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Measuring Research Quality and Impact - Research Guide

Citation Metrics

Publication and Citation Counts

Citation is the process of acknowledging or citing a source (journal, book, or other) in a published work. Citations can be counted as a measure of the usage and engagement with the cited work. Citation analysis can be applied to:

  •     an individual article (how often it was cited)
  •     a researcher (total citations, or average citation count per article)
  •     a journal (average citation count for the articles in the journal)
  •     research data or dataset (how often it was cited)

Citation analysis has both advantages and disadvantages in all its forms, including bias and the limitations of the citation data source. Each specific discipline has its own citing behaviour and the value of citation analysis will vary across disciplines.

The research output of an individual researcher can be measured using both publication and citation counts.

A researcher's publication count can be determined using bibliographic databases, and citation counts can be determined using citation databases. Collating your publication and citation counts is easier if you have a research profile or an ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID).

Cited reference searching using citation databases allows you to search forward in the published literature, starting from your known publications you can locate new articles which cite that your publications in their reference lists.

Cited reference searching enables you to:

  • track and count all of your publications
  • find out if your publications have been cited by other authors
  • find more recent papers on the same subject
  • discover how a known idea or innovation has been confirmed, applied, improved, extended or corrected

Citation Metrics Tools

Scopus - Scopus is an online citation database that indexes resources in the health and life sciences, chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, earth and environmental sciences, social sciences, psychology, and economics, business and management. Scopus allows you to count your publications and citations, and to create citation analysis reports.

Web of Science Core Collection - Web of Science Core Collection is an online citation database that covers the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. It allows you to count your publications and citations, and to create citation analysis reports.

Note: As these databases index different sets of journals over different time periods, your publication and citation counts may vary significantly between the two tools. You should check all tools and carefully select the measurement that best represents your output. When citation counts are included in documents, you should state which tool you used and the date the data was obtained. A more accurate publication and citation count may be obtained by collating data from both of these tools, and other citation databases, using an ORCID.

Google Scholar - Google Scholar is a free tool which provides citation data. Citations in Google Scholar include 'Cited by' counts. The My Citations feature requires a Google login and password.

Note: Google Scholar citations have been criticised for duplications and misidentifications. Careful analysis and verification of results is recommended.

Business Source Complete - Business Source Complete is comprehensive database of full-text journals in all disciplines of business, including marketing, management, accounting, finance and economics. Business Source Complete includes citation data for journal articles.

Communication Source - Communication Source is comprehensive database of full-text journals in communication and mass media. Communication Source includes citation data for journal articles.

ERIC - ERIC is comprehensive database of full-text journals in education and related subjects. ERIC includes citation data for journal articles.

BIOSIS Citation Index - BIOSIS Citation Index is an online citation database that indexes resources in the biological and biomedical sciences. BIOSIS allows you to count publications and citations, and to create citation analysis reports.

CABI : CAB Abstracts - CABI is an online citation database that indexes resources in agriculture and related disciplines including veterinary medicine, human nutrition, developing countries, leisure, recreation, and tourism. CABI allows you to count publications and citations, and to create citation analysis reports.

MEDLINE - MEDLINE is an online citation database that indexes resources in medicine, nursing, veterinary medicine, allied health, and the pre-clinical sciences. MEDLINE allows you to count publications and citations, and to create citation analysis reports.

IEEE Xplore - IEEE Xplore is comprehensive database of full-text journals in engineering and related subjects. IEEE Xplore includes citation data for journal articles.

Creating a Citation Report or Overview

If you do an Author or document search for a specific researcher in either Scopus or the Web of Science databases, you have the option to create a citation report or overview.

The report function will allow you to:

  • Sort results by publication date, times cited, etc.
  • Follow links to view citing articles
  • Identify trends over time
  • Exclude self-citations by the author from the report

A citation report or overview from these databases includes the following data, for the publications and time period indexed by the database:

  • the number of documents cited
  • the total number of citations received
  • the total number of citing documents
  • the total number of citations received per year for a specified time period
  • the number of citations for each publication per year for a specified time period
  • the author or publication's h-index and associated h-graph

Depending on which database you use, this information is presented as a series of graphs and tables that can be copied into other documents, including:

  • Job applications
  • Applications for academic promotion or tenure
  • Grant applications

The citation report feature of both Scopus and Web of Science has limited export options, but you can also export the records from a database to EndNote and create your own citation report:

  • Use the saved list feature within the database to export the full record
  • Select fields to include in the output, including Times Cited
  • The number of times cited is generally exported to the Notes or Research Notes field
  • You may need to delete additional content in these notes fields
  • You can create or modify an EndNote output style, to include citation counts
  • The style may need to be adapted to meet the required reference format for a grant or promotion application

Resources

MyRI (Measuring your Research Impact) online tutorial - Module 1 : Introduction to Bibliometrics - a cross institutional project from University College Dublin, Dublin City University, Dublin Institute of Technology and Maynooth University.

Research Metrics Quick Reference (cards) - Elsevier

Scopus Quick Reference Guide  -  Elsevier

Web of Science Quick Reference Guide - Clarivate Analytics