Thursday, 4 May 2017

Counting Your Citations


Counting Your Citations

Researchers often want to know "How many times have my publications
been cited?" This is much more easily asked than answered, and you
should exercise caution in gathering and using these numbers. You may
underreport your citations if you aren't careful. The methods described here
use Web of Science. Be sure to ask
for help if you need it.

The Quick Method

This method is easiest, but excludes your publications that were
  • not in ISI-covered source journals (such as conference papers, book
    chapters, patents, etc.)
  • published before 1975 (the year UT's subscription to WOS begins)
It also is less able to distinguish among authors with the same surname/initial(s),
so it may include stray hits. In addition, this method relies on the
articles' "Times Cited" values that may undercount your total
actual citations.
If you need greater precision, use instead the more thorough (and more
tedious) method below.


  1. Enter Web of Science, and
    choose Search. (Don't use Cited Reference Search here.)
  2. Click "Author Finder" link under the search box.
  3. Enter your last name and first initial. Don't use a middle initial.
  4. Select the author entry that best matches yourself. You can select
    only one here; if more than one is likely you, select the "Increase
    Results" entry to get them all.
  5. Skip the Subject Categories screen, and click Next. (You can pick only
    one, and ISI's assignment in these broad areas is unpredictable.)
  6. Select any/all institutions that you have been affiliated with. Then
    click Finish.
  7. From the results screen, click on Create Citation Report. The
    Citation Report ranks the results in descending order of citations and
    provides a year-by-year summary of citations, a sum of Times Cited, an
    average citations-per-article figure, an option to remove
    self-citations, and the h-index* for this set of articles. It's a
    good idea to browse the entire report and mark and remove any entries
    that aren't yours.

* The h-index

The h-index is the number of articles N in a ranked list that have N
or more citations. For example, an h-index of 20 means that there
are 20 items in the list that have 20 or more citations. It is akin
to a median, and useful because it discounts the disproportionate
weight of highly cited papers or papers that have not been cited at
all. On the other hand, the h-index is higher for authors who have
been active for a long time and/or who are very prolific. If you
want to compare your h-index to someone else's, you need to
normalize the values by dividing them by a time factor, e.g. years
since PhD or some other agreeable measure.
Any ranked list of papers can be used to derive an h-index; it is
not a calculation unique to Web of Science. But it is critical that
the list and the citation data be as accurate and reliable as
possible, as well as reproducible -- otherwise the number is
meaningless. h-indexes calculated from Google Scholar or other free
web services are impossible to verify and should be considered
highly unreliable.

The h-index was developed by J.E. Hirsch and published in Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

102 (46): 16569-16572, November 15 2005.

A More Thorough Method

  1. Start with your vita or a complete publications bibliography, and look
    up each individual paper in turn.

  2. In Web of Science, click on Cited
    Reference Search

  3. Citation data are scanned and entered into WOS as printed. No
    corrections or correlations are made by ISI. The only processing done is
    to standardize the Cited Work abbreviation when possible, and to parse
    the citation for tabular entry and indexing: Cited Author, Cited Work,
    Year, Volume, and Page. Any errors in the original citation will be
    replicated in the database.


  4. Prefer searching on the paper's FIRST AUTHOR whenever possible, even
    if you're not the first author.

    • Cited author names are indexed by surname, followed by up to two
      initials; full given names are not used. Using a * wildcard symbol
      after the first initial is highly recommended. Example: PAULING, L*
      You can use a middle initial if you want to, or when it's necessary
      to narrow down a search on a common surname (ex.: SMITH, DK).

    • Watch out for other authors with identical names and initials. If
      your name is a fairly common one, your papers will be mixed in with
      those of other authors with the same name, and you'll have to filter
      these out manually.

    • Lengthy surnames, Asian names, and compound names can be
      problematic. The ISI databases enter cited authors exactly as they
      appear in the citing papers, so misspellings, typos, and inversions
      are very common. It's advisable to try searching several different
      variants to make sure you find as many as possible. For example, if
      your name is Richard Smith-Jones, try SMITHJONES, R*; SMITH-JONES,
      R*; JONES, RS; etc. Try to anticipate how citing authors might
      misstate or misinterpret this kind of name. WoS limits the author
      surname to 15 characters.

  5. Leave the Cited Work search box blank, because you will miss entries
    that have errors or variants in this field. Enter the year in the Cited
    Year field. Click Search.

  6. When you pull up the index list of cited articles, note carefully the
    variant and erroneous entries of individual papers, and select all
    likely matches. Some entries will lack volume or page numbers, and some
    will have variant cited work abbreviations or incorrect or inverted vol/page
    numbers or years. You must use your judgment to determine which are
    likely matches and which are not.

  7. If the paper does not appear in this index at all, this means it has
    not been cited in an ISI source publication.
    ISI tracks citations from various sources. The bulk come from the
    6650 Source Journals
    covered in Science Citation Index-Expanded. (You can browse and search a
    list of Source Journals by following the link next to the Cited Work
    search box.) In early 2009 ISI added citation data from its
    Conference Proceedings Citation Indexes, which increased overall
    citation numbers. UT does not subscribe to these segments however, so
    citing papers from them are not visible to us.

    If a citation to one of your papers is in a publication not covered
    by ISI, that citation will not be represented. Examples of citations not
    covered are those in: books, dissertations, patents, web pages, etc. On
    the other hand, it does not matter where the cited document
    appeared -- only where the citing paper was.


  8. Add up the Citing Articles numbers in the Index list for each entry
    that matches the paper in question.
    Why stop here? The reason is complicated. If your paper was published
    before 1975 and you mark the desired entries and click FINISH SEARCH,
    you will probably retrieve a smaller number of citations. The Index
    entries reflect the totality of the Web of Science database, including
    the Proceedings indexes and SCI records back to 1900, while the actual
    search results include only those from our subscribed portion of Science
    Citation Index, i.e. from 1975 forward. If you do choose to finish the
    search, don't use the SELECT ALL option -- this will eliminate
    "duplicates" and will also result in a lower count.


  9. If you want to remove self-citations (papers where you cited your own
    previous work), you can do this using the Advanced Search mode. First,
    select all desired entries from the Index list and click the Finish
    button. Then, click on Search and search your name as Author
    (not Cited Author). Finally, go to Advanced Search and combine these
    results with your previous hit set using the NOT operator: "#1 NOT

  10. You can set up a Citation Alert in Web of Science. This allows you to
    register and receive an email alert when a new citation to a particular
    paper is added to the database.

What About Google Scholar?

Google Scholar includes a
"Cited by" count in its display of individual entries. This is
calculated from citations appearing in other articles indexed by Google
Scholar. Clicking on this link will take you to the list of citing articles.
Since it is impossible to determine with any accuracy what publications
Google Scholar does or does not index, this is not a reliable figure and
will probably differ significantly from totals found in Web of Science.
Go back to Using
Citation Indexes

Counting Your Citations

No comments:

Post a Comment