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Research Impact, Citation Analysis & Altmetrics

This guide provides information on assessing the impact of research and HSL resources available for citation analysis.

Introduction

The Web of Science database (composed of: Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Science Citation Index Expanded) is THE original citation research source and, along with Google Scholar, is one of the most interdisciplinary and most comprehensive citation resourceWeb of Science extracts the citation information from the articles in over 10,000 journals (aka the "source journals") from almost every discipline.  

 

But ...

 

A citation search in the Web of Science is not a complete citation search:

  • Only citations from their 10,000 source journals are counted.
  • Citations from books, dissertation & theses, patents and technical reports are not included in the database; therefore disciplines that publish heavily in the journal literature (such as the Sciences) are better covered than those that don't (such as History). 
  • Subjects are not covered evenly by date; the science journals used for the source of citation data go much farther back in time than the source journals in the arts, engineering, humanities, and social sciences.
  • Some subject areas are poorly covered including business and education.

 This guide will show how to use the Web of Science to:

 

More tutorials (both live and recorded) plus materials for Web of Science are available from Thomson-Reuters Scientific.

Find the Citation Count for a Publication

Getting the highest citation count requires not only finding the number of times an article was accurately cited, but also the number of times the article was incompleted cited or cited incorrectly.  The incomplete and incorrect citations will hereafter be refered to as "variant citations".

Instructions: 

  1. Access Web of Science (sign in for off-campus use, if necessary).
  2. Click on the All Databases drop down menu (next to Search). Select  the Web of Science Core Collection.  
  3. Click on the drop down arrow by Basic Search. Select the "Cited Reference Search" link on the white navigation bar
  4. In the "Cited Author" box , type in the author's name as lastname firstinitial*
    Example:  Smith J*
    • If the author’s name is prone to misspellings, also search for those specific misspellings. 
      Example:  Smith J* or Smyth J*
    • If the author is prolific, has a common name, or there is a known author with the same name, see the Searching Tips (in the right-hand column) for guidelines.
     
    Type in other information (Cited Work, Cited Year, etc.) as appropriate.
    • Be aware: The best search is one in which you give the minimum of information – the more information you put in the search boxes, the less likely you’ll be able to find all the citing references. 
  5. In the results list, look for citations of interest, scrolling through the list to find both the variant citations as well as the correct citation.

    Example:  "J. Appl. Phys.  2002  91 5677"  could be mis-cited as:Add the numbers in the "Citing Articles" column from both the correct citation and the variant citations together to get the total citation count for the publication.
      • Appl Phys  2002  91  5677
      • J Appl Phys  2000  91 5677
      •  J Appl Phys  2002   97 567

Be aware: The citation count will only include the number of times the publication was cited by articles covered within the Web of Science. Web of Science does not count citations from every journal published around the world, nor does it count citations from books, dissertations/theses, patents, technical reports or other types of publications.

Determine What Journal Articles Have Cited a Publication

Once the citation count is determined, the "who is citing the publication" information can be displayed.

 Instructions:

  1. Follow steps 1-5 above; mark all the citations of interest by clicking in the box on the left for each item (or using the "Select Page" button to select all items on the page).
  2. Click on the "Finish Search" button, located at the top and bottom of the page, to retrieve the list of articles that cite the author's publications you selected.

    Be Aware: The number of references in this results list may not match the citation count obtained in step 5 above. Web of Science has several modules and if we do not subscribe to any then they're included in the citation count but cannot be displayed or accessed. 
  3. Use the "Analyze Results" feature to determine any trends in the citing set of articles; the "Analyze Results" link is located in the upper right of the results list.

    Can analyze by a variety of fields including:
    • Author to see if a particular person repeatedly cites the publication.
    • Publication Year to see when the majority of citations occurred, if citations are evenly spread out, and/or if the publication is no longer being cited.
    • Source Title to see if citations are coming from a particular journal.
    • Web of Science Category to see which fields find this publication of interest.
    • Others such as Book Series Titles, Conference Titles, Countries/Territories, Document Types, Editors, Funding Agencies, Grant Numbers, Group Authors, Languages, Organizations, Organizations-Enhanced, Publication Years, Research Areas, Source Titles.

If you would prefer a more visual representation of citation analysis, try the citation mapping feature.

Be Aware: Citing publications that are from the conference proceedings module, are not part of the data in the citation analysis reports.

