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Citation Analysis: 1. Web of Science

Introduction

The Web of Science database (composed of: Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Science Citation Index Expanded) is the original citation research sourceWeb of Science extracts the citation information from the articles in over 6,000 journals from almost every discipline.  

 

But ...

 

A citation search in the ISI Web of Science is not a complete citation search:

  • 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.

 

This guide will show how to use the Web of Science to:

 

Find the Citation Count for a Publication

 

  1. Access Web of Science (sign in for off-campus use, if necessary)
  2. Click on the "Cited Reference Search" link on the white navigation bar
  3.  In the "Cited Work" box , enter in the journal name and click the search button. Use the journal abbreviation list, linked below the search box to find the correct abbreviation of the journal name you are searching.

    Example: enter  J Aging Stud for Journal of Aging Studies
  4. Run the search. Once the results are posted, click on Select All and then Finish Search.
  5. The Results number should indicate how many articles in Web of Science cited the journal. Please note: The citation count will only include the number of times the publication was cited by articles from the journals that Web of Science covers. WOS does not count citations from every journal published around the world, nor does it count citations from books, conference proceedings, dissertations/theses, patents, technical reports or other types of publications.

Determine What Journal Articles Have Cited a Publication

  1. Follow steps 1-5 above, marking all the citations of interest by clicking in the box on the left for each item (or using the "Select Page" button to select all items on the page).
  2.  Click on the "Finish Search" button, located at the top and bottom of the page, to retrieve the list of articles that cite the author's publications you selected.
     
  3. Use the "Analyze Results" feature to determine any trends in the citing set of articles; the "Analyze Results" link is located in the upper right of the results list.

    Analyze by:
    •  Author to see if a particular person repeatedly cites the publication.
    • Institution Name to see if a particular company/university repeatedly cites the publication.
    • Publication Year to see when the majority of citations occurred, if citations are evenly spread out, and/or if the publication is no longer being cited.
    • Source Title to see if citations are coming from a particular journal.
    • Subject Category to see which fields find this publication of interest.

If you would prefer a more visual representation of citation analysis, try the new citation mapping feature.

Be Aware: Citing publications that are from the conference proceedings module, are not part of the data in the citation analysis reports.

 

 

 


Create a Citation Map for a Publication

For those who prefer a more visual presentation of the data in the Analyze Report feature, a new citation mapping feature was introduced in July 2008 which will display a map of both forward and backward citation analysis for a single article.

  •  Click on the title of any publication within a results list
  •  On the full record screen, click on the “Citation Map” link (in the area of the screen between the citation and the abstract).  Use the options in the “Appearance” menu to change the screen display.

Be Aware:

  • Citation mapping requires the latest version of JAVA and pop-up blockers must be turned off.
  • Citation mapping, at least in the beta version, is only available for a specific article; citation mapping cannot be done for a set of results. 

Eliminate Self-Citations From a Citation Count

  1. If you have not already done so, follow steps 1-7 above; this will create a set of the citing references.
  2. Click on the "Search" link located at the top of the page, on the white navigation bar.
  3. In the first search box, put in the author's name with lastname, firstinitial* (Example: smith j*) and change the "in" box at the right from "Topic" to "Author"; then click on the "Search" button at the bottom.
  4. When the search results are displayed, click on the "Advanced Search" link on the white navigation bar.
  5. In the search box type: #A NOT #B (where "A" is the number of the search for the "cited author" - i.e., the answer set for step 7 above - and where "B" is the number of the search for the author - the answer set for step 12 above). Click on the "Search" button at the bottom.
  6. Scroll the resulting page down to the "Search History" section to see how many items are now in the new results set - this number will be the citation count minus the self-citations. To display these citing references, click on the citation count in the "Results" column on the left.

Get a Citation Analysis Report for an Author

The Citation Report feature displays bar charts for the number of items published each year and the number of citations each year, plus counts for the average number of citations per item, the number of citations per year per publication, average number of citations per year per publication, and the H-index.

Be Aware: The Citation Report only analyzes the correct citations to the author's journal articles from the journals covered in the Web of Science; variant-citations are not covered, nor can an analysis be done on an author's books, conference papers, patents, other non-journal documents or from journals not covered by the Web of Science.

  •  Access Web of Science (sign in for off campus use, if necessary)
  •  Use the "Search" feature to find all the articles by an author.
    Recommended search: Use the author name with first initial, then add "OR author's name with first and middle initials". Example: smith j  or smith jr
  • On the results page, click on the "Create Citation Report" link at the top upper right of the list.

