Citation tracking, or citation analysis, is an important tool used to trace scholarly research, measure impact, and inform tenure and funding decisions. The impact of an article is evaluated by counting the number of times an article is cited in others' work. Researchers do citation analysis for several reasons:
The output from citation studies is often the only way that non-specialists in governments and funding agencies, or even those in different scientific disciplines, can judge the importance of a piece of scientific research.
For the purposes of this tutorial, we will be using Web of Science to show how to track citations, but other databases have this feature as well, such as Scopus, PsycInfo, PLoS (Public Library of Science), Social Science Research Network, and Google Scholar.
Citation Tracking is the number of times an article has been cited by other articles in an online database. We can track not only how many citations an article has, but which specific articles have cited it.
I did a search for “Cell Biology."
Make sure the results are sorted by “Times Cited – Highest to Lowest” so that every result has at least one citation.
The right hand side shows the citation counts for each record. Now we will click on the citation count for the first article in the results.
The page displays all of the articles that cited the former article. Notice you can filter these results as well, like we did for our initial search, by using the “Sort By” drop down menu above the results.
By tracking the citations of a particular article, you can not only see who is using the work, but it is also a way of finding related articles.
As previously mentioned, all of these databases have citation tracking, we simply used Web of Science as an example.
The databases work the same way, but have slightly different interfaces.
Citation tracking can be employed by researchers not only to know who is citing an article they might use, but also to keep track of who is citing their own research.
Web of Science is a comprehensive database that allows the user to not only see how many times an article has been cited in total, but also how any times it has been cited in the last 180 days.
Scopus provides the user with the number of times an article has been cited in the right hand column of the search results. Currently only works from 1996 to present are covered.
Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a nonprofit publisher that has spearheaded article metrics, allowing the user a broader range of metrics to inspect.
Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is a network that is focused on the dissemination of social science research. They employ a number of article metrics.
SSRN also offers a Top Papers page, to promote the top downloaded and cited articles in the database.
Google Scholar offers a vast breadth of research papers, some of which can be accessed thorough the University of Manitoba's "Get it@UML" button (access it through the link provided and that feature will work). Scholar offers its own article metrics.
Reviews and recommendations of articles are valuable to scholars. Some journals (like Computing Reviews) offer reviews of articles that appear in other journals. Journal clubs are popular because they allow a group to discuss an article in-depth. New social media networking tools allow readers to comment upon and rank articles.
PeerPub is a database of comments on articles. Users can find or introduce articles to the database, and share their comments on those articles.
Other publishers that allow users to comment and rate articles: