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Bibliometrics and Altmetrics: Measuring the Impact of Knowledge

This guide includes information on which of the databases contain citation measures that can be used to gage either an author, article or journal impact.

Keep in Mind...

Photo: Adapted from Colorfully

A citation search in Web of Science is NOT a complete citation search:

  • Citation searching in Web of Science only covers the titles included in this database.
  • Only citations from a set of 7,500+, primarily English-language, journals are counted.
  • Citation data from books, conference proceedings, dissertation & theses, patents and technical reports are not included in the database; therefore fields 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 are covered much farther back in time than are the journals in the arts, engineering, humanities, and social sciences.
  • Some subject areas are poorly covered including business and education.

Cited Reference Searching with WEB OF SCIENCE

Even though it has the word "science" in its title, Web of Science actually is a database that includes thousands of journal articles not only from the sciences, but also from the social sciences.

Some of the disciplines covered in the sciences include: agriculture, astronomy, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer science, materials science, mathematics, medicine, neuroscience, physics, plant sciences, and zoology. 

Disciplines covered in the social sciences include: anthropology, economics, history, library & information science, law, linguistics, philosophy, political science, psychology, public health, sociology, urban studies, and women's studies.

The following steps outline how you can do a cited reference search in Web of Science:

1. Go to Web of Science. Click on the arrow next to "Basic Search," and then select "Cited Reference Search" in the drop-down menu.



2.  Enter information about the article you want to track. The most efficient way to search is to enter the author's name in the first box (last name first and first initial). In the next search box, enter the abbreviation of the name of the journal. You can find the abbreviation by clicking on "View abbreviation list" below the search box. Finally, enter the year the article was published in the last box. Then click "Search."



3. In this example, only one result came back. If you had more than one result and weren't sure, which one referred to your article, you can click on "Show Expanded Titles" in the second column to get the full title of the article. Check the box next to your article in the first column of the table. Then, click "Finish Search."



4. You will now have a list of all of the articles that have cited your original article that are included in the Web of Science database. In this example, it has been cited 33 times. You can access the abstracts, and in some cases the full-text, of the articles. You can also refine your results to better meet your needs.


For more information about cited reference searching and general tips on using Web of Science, check out the video tutorials from the publisher.

Learn how to use Web of Science, if you start your search with Google Scholar.  

How to Use Web of Science

The Citation Searching and Bibliometri Measures guide from the University of Pittsburgh provides step-by-step instructions on:
  • Find the Citation Count for a Publication
  • Determine What Journal Articles Have Cited a Publication
  • Create a Citation Map for a Journal Article
    A visualization of the connections between citing authors, their institutions and their field of study.
  • Eliminate Self-Citations from a Citation Count
  • Get a Citation Analysis Report for an Author
    Includes total citation count, h-index, plus charts of the citing authors, their institutions and their field of study.
  • Get a Citation Analysis Report for a Department or Research Center
  • Determine the Most Highly Cited Publications for an Author
  • Determine the Most Highly Cited Articles for a Journal
  • Set Up a Citation Alert for a Journal Article