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Taking Impact Metrics to the Next Level at the National Institute of Standards and Technology



Susan L. Makar, Amanda J. Malanowski


Only a few years ago, librarians in the Information Services Office (ISO) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) were providing a single number as a metric to measure the impact of NIST as a whole. In just a few short years, ISO has helped NIST expand its portfolio of impact metrics to include publication collaborations, publishing in top journals, and comparative data with other institutions. ISO’s impact assessment results are part of the U.S. Department of Commerce Technology Transfer Report as well as NIST’s Balanced Scorecard. Impact assessment services are only one aspect of ISO’s radical changes to be more closely knit with its customers and be seen by them as “strategic research partners.” This expansion of services to include impact assessment has paid off in numerous ways for both ISO and NIST. The ISO staff have taken their skills sets up a notch to include citation/data analysis and network visualizations. This enhanced toolkit has helped bring greater visibility to ISO and its staff. As a result, ISO staff are regularly called upon by NIST management, as well as bench scientists, to help with new challenges that no one would have considered asking ISO to do a few years ago. NIST as an organization has benefited from ISO’s expertise by being better able to demonstrate its value and impact to Congress, the greater research community, and society in general. This paper tells how ISO systematically became a key player in helping its parent organization, a Federal government agency, demonstrate its impact and value to stakeholders. It also shares the research and methodologies behind ISO’s portfolio of assessment measures.
Proceedings Title
SLA 2015 Annual Conference
Conference Dates
June 14-16, 2015
Conference Location
Boston, MA


collaborations, impact assessment, metrics, publications


Makar, S. and Malanowski, A. (2015), Taking Impact Metrics to the Next Level at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, SLA 2015 Annual Conference, Boston, MA, [online], (Accessed April 19, 2024)
Created June 14, 2015, Updated January 27, 2020