Create a Citaton Analysis Report for a Department or Research Center

The Citation Report feature displays bar charts for the number of items published each year and the number of citations each year, plus counts for the average number of citations per item, the number of citations per year per publication, average number of citations per year per publication, and the H-index.

Be Aware: The Citation Report only analyzes the correct citations to the unit's journal articles published in the journals covered by the Web of Science; variant-citations are not covered, nor can an analysis be done on the unit's books, conference papers, patents, other non-journal documents or on articles from journals not covered by the Web of Science.

  •  Access Web of Science (sign in for off campus use, if necessary)
  •  Use the "Search" feature to find all the articles by members of the unit; this is generally difficult to do with just one single search statement.   

    Use any or all of the following methods to find the unit's journal articles: 
    • If there is a small set of articles you want to analyze, do a search for each article, searching by either the words in the title or a combination search for first author plus words in the title.   Use the Advanced Search feature to "OR" the sets together to get one combined set that includes all the articles.  Display the combined results set and click on the "Create Citation Report" link at the top upper right of the list.
    • Do an author search for each individual in the unit. Use the author name with first initial, then add "OR author's name with first and middle initials".     Example: smith j  or smith jr

      Use the Advanced Search feature to OR the individual authors sets together to get one combined set.   Display the combined results set and click on the "Create Citation Report" link at the top upper right of the list.
    • Do an address search for the unit.
      (Abbreviations used in the Address field are available online)

      Example:  For the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry you could search: Univ Michigan SAME Chem.   
      However, this turns out to be more problematic than this simple example would at first seem.
      • The abbreviations used in the Address field are not consistent.

        The standard Web of Science abbreviation for the University of Michigan in the address field is "Univ Michigan", however, if the journal article abbreviated "University of Michigan" differently, the abbreviation in the database may be the publisher's abbreviation (such as "UM") rather than the Web of Science's abbreviation.  Consequently, a search for "Univ Michigan" in the address field will NOT retrieve all the articles in the database from UM.    

        Should you try to compensate for this problem by searching "Univ Michigan OR UM" in the address field, you'll discover that you picked up unwanted articles from other UMs such as the University of Munich, Universite de Montpellier, University of Minnesota, and many others.   
      • Addresses do not always include the unit within the university.

        Some publishers do not include the department or research center name after "University of Michigan". If this were the case for an article it would not be included in the "Univ Michigan SAME Chem" results
        set even if the author(s) were from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  If you limit your address search to a specific unit within UM, you will almost always be missing articles in the results set. 
      • Some authors work for more than one institution/unit during their career and some are appointed to more than one unit at a time.  Whether the citation researcher finds this to be a PRO or a CON depends on if s/he is trying to find everything the author wrote or just what was written for a specific university/unit.
      • Units with similar names may be difficult to separate.

        The example "Univ Michigan SAME Chem" will not only pick up articles from both the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (current name) and the Department of Chemistry (earlier name), it will also pick up articles from the Department of Chemical Engineering.   

        Although it is easy to limit the search to just the Department of Chemical Engineering (Univ Michigan SAME Chem SAME Engn), the searcher who wants to find articles from just the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry while eliminating the articles from the Department of Chemical Engineering has a dilemma:
        • Searching "Univ Michigan SAME Chem SAME Biochem" will only find the most recent articles from this department as those articles designated with the previous name "Univ Michigan SAME Chem" would not be retrieved by this search.
        • Searching "Univ Michigan SAME Chem" would require a manual extraction of the unwanted chemical engineering articles.  (Basically, the searcher would have to create a set of the articles not wanted and then NOT that set from the original set.)
        • Searching "Univ Michigan SAME Chem NOT Engn" will eliminate all articles that were co-authored by someone from UM's  Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry with someone from an engineering department (either at UM or another university).  
        • Searching "Univ Michigan SAME Chem"   and  "Univ Michigan SAME Chem SAME Engn" separately, then NOT second set from the first would eliminate articles that were co-authored by someone from UM's  Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry with someone from UM's  Department of Chemical Engineering.
    • If you have multiple sets of answers, use the Advanced Search feature to "OR" the individual results sets together to get one combined set.  Once you have all the results in a single set of references, click on the "Create Citation Report" link at the top upper right of the list.
       

