Citation Searching: Do You Know Your Numbers?

The Basics:

There are many benefits to knowing how to find how often a work has been cited and by whom, including:

  • Finding other researchers citing an article of interest
  • Following a research topic through time
  • Observing how other authors cite an article to support their research
  • Identifying other authors citing an article you have published

Several different online resources have this capability, however two of the most well known are Web of Science/Science Citation Index Expanded and Google Scholar.

Citation Searching in Web of Science (WOS):

WOS provides a very straightforward method for citation searching:

  • Go to the Eskind Digital Library
  • Search for Web of Science or WOS in the search box.
  • Once in WOS, select Citation Reference Search under the Web of Science tab and type in your author's name (last name, first initials) and year cited. Click Search:

web of science

  • Your search will retrieve a list of articles by that author for that particular year and will include the number of times that article has been cited:

web of science

CAUTION:

The citation search results may not be as comprehensive as they appear. WOS citation searches are limited to:
  • journals that are included in Web of Science (mainly science and social science based)
  • primary literature only (does not include book chapters, technical reports, etc)
  • citations published mainly in English (you may miss non-English publications by that author)
  • WOS does not correct for authors who cite a work in different ways, so you might see the same article in your results with different numbers.

Citation Searching in Google Scholar (GS):

Running a citation search in Google Scholar will overcome the main limitation of WOS - GS in not limited to only the journals available through WOS. GS will typically retrieve a much larger list of articles compared to WOS and it is a free resource.

You can run a citation search in GC using the following method:

google scholar

google scholar advanced search

  • On the results page, look underneath the article you want to see citations for and click the leftmost link, Cited by followed by a number. (In our example, Cited by 242)

google scholar results

CAUTION:

As is the case with WOS searches, there may be some irrelevant materials retrieved with your search. Although Google Scholar has a special filter to retrieve scholarly works, there is a chance you will also retrieve irrelevant or duplicate materials. Check your results carefully before accepting the cited by number listed in your retrieval.

Limitations of Citation Searching:

Several limitations exist that are inherent in citation indexes and databases, including:

  • Books, book chapters, conference proceedings, dissertations and technical reports may be excluded from the results.
  • Some journals in various fields may be excluded.
  • In-press journal articles are not included in the databases.
  • Journals are not consistently indexed nor indexed retrospectively when added to the databases.
  • The focus is strongly on sciences and some of the social sciences.
  • There is limited coverage of non-English publications.

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