Citation counts, article level metrics and tracking citations to your work

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

When you are looking at citations, particularly crude citation counts, is important to think about their limitations.  Some of these limitations are described below:

  • The number of times an article or other work has been cited is not a measure of the quality of the work, it really only measures the attention of other researchers to 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 may 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
Finding citation counts, documents that have cited your work and other article metrics

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.

Web of Science

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.

Alternatively, use the ‘Author Search BETA’ option to find your profile on Web of Science. You can then see a list of your outputs and the number of times they have been cited.

The help from Clarivate Analytics on using Author Search BETA will show you how to use this feature to search for yourself or another author, how to claim an author record and how to correct an author record.

Scopus

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

Below the citation count you may also see the percentile benchmark.  For example:  ’99th percentile’.  This shows how citations received by this document compare with the average for similar documents.

You can also use the ‘Authors’ search feature to find your Scopus profile and your list of outputs. Find out more from the Scopus page Manage my author profile.

You may also see a ‘Recent citations’ value the ‘Field Citation Ratio’ and the ‘Relative Citation Ratio’. The ‘Recent citations’ value  is the number of citations that were received in the last two years and there is more information about how field citation ratios and how relative citation ratios are calculated which will help you to understand these metrics.

Google Scholar

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.

Europe PMC

If your publications are on Europe PMC you can see citing documents. When you look at the details of an article they can be found under the ‘Citations’ tab.  On the new beta Europe PMC interface, they can be found in the ‘Impact’ section. The citation count on Europe PMC is likely to be lower than on subscription-based services such as Web of Science or Scopus because, the dataset in Europe PMC is based on open citation data and is smaller.

Elements

If you are using Elements, you can see citation counts from the databases Europe PMC, Scopus and Web of Science for your individual publications.  You need to be in the detailed view of your claimed publications for this data to be visible.

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 as described below:

  • use the ‘Author search BETA’ to find your profile including a list of your papers on Web of Science.
  • in the ‘Citation Network’ box click on the ‘Citing articles’ to see a list of the articles citing your work
  • click on the ‘Analyze Results’ button to analyse these citing articles

If you have multiple author records on Web of Science or your record needs correcting, the help from Clarivate Analytics on using Author Search BETA will show you how to use this feature to search for yourself or another author, how to claim an author record and how to correct an author record.

Scopus

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.  If you wish to, you can click on the total number of citing documents to seem them as a results list. You can then use the ‘Analyze results list’ option on this list of citing documents.

To find out more about using citation counts responsibly, see the Metrics toolkit page on article citations.  There are metrics which try to overcome some of these limitations, such as Field Normalised Citation Impact metrics, but these also have their limitations.

Please read the University’s guidance on Responsible metrics: a guide to research assessment and the use of quantitative indicators. 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.