Determine the Most Highly Cited Papers for an Author

There are two methods for determining the most highly cited papers by an author: 

  •   Less Accurate but Easier & Quicker
    •  Access Web of Science (sign in for off campus use, if necessary)
    •  Use the "Search" feature to find all the articles by an author.
      Recommended search: Use the author name with first initial, then add "OR author's name with first and middle initials". Example: smith j  or smith jr
    •  On the results page, change the “Sort by” box to (upper right of the list) to “Times Cited”; the articles that then appear at the top of the list are the author’s most cited.
    • Be aware: Although easy to do, this method does not account for variant-citations and only includes the author’s articles from the journals covered by the Web of Science. 
  • More Accurate but Harder & Time-Consuming
    • Follow steps 1-5 above, finding all the correct citations and variant-citations for each of the author’s papers. 
    • Use whatever method you find most comfortable (paper, index/flash cards, word processor, spreadsheet, etc.) to keep track of the counts for each paper and when finished, sort the papers by the “times cited” count. 

Determine the Most Highly Cited Papers for a Journal

This method can only be used for journals covered by the Web of Science; variant citations are not included in the citation determination.

  • Access Web of Science (sign in for off campus use, if necessary)

  • Use the third box on the "Search" screen to find all the articles within a journal; use the journal’s full name. 

  •  On the results page, change the "Sort by" box (upper right of the list) to "Times Cited";  the articles that then appear at the top of the list are the journal's most cited.

Set Up a Citation Alert for a Journal Article

To be notified whenever an article of interest is cited, use the "Citation Alert" feature.   This feature is only available for articles that appeared in a journal covered by the Web of Science.

  • Access Web of Science (sign in for off campus use, if necessary)
  • Login to your personal account using the "Sign In" link at the top of the page.
    Citation Alerts require registration (free); to register, click on the "Sign In" link at the top of the page, in the left column, click on the "Register" link and follow instructions.
  • Use the "Search feature" to find the article. 
  •  On the results list, click on the item's title to display the full record.
  • In the right-hand column, click on the "Create Citation Alert" button. Alerts are automatically set for one year.
  • To remove an alert, click on the "My Citation Alerts" link at the top of the page; when your alerts are displayed, click on the "Modify Settings" button and mark which articles you wish to remove from your alerts.


Attribution

Much of the content of this guide is based on a guide created at University of Michigan Library and which can be viewed here. Thank you to the group that created that guide and allowed us to make use of the content for our own guide.

Searching Tips

 In general:

 

**To find the citation count, use the "Cited Reference" search so that variant forms of citation can be found; the citation count listed in the regular search portion of the database does not include the variant citation data and you may be undercounting by using this number. 

 

**If possible, avoid using all 3 fields in the "Cited Reference" search form as this may limit results to just the correct citation. Variant citations need to be found so that a more accurate assessment of citation can be made.

   The less put in the search form, the more likely variant-citations will be found.


**Use truncation liberally in the "Cited Reference" search form to capture mistakes/variants by citing authors.

Examples:

  • Einst*n, A*
    (in place of Einstein, A* as the cited author)
  • J*
    (in place of J Appl Phys or Journal of Applied Physics as the cited work)

 

**Secondary authors are not always traced in the "Cited Reference Search"; therefore, when doing a citation search for a publication, search by it's first author.

 

 

** If it takes more than one search to find all the publications for which you would like to Analyze Results or do a Citation Report, you can combine your individual result sets together to form one large set of results by using the “Advanced Search” feature ("OR" the set numbers together). Once everything is in the same results set, using the Analyze Results or Citation Reports features will be more accurate. 

   Example: #1 OR #2 OR #3 

 

 

For prolific authors or authors with common names:

 

**Use the author name with first initial, then add "OR plus the author's name with first and middle initials".

   Example: smith j or smith jr


   

 **Combine the author with a date or range of dates.  If using the "Cited Reference" search form, be sure to include likely typo errors in the date.

   Example: 1998 or 1993 or 1989

 

 **Combine the author with the Publication Name.  If using the "Cited Reference" search form, be sure to include likely variations such as abbreviations, acronyms and known misspellings in the cited work field. 

For example, if the cited work is Journal of Solid State Chem, put “ J Sol* OR Sol* OR JSSC”. This would retrieve Journal of Solid State Chemistry (the correct journal name), Solid State Chemistry (an incorrect journal name in which the “Journal of” was dropped – a common occurrence), and the acronym if this is in common usage.

 

 

 


See the tutorials tab on this guide for Web of Science tutorials.