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Research metrics

Learn about both journal-level metrics like impact factor as well as scholar metrics like the h-index.

Finding Citations: Two Tools Available at Oregon State

Two tools Oregon State affiliates can use to find citation counts are Web of Science and Google Scholar. Scroll down for more information about using these tools for citation analysis.

Comparison of Web of Science & Google Scholar
  Web of Science Google Scholar
Funding model Subscription (OSU pays). Free to use; Google's income largely generated from ads.
Coverage Composed of several citation indexes. Indexes around 12,000 major journals as well as conference proceedings.  Many sources go back to 1900.  Unknown.  Google Scholar does not disclose its data sources or coverage. Provides non-traditional sources as well as books, journals, and other scholarly sources.
Strengths Clean(er) metadata. Create citation reports from a custom set or results.  Export to xls. "My citations" feature allows researchers to "claim" their articles and disambiguate from those with similar names. Easy-to-use interface.
Weaknesses Generally provides a lower citation count. Generally provides a higher citation count. Automated metadata is often incorrect.  Difficult to export for easy analysis.


Using Google Scholar for Citation Analysis

To find the citation count of an article:

1. Go to Google Scholar.

2. Search for some important words in the title, or some title words along with the author's last name.

3. Once you've found the article you're looking for,* note the "cited by" number.  This is the citation count (pictured below).

screenshot of a result in Google Scholar with the citation count highlighted.

To find citation information (including h-index) for an author:

1. In the Google Scholar search box, enter the scholar's name (if you don't have luck with this, you can click on the down arrow in the search box to try searching for the name in the author field).

2. If you're lucky, the author has "claimed" their user profile and you'll see their name, discipline, and university (see screenshot below).

screenshot of a Google Scholar user profile result

3. Once you click on the correct user profile, you'll see the total citations and h-index on the side.**

screenshot of citation results for a Google Scholar user profile.

If you don't find a profile for a particular author in Google Scholar, you'll need to use their CV or other listing of their publications and look them up individually.

*Note: It's a common problem in Google Scholar that there will be multiple records for the same item, each with its own citation count.

**Note: Google verifies researchers' academic affiliation with their emails, but it doesn't check to make sure they're claiming only their own articles.  You may want to scroll through the results to ensure articles by other researchers with the same name aren't in the mix.

Using Web of Science for Citation Analysis

To create a citation report in Web of Science:

1. Go to Web of Science from the OSU Libraries database list and change your search from "basic" to "author."

screenshot of Web of Science search screen

2. Enter the author's name and click "select research domain."  Choose all the fields the author is likely to have published in.

3. Click "select organization" to narrow to specific organizations.*

4. From the results page, click "Create citation report."

screenshot of "create citation report" option in web of science

5. You'll see the citation analysis numbers at the top of the page, but first...

6. Look through the results to make sure they're accurate.  Check the box next to any records that aren't relevant and click "go."  You can also limit to a specific date range (if, for instance, your researcher wasn't active until 1970, you probably want to limit to 1970 - present).

7. Now you can use the numbers at the top, including the total citation counts and the h-index.

screenshot of citation analysis numbers in Web of Science

*Note: If someone has a unique name, you may want to skip steps 2 & 3.  Limiting by research domain and organization sometimes excludes relevant results.  On the flip side, if someone has a common name (like J Smith), failure to use these limiters can result in thousands of false positives.  It's a good idea to compare the final result set to a researcher's CV or other authoritative list of publications.  Find this disambiguation process frustrating?  Librarians do, too!  Encourage the researchers you know to get an ORCID identifier.