Tracking citations to your work

It can be useful and interesting to find out the details of any documents that are citing your work.  For example, you may want to read the articles that are citing your outputs or make contact with the authors if they are publishing in a similar field.

Sometimes you may see citations counts used as a measure of impact, but this is fairly crude and unsophisticated measure:

  • The number of times an article or other work has been cited should not be used as a measure of the quality of the work, it really only measures the interest of other researchers in the work
  • Discipline citation patterns vary dramatically.  It is therefore not recommended that you compare articles in different disciplines based on citation counts as there is no normalisation for field or subject.
  • Controversial or disputed research may be highly cited
  • Researchers my cite their own work disproportionately or favour articles in particular journals
  • Review articles tend to be more highly cited
  • There is often a bias towards citing research published in the English language

It is recommended to use a number of different metrics (not rely on just one) and to use qualitative evaluation of research outputs not just quantitative measures.

Finding documents that have cited your work

The main sources for finding citations to your articles are Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar.  Consider the following when choosing which source(s) to use:

  • your output(s) must be indexed in the source (pretty obvious really, but some of the resources may not cover your research area)
  • consider whether the source covers the type of material that is likely to cite your work.  For example, Google Scholar tends to cover more types of material, such as citations from books
  • you are likely to get different results from different tools as the range of literature they cover differs, so it may be worth trying more than one source.

Search for your article on Web of Science. When you find it, there is a “Times cited” link on the right hand side of the page with a count of the number of citing documents – click on this link to view the documents citing your article.  You may also see either “Hot” or “Highly cited” next to your paper.  “Hot” articles were published in the past two years and received enough citations in the last two months to place it in the top 0.1% of papers in the academic field.  “Highly cited” articles are in the top 1% in the academic field.

Search for your article on Scopus. There will be a “Cited by” link on the right hand side of the page which you can click on to view the documents citing your article.

Search for your article on Google Scholar. When you find your article there will be a link below it to the citing articles and a count of the number.  For example ‘Cited by 46’.   Clicking on this link will allow you to view the citing articles.

Setting up citation alerts

You can create email alerts which will let you know if an article or other publication of yours is cited.

Search for your article on Web of Science and click on it to see the full details.  Click on ‘Create Citation Alert’.

Search for your article on Scopus and view the full details.  Click on the option to “Set citation alert”.

Search for your article on Google Scholar. When you find  your article click on the ‘Cited by n‘ link below it, to view the citing articles.  Then click on “Create Alert” to set up an email alert to inform you when any new articles on Google Scholar cite your chosen article.  If you have a Google Scholar profile you can also track the citations to your outputs in your profile. You can set up a Google Scholar profile using Google Scholar Citations.

Analysing citing documents

The tools below can help you analyse the documents that are citing your work.

Web of Science

You can analyse the citations to your body of work as formed by your articles on Web of Science.  You can do this by using the author search to identify your papers and then clicking on ‘Create citation report’.  This video shows you how to use the citation report function in Web of Science:

Web of Science also enables you to analyse the citations to a particular article by searching for one article and using the ‘Create citation report’ option or by viewing the full details of the articles and then clicking on the ‘View citation map’ option.  To generate a citation map for the articles citing your article, click on ‘Forward only’ and then ‘Create Map’.  You will see a map of the articles citing your chosen article. You can choose to see the journals, authors, years, etc. of the citing articles by changing the ‘Appearance’ of the map.


You can use Scopus to find out more about the citations to your body of work as formed by your articles on Scopus.   To do this, choose the author search option by choosing ‘Authors’ on the main page.  Search for your name  (for help, see the Searching for authors in Scopus video). Click on  your name to see the details about you and your outputs, including the number of citations your outputs have received.

Choose “View citation overview” to see more about the citations to your outputs.