Skip to Main Content

Impact Metrics and Scholarly Attribution

Discover your research impact, manage attribution of your research works, and search citations.

Citation Analysis

Citation Analysis can be an extremely useful measure of the scholarly impact of an article or other created work.

A citation search is a look forward in time from the publication of one item to later works that reference that item.

Researchers can use citation tracking tools to build references and follow the evolution of ideas, by starting with one seminal article and using it to find other relevant articles. 

An author can use citation count tools to monitor and validate the impact of his or her own work.

Web of Science Cited Reference Search

This is the traditional citation research source that uses the Web of Science database to search the citation references of scholarly articles in over 10,000 journals.

Cited Reference Search can be used to:

  • Tally the citation count for an article, paper, book or even a work of art.
  • Help find variant forms of a citation that might not show in a regular database search.
  • List the Web of Science journal articles that cite the item.
  • Eliminate self-citations.
  • Create a Citation Map for an item.
  • Instructions for Using Cited Reference Search in the Web of Science

Google Scholar Citation Search

Google Scholar is a database that includes journal and conference papers, theses and dissertations, academic books, pre-prints, abstracts, technical reports, patents and legal documents.

Search results show citation counts and links to citing articles. These will be primarily from scholarly journals. However, since Google Scholar is not a database of specific journals with clearly defined date ranges, researchers need to be aware of the uncertainty of the coverage. 

Instructions for an Article Citation Search in Google Scholar


The impact of articles and other written output can be measued by more than citation analysis.

Altmetrics are the tools and methods used to study the readership and sharing of online materials, especially material generated in digital sharing media, such as in blogs, collaborative reference managers, bookmarking exchanges and social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn and FaceBook.

These are alternative forms of publication that are inadequately represented in traditional citation counts.

Mining the impact of this digital material could provide rich metadata beyond citation and usage counts, to include information about user context, value and perception.

Limitations of Citation Analysis

  • Citation tracking is limited to the inventory searched; not every citing work may be included.
  • Items can be cited incorrectly or in different forms, leading to missed results.
  • Subject relevance, author attitude and the importance of a reference are not measured.
  • Citation counts don't measure readership.
  • Citing material consists primarily of academic papers; other written material may or may not be included.

Because of these limitations, it's important that researchers use multiple methods to track citations and evaluate the impact of a work.