Create a Citation Map for a Publication

For those who prefer a more visual presentation of the "who is citing this publication" information, a citation mapping feature is available which displays a map of both forward and backward citation analysis for a single article.

Instructions:

  • Click on the title of any publication within a results list
  • On the full record screen, click on the “View Citation Map” link (on the right hand side of the screen, under the Citation Network heading).  Use the options in the “Appearance” menu to change the screen display.

Be Aware:

  • Citation mapping requires the latest version of JAVA.
  • Pop-up blockers must be turned off.
  • Citation mapping is only available for a specific article; citation mapping cannot be done for a set of results. 

An online demonstration of the citation mapping feature is available.

Eliminate Self-Citations From a Citation Count

Sometimes an author cites him/herself; it's possible to eliminate those self-citations from the results set. 

Instructions:

  1. If you have not already done so, follow steps 1-7 above; this will create a set of the citing references.
  2. Click on Create Citation Report in the right hand corner of results.
  3. Select the hyperlinked number beside "Citing Articles without self-citations". This is found on the right side of the results.


You can also remove self-citations manually from results by following the directions below. 

  1. Follow steps 1-7 above; this will create a set of the citing references.
  2. Click on the "Search" link at the top of the page.
  3. In the first search box, put in the author's name with lastname, firstinitial* (Example: smith j*) and change the "in" box at the right from "Topic" to "Author"; then click on the "Search" button at the bottom.
  4. When the search results are displayed, click on the "Advanced Search" link on the white navigation bar.
  5. In the search box type: #A NOT #B (where "A" is the number of the search for the "cited author" - i.e., the answer set for step 7 above - and where "B" is the number of the search for the author - the answer set for step 12 above; to find these set numbers, scroll the page down to the "Search History" section). After inputing the statement in the search box, click on the "Search" button under the box.
  6. Scroll the resulting page down to the "Search History" section to see how many items are now in the new results set - this number will be the citation count minus the self-citations. To display these citing references, click on the citation count in the "Results" column on the left.

Notes:

  • If you are eliminating self-citations from a single publication, the number retrieved will be both the number of times the publication was cited and the number of articles citing that publication.
  • If you combine more than one publication in a set from which you extract the self-citations, the number retrieved will be the number of articles citing those publications - this number does not tell you the total times the set was cited.
  • If you are willingly to ignore the variant citations, you can also retrieve a "times-cited minus self-citations" count by creating an author citation analysis report (see immediately below).

Get a Citation Analysis Report for an Author

For an author, the Citation Report feature displays:

  • Total times cited for the author's publications that are listed in Web of Science 
  • Total times cited minus self-citations
  • Total number of citing articles
  • Totla number of citing articles minus self-citation   
  • Average citations per item
  • H-index
  • Bar chart for the number of items published each year
  • Bar chart for the number of citations each year
  • Total citations for each article
  • Number of citations each year for each article

Be Aware: The Citation Report only analyzes the correct citations to the author's journal articles from the journals covered in the Web of Science; variant-citations are not covered, nor can an analysis be done on an author's books, conference papers, patents, other non-journal documents or from journals not covered by the Web of Science.

Instructions:

  • Access Web of Science (sign in for off campus use, if necessary).  
  • Use the "Search" feature to find all the articles by an author.
    Recommended search: Use the author name with first initial, then add "OR author's name with first and middle initials".

    Example: smith j  or smith jr

    If necessary, use the author and institution refinements in the left column to create a more accurate results set.
  •  On the results page, click on the "Create Citation Report" link at the top upper right of the list.

Note: the new feature "Author Search" may be used to find a list of an author's publications and from there retrieve a citation report. The accuracy of this method depends on whether the author has created a "Researcher ID" and how diligently the author has entered his/her publication information. 

Create a Citaton Analysis Report for a Department or Research Center

This process can be complicated and require a number of steps depending on the institution.

The Citation Report feature displays bar charts for the number of items published each year and the number of citations each year, plus counts for the average number of citations per item, the number of citations per year per publication, average number of citations per year per publication, and the H-index.

Be Aware: The Citation Report only analyzes the correct citations to the unit's journal articles published in the journals covered by the Web of Science; variant-citations are not covered, nor can an analysis be done on the unit's books, conference papers, patents, other non-journal documents or on articles from journals not covered by the Web of Science.

Instructions:

  •  Access Web of Science (sign in for off campus use, if necessary). 
  •  Use the "Search" feature to find all the articles by members of the unit; this is generally difficult to do with just one single search statement.   

    Use any or all of the following methods to find the unit's journal articles: 
    • If there is a small set of articles you want to analyze, do a search for each article, searching by either the words in the title or a combination search for first author plus words in the title.   Use the Advanced Search feature to "OR" the sets together to get one combined set that includes all the articles.  Display the combined results set and click on the "Create Citation Report" link at the top upper right of the list.
    • Do an author search for each individual in the unit. Use the author name with first initial, then add "OR author's name with first and middle initials".     Example: smith j  or smith jr

      Use the Advanced Search feature to OR the individual authors sets together to get one combined set.   Display the combined results set and click on the "Create Citation Report" link at the top upper right of the list.
    • Do an address search for the unit.
      (Abbreviations used in the Address field are available online)

      Example:  For the College of Medicine you could search: Univ Cincinnati SAME Coll Med.
      However, this turns out to be more problematic than this simple example would at first seem.
      • The abbreviations used in the Address field are not consistent.

        The standard Web of Science abbreviation for the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine is UNIV CINCINNATI,COLL MED.
        The standard Web of Science abbreviation for University of Cincinnati in the address field is "Univ Cincinnati", however, if the journal article abbreviated "University of Cincinnati" differently, the abbreviation in the database may be the publisher's abbreviation (such as "UC") rather than Web of Science's abbreviation.  Consequently, a search for "Univ Cincinnati" in the address field will NOT retrieve all the articles in the database from UC.    

        Should you try to compensate for this problem by searching "Univ Cincinnati OR UC" in the address field, you can pick up unwanted articles from other UCs.   
      • Addresses do not always include the unit within the university.

        Some publishers do not include the department or research center name after "Univ Cincinnati". If this were the case for an article it would not be included in the "Univ Cincinnati SAME Coll Med" results
        set even if the author(s) were from the College of Medicine.  If you limit your address search to a specific unit within UC, you will almost always be missing articles in the results set. 
      • Some authors work for more than one institution/unit during their career and some are appointed to more than one unit at a time.  Whether the citation researcher finds this to be a PRO or a CON depends on if s/he is trying to find everything the author wrote or just what was written for a specific university/unit.
      • Units with similar names may be difficult to separate. For example, the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Chemical Engineering can cause confusion.

        Although it is easy to limit the search to just the Department of Chemical Engineering (Univ Cincinnati SAME Chem SAME Engn), the searcher who wants to find articles from just the Department of Chemistry while eliminating the articles from the Department of Chemical Engineering has a dilemma:
        • Searching "Univ Cincinnati SAME Chem SAME Biochem" will only find the most recent articles from this department as those articles designated with the previous name "Univ Cincinnati SAME Chem" would not be retrieved by this search.
        • Searching "Univ Cincinnati SAME Chem" would require a manual extraction of the unwanted chemical engineering articles.  (Basically, the searcher would have to create a set of the articles not wanted and then NOT that set from the original set.)
        • Searching "Univ Cincinnati SAME Chem NOT Engn" will eliminate all articles that were co-authored by someone from UC's  Department of Chemistry with someone from an engineering department (either at UC or another university).  
        • Searching "Univ Cincinnati SAME Chem" and "Univ Cincinnati SAME Chem SAME Engn" separately, then NOT second set from the first would eliminate articles that were co-authored by someone from UC's  Department of Chemistry with someone from UC's  Department of Chemical Engineering.
    • If you use more than one of the above search strategies, you'll end up with multiple sets of answers.  To combine these sets into one large set, use the Advanced Search feature to "OR" the individual results sets together to get one combined set.  Once you have all the results in a single set of references, click on the "Create Citation Report" link at the top upper right of the list.
      Note: Abbreviations for University of Cincinnati can include the following (as well as others):
      • UNIV CINCINNATI,COLL MED
      • Univ Cincinnati
      • Univ Hosp Cincinnati
      • Cincinnati Childrens Hosp & Med Ctr
      • When searching for a college or department, you must use the correct abbreviation (ex: Coll Med, Dept Obstet & Gynecol, Dept Hematol & Oncol, Dept Intervent Radiol, Dept Pathol, Dept Pediat Gen & Thorac Surg)
       

Determine the Most Highly Cited Papers for an Author

There are two methods for determining the most highly cited papers by an author.  

