you can see from above and in my post on measures of success, this could get excessive quickly. So, select a small number of measures that you report. Five might be a good place to start. And if you want to hold yourself accountable, report them publicly. The best example I have seen of this, is by James Clear.

If you want to make progress more quickly, or make course corrections, then I suggest reporting every 3, 4 or 6 months. I do my reporting weekly, monthly, and quarterly. I do it in conjunction with my assistant (James).

Weekly I measure meetings held, calls made, social media engagement, and documents downloaded.

Monthly, I measure the above, plus sales and a qualitative measure of the relationship between me, and James. I also measure blogs written, and workshops held.

Quarterly, I aggregate the above. I also set targets related to what I want to achieve in a year. Currently, it is website updates, and launching new programs.

Dr Richard Huysmans is the author of Connect the Docs: A Guide to getting industry partners for academics. He specialises in delivering high quality strategic advice to the education, research, and government sectors. He is driven by the challenge of helping researchers be commercially smart, making academic ideas practical; the art of the #pracademic. Richard’s clients appreciate his cut-through approach. He knows the sector and how to turn ideas into reality.

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