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Citation Analysis: Home

Explains how to use Web of Science and Scopus to conduct citation analysis.

Please Cite My Paper!

This guide is created and maintained by Lee Yen Han. It gives a quick background on the topic of Citation Analysis.

For assistance in using the two citation databases Scopus and Web of Science, contact me via the Email Me link in the box on the right. All suggestions, additions, or comments to this library guide are welcome.

Terms & Definitions

Some commonly used terms in citation analysis:

Cited Reference
- articles that the original article cites

Citing Reference
- articles that cite the original article

Impact Factor
- The journal Impact Factor is the average number of times articles published in a journal in the past two years have been cited

- Measures the productivity and citation impact of the published work of a researcher, scientist or scholar
- h-index (or Hirsch index) = N
where N = no. of papers with N or more citations

- Self-citations refer to cited references that contain an author name that matches the name of the author of a citing article.

Retraction Watch News

Latest News from Retraction Watch, a blog and database of retractions of scientific papers.

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Citation Analysis

"The starting point of all citation analysis studies is to count the number of times an article or author is cited in the scientific literature. On the general assumption that the number of citations reflects an article's influence, and therefore quality..."

Wade, N. (1975). Citation Analysis: A New Tool for Science Administrators.
Science, 188(4187), 429-432: 429 



“Citation analysis essentially involves counting the number of times a scientific paper or scientist is cited, and it works on the assumption that influential scientists and important works will be cited more frequently than others.” 

Meho, L. I. (2007). The rise and rise of citation analysis.
Physics World, 20(1), 32-36: 32

“Not everything that can be counted counts.
Not everything that counts can be counted.”

William Bruce Cameron (1963)
Informal sociology: a casual introduction to sociological thinking

It is important to note that as with numbers and statistics, it is often easy to manipulate citation count to show greater impact. Some ways where citations can be artificially inflated include negative citations (pointing out fraudulent research or incorrect results), cronyism (friends/colleagues citing each other), ceremonial citation, self-citation (citing one's own works) and being part of a citation cartel or "citation stacking", where groups of editors and journals work together to increase their impact factor.

Further Reading:
Davis, P. (April 10, 2012). The Emergence of a citation cartel. The Scholarly Kitchen.
Franck, G. (1999). Scientific Communication--A Vanity Fair? Science, 286(5437), 53-55.
Jump, P. (June 21, 2013). Journal citation cartels on the rise. Times Higher Education.
Meho, L. I. (2007). The rise and rise of citation analysis Physics World, 20(1), 32-36.
Van Noorden, R. (December 13, 2017). The science that’s never been cited. Nature News.

Databases with citation information

The 2 main citation databases:

Dedicated to citation info
Oldest and most established
Covers > 12,000 journals
Largest abstract and citation database
Covers > 22,000 journals

Other databases with citation count:


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News Feed

Opinion, commentary and ideas related to Metrics & Analytics from The Scholarly Kitchen blog by the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP).

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