  •   Quick and Easy but Less Accurate Method
    • Access Web of Science (sign in for off campus use, if necessary).
    • Use the "Search" feature to find all the articles by an author.
      Recommended search: Use the author name with first initial, then add "OR author's name with first and middle initials". Example: smith j  or smith jr
    • On the results page, change the “Sort by” box to (upper right of the list) to “Times Cited”; the articles that then appear at the top of the list are the author’s most cited.
    • Be aware: Although easy to do, this method does not account for variant-citations and only includes the author’s articles from the journals covered by the Web of Science. 
  • Harder and Time-Consuming but More Accurate Method
    • Follow steps 1-6 above, finding all the correct citations and variant-citations for each of the author’s papers. 
    • Use whatever method you find most comfortable (paper, index/flash cards, word processor, spreadsheet, etc.) to keep track of the counts for each paper and when finished, sort the papers by the “times cited” count. 

Determine the Most Highly Cited Papers for a Journal

This method can only be used for journals covered by the Web of Science; variant citations are not included in the citation determination.

  • Access Web of Science (sign in for off campus use, if necessary). 

  • Use the third box on the "Search" screen to find all the articles within a journal; use the journal’s full name. 

  •  On the results page, change the "Sort by" box (upper right of the list) to "Times Cited";  the articles that then appear at the top of the list are the journal's most cited.

Set Up a Citation Alert for a Journal Article

To be notified whenever an article of interest is cited, use the "Citation Alert" feature.   This feature is only available for articles that appeared in a journal covered by the Web of Science.

Instructions:

  • Access Web of Knowledge (sign in for off campus use, if necessary).
  • Login to your personal account using the "Sign In" link at the top of the page.
    Citation Alerts require registration (free); to register, click on the "Sign In" link at the top of the page, in the left column, click on the "Register" link and follow instructions.
  • Use the "Search feature" to find the article. 
  • On the results list, click on the item's title to display the full record.
  • In the right-hand column, click on the "Create Citation Alert" button. Alerts are automatically set for one year.
  • To remove an alert, click on the "My Citation Alerts" link at the top of the page; when your alerts are displayed, click on the "Modify Settings" button and mark which articles you wish to remove from your alerts.

Be Aware: Citation Alerts may include references from the Conference Proceedings section of Web of Science; ASU does not subscribe to this section and therefore you will be unable to view these records.

Searching Tips

In general:

To find the citation count, use the "Cited Reference" search so that variant forms of citation can be found; the citation count listed in the regular search portion of the database does not include the variant citation data and you may be undercounting by using this number. 

If possible, avoid using all 3 fields in the "Cited Reference" search form as this may limit results to just the correct citation. Variant citations need to be found so that a more accurate assessment of citation can be made. The less put in the search form, the more likely variant-citations will be found.

Use truncation liberally in the "Cited Reference" search form to capture mistakes/variants by citing authors.  For example: use Einst*n, A*
rather than Einstein, A* as the cited author; use 
J* rather than  J Appl Phys or Journal of Applied Physics as the cited work.

Secondary authors are not always found in the "Cited Reference Search"; therefore, when doing a citation search for an item, search by it's first author. 

If it takes more than one search to find all the publications for which you would like to Analyze Results or do a Citation Report, you can combine your individual result sets together to form one large set of results by using the the “Advanced Search” feature ("OR" the set numbers together). Once everything is in the same results set, using the Analyze Results or Citation Reports features will be more accurate.   Example: #1 OR #2 OR #3 

  For prolific authors or authors with common names:

Search both author name with first initial as well as author name with first and middle initials  -- use the OR operator in between. Example: smith j or smith jr

Combine the author with a date or range of dates.  If using the "Cited Reference" search form, be sure to include likely typo errors in the date.  Example: 1998 or 1993 or 1989

Combine the author with the Publication Name.  If using the "Cited Reference" search form, be sure to include likely variations such as abbreviations, acronyms and known misspellings in the cited work field.  

For example, if the cited work is Journal of Solid State Chem, put “ J Sol* OR Sol* OR JSSC”. This would retrieve Journal of Solid State Chemistry (the correct journal name), Solid State Chemistry (an incorrect journal name in which the “Journal of” was dropped – a common occurrence), and the acronym if this is in common usage.

 

Tutorials on using the Web of Science are available at the publisher's site.

More Instructions

More tutorials (both live and recorded) plus materials for Web of Science are available from Thomson-Reuters Scientific.

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