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Citation Analysis & Journal Impact Factor: Web of Science


The Web of Science database (composed of: Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Science Citation Index) is the original citation research source and, along with Google Scholar, the most interdisciplinary and most comprehensive citation resource available to the CMU community. Web of Science extracts the citation information from the articles in more than 10,000 journals from almost every discipline.  A Citation Report for an author in this database will include:

  • a list of citing publications (both with and without self-citations)
  • the total number of citations
  • the average number of citations per article
  • the researcher's h-index

But be aware that a citation search in the Web of Science will only count citations from sources indexed by Web of Science and will not reference citations from books, dissertations or theses, patents, and technical reports not included in the database. This being the case, disciplines that publish heavily in the journal literature (such as the Sciences) are better represented here than those that do not (Business, for example). 

Using Web of Science

Begin by searching for your researcher's name on the Author line of the Search screen.  Search the Last Name and Initials, with no comma separating them. 

David R. Macgregor would be searched as MACGREGOR DR

If you are unsure if the author always published using their middle initials, you may want to search for their name both with and without middle initials:


Hyphenated names or names containing an apostrophe or a space should be searched both with and without the punctuation:

Amanda C. Bryant-Friedrich would be searched as BRYANT-FRIEDRICH A* OR BRYANTFRIEDRICH A*

On the results page, on the left side just above the results, click on Create Citation Report.  (You must wait for the entire page to load before this link will appear.)

The Citation Report will be shown, sorted with the most-cited articles at the top. Graphs depict the number of articles published in recent years as well as recent citations to any of the author's work.  The analysis to the right shows

  • the total number of cited articles analyzed ('Results Found'),
  • the total number of citations to those articles,
  • an average number of citations per item,
  • and the author's h-index.  

You may also view the list of citing articles, with or without the author's own articles included.  Note that the number of citing articles may be less than the sum of times cited, since some citing articles may cite more than one paper by your author.

Note: You will need to go through this list and remove any article that are not by your author, especially if they have a common name, or if you searched for their last name and first initial only, with no middle initials.  It helps to be familiar with the researcher's work and field of publication.  To remove articles that are not by your researcher, click on the checkbox to the left of the article, and the click on the 'Go' button near the date menu at the top of the list (not on the 'Go' near the page navigation buttons).

Finding Fugitive Citations

As mentioned above, only articles that are published in journals indexed by Web of Science will have their citations included in your Citation Report.  Nor will articles appear if they were published before Web of Science coverage begins (currently, Science Citation Index coverage extends back to 1900, Social Sciences Citation Index back to 1976, and Arts and Humanities Citation Index back to 1975). To locate citation counts for these items you will need to search in other ways.

To find citations to items not included in the Citation Report, you must click on the Cited Reference Search tab near the top of your screen. Search for your author again, and you will be given a list of publications that they wrote. Check the View Record column on the far right... if there is a blue 'View Record' link in this column, the publication listed was already included in your Citation Report. If there is nothing listed in this column, the publication is either:

  • A publication not indexed by Web of Science or published before the Web of Science dates of coverage. If the number of Citing Articles is greater than the h-index for your author, it should be added to your citation list, and it may increase the h-index by 1.
  • A publication that was cited incorrectly by the citing author. If the number of these incorrect citations is added to the number of correct citations for the paper and the new total number of citing articles for that paper is greater than the h-index for the author, it should be added to your citation list, and it may increase the h-index by 1.

If you are going to adjust the h-index with these additional citation, it will be useful to print off the portion of the Citation Report that lists the articles and total citation counts around the h number. If the h-index is 27, for example, you will want to print the page with article 27 (sorted by citation count) and the surrounding articles.

These refinements for finding more citations and recalculating the h-index will be especially important for authors in fields that often publish outside of journals, such as the humanities, which are more likely to publish in books.

Go to Web of Science