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Bibliometrics & Research Impact: Narrative CVs

What is a Narrative CV

Researchers are increasingly being asked to write narrative CVs. Narrative CV formats sometimes called DORA compliant CVs, look for descriptions of contributions and achievements, allowing researchers to reflect a broader range of skills and experiences.

Narrative CVs usually allow researchers to give information in four areas:

  1. Knowledge: Contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies or knowledge
  2. Developing others: Contributions to the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  3. Wider research community: Contributions to the wider research and innovation community 
  4. Broader society: Contributions to broader research/innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit.

However you should check the requirements of your specific funder or potential employer as their requirements (and narrative CV formats) may differ.

Open Science

Open Science is becoming a funder requirement and an expectation in most disciplines, as such a narrative CV can be an opportunity to demonstrate your proven track record of experience of open research practices. Use the narrative CV to your advantage to frame yourself as a candidate that is likely to be a good return on investment by showing evidence that you have experience with incorporating open research practices and navigating open access publishing.

How to write a narrative CV

Most funders will provide a template. Check to see if this is the case and, if so, use the template provided.

If not, use the four sections - knowledge, developing others, wider research community, broader society - to structure your information. 

Determine the main priority of the particular research programme. For instance, is there a strong focus on public engagement, career progression or impact? Then ensure that you highlight relevant achievements in your narrative CV that mirrors the aims and objectives of the research programme or funding body.

Ultimately, your CV should show that you are the best person for the position or to carry out the research outlined in the research proposal and that you are a trustworthy candidate who will use the funding responsibly and appropriately.

NB Narrative CVs are usually less than 1000 words and 4-pages long. Information about personal details, educational profile, and employment history are usually captured in a separate form, if they are required.


Funders often prohibit the use of journal or publication metrics in narrative CVs, particularly Journal Impact Factors.  As such it is crucial to be aware of this as the inclusion of any metrics in these applications may render your application ineligible for review.

However in general you can still use metrics as an accompaniment to your narrative. Below are some examples of using metrics as part of a narrative to show impact. 

  • "My research has been cited by international scholars and across disciplines. According to Web of Science, my articles have been cited by researchers from at least 15 countries."
  • "My work has been cited by influential people in my field, including..."
  • My research has made an impact beyond the academy. For instance, according to Altmetric data, my article in [journal name] has been cited by 55 newspapers in 8 different countries and has been mentioned in 135 tweets."