Productivity Reporting in PlumX: See All of Your Researchers Output

As our customers have been using PlumX to build a comprehensive scholarly record about the outputs of their researchers, departments and grants, we have been asked to use this data to go beyond calculating altmetrics about the outputs, but also to perform analysis around their productivity. Productivity reporting is important to the tenure and promotion process. According to a survey reported in the Journal of Public Affairs Education over 71% of respondents agree to varying extents with the statement, “Research productivity is the most important factor in tenure decisions. These responses are consistent with survey results in other fields, where research productivity has consistently been ranked as the most important factor in tenure and promotion.” (Coggburn & Neely, 2015, p. 203).

Within the analytics section, we’ve added a new set of Productivity Reports to PlumX giving users the ability to examine, compare and rank researchers, groups or grants by the number and type of academic output.

The Productivity Report Overview breaks down academic output by content type. This Liberal Arts and Social Sciences College has lectures and presentations as its top output type, ahead of journal articles.


PlumX looks at researchers’ output beyond the journal article. We know this is important because, as you can see from this graph, non-journal article content accounts for 43.5% of the outputs tracked by our customers. 

When an institution becomes a PlumX customer we work with them to track the outputs or artifacts that represent the body of work of their researchers and institution. With over 250 institutions using PlumX we start to see an overall proxy for the types and amounts of research output. As of this writing, we track 67 different types of research artifacts. You want your researchers to get credit for all that they do.

The PlumX Productivity Report counts all research output for individual researchers, providing a breakdown by research output type and allowing user-defined groups for easy roll-up and comparison. User-defined groups can be labs, departments, schools or any other group where you want to see reporting. Additionally, Productivity Reports can be generated on a per-grant basis.

In the example below, this is a picture of the researchers from the College of Business Administration of a university. (NOTE: Names intentionally changed.)

The second shaded row shows sub-totals per artifact type. Percentages in each cell show what percentage each researcher contributes to the sub-total for that artifact type. For example, Researcher A has contributed 25.34% of the articles tracked for this college.

Here are some other things to note:

  • Articles are the number one output, but they only make up 45.76% of the total for this group. Over 50% of the output is NOT an article.
  • Lectures & Presentations are a major output of this group representing almost 35%.
  • Books and Book Chapters are an important written output created by researchers that is a frequently missed. This report show the authors of both and they make up over 5% of the output.

There are other uses of these Productivity Reports.

In the next example, you can determine which departments within a college have the highest level of research productivity. Let’s consider an arts and social sciences college scenario.

The Department of Psychology has the most research output.

In another scenario, let’s imagine you have a strategic initiative to increase participation in conferences. You can easily tell which departments have the most conference proceedings by sorting by that output type. Simply click on the “Conference Paper” column header:

The Department of Music ranks 6th in overall productivity, but ties for the top spot for Conference Paper output.

You can also use the Researcher Productivity report to help identify your productive super stars. (NOTE: Names intentionally changed.)

While Researcher A is not the top producer in this group, he has written almost 20% of the book chapters tracked for this college.

With the PlumX +Grants product, the Productivity Report also tracks productivity by grant. Let’s consider a completely different example — this one a medical research institute. They use PlumX to track their NIH-funded grants and the associated output. As you would expect, at over 90% of the output, journal articles account for a far higher percentage than we saw at a liberal arts college. But, that still leaves almost 10% of the output unaccounted for if you do not track everything.

Per-grant breakdowns of productivity per content type help you determine the ROI of your grants

Other notable features of PlumX Productivity Reporting:

  • Interactive
  • Sortable
  • Link to the underlying researchers, grants and groups
  • Download all data into Excel

How do you account for non-traditional outputs in your productivity systems ? How can you save time compiling productivity metrics? PlumX’s Productivity Report helps. Additionally, you will discover new things about your researchers and departments once you look at these Productivity Reports, helping you tell the stories about your researchers and your institution.


Coggburn, J. D.,  & Neely, S. R. (2015) Publish or Perish? Examining Academic Tenure Standards in Public Affairs and Administration Programs, Journal of Public Affairs Education, 21(2), 199-214, Retrieved from