Bibliometrics: tracking research impact by selecting the appropriate metrics
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Traditionally, the success of a researcher is assessed by the number of publications he or she publishes in peer-reviewed, indexed, high impact journals. This essential yardstick, often referred to as the impact of a specific researcher, is assessed through the use of various metrics. While researchers may be acquainted with such matrices, many do not know how to use them to enhance their careers. In addition to these metrics, a number of other factors should be taken into consideration to objectively evaluate a scientist's profile as a researcher and academician. Moreover, each metric has its own limitations that need to be considered when selecting an appropriate metric for evaluation. This paper provides a broad overview of the wide array of metrics currently in use in academia and research. Popular metrics are discussed and defined, including traditional metrics and article-level metrics, some of which are applied to researchers for a greater understanding of a particular concept, including varicocele that is the thematic area of this Special Issue of Asian Journal of Andrology. We recommend the combined use of quantitative and qualitative evaluation using judiciously selected metrics for a more objective assessment of scholarly output and research impact.