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Research Impact Metrics: Citation Analysis

Information on how to use library resources for citation analysis, including information about impact factors, journal rankings, altmetrics and how to find who has cited an article..

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Certain disciplines, journals, and document types may not be well represented in the more traditional sources for citation analysis, such as Web of Science.  In this situation, it becomes necessary to find alternative sources for locating citations to an author or published work. This page identifies potential alternative sources grouped by their database search interface since each of the sources within a group would have a common search strategy for extracting citation information. 

Click on any option below to go to the information for that source

ACM Digital Library

Database Description:

  • ACM Digital Library - covers computing literature from the Association of Computing Machinery and many other publishers.  Includes books, journal articles, conference proceedings, doctoral dissertations, master's theses, and technical reports.


  1. Use advanced search and choose author to find citation information on a specific person. 

    screen shot for author Karen Frenkel
  2. Click on the author's name in any of the search results and you will be taken to an author profile showing bibliometrics at the top of the list of this author's publications. 
  3. Any list of results can be sorted so that the most cited publication appears at the top of the list.
  4. ACM Digital Library also tracks the number of times an article has been downloaded. 

Astrophysics Data System Abstract Service

Astrophysics Data System Abstract Service - a digital library portal for researchers in astronomy and physics. It is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory under a NASA grant. When you run a search, entries that have been cited by others will list how many have cited this entry and will provide a link to those entries.

BioMed Central

Biomed Central - open access biomedical journals. Use the Advanced Search to search the References field. Articles are also marked in red as Highly Accessed if they are accessed more frequently than would be expected but there is no indication of what benchmarks are used to make this designation. On the home page there are also links for Most Viewed and Most Forwarded articles.

EBSCOhost Databases

Database Descriptions:

  • America: History and Life - covers articles, book chapters, and books on the history and culture of the United States and Canada. Cited references begin 11/28/2007.
  • CINAHLComplete covers journal articles in nursing and allied health.
  • Communication and Mass Media Complete - covers articles on communication and mass media. Cited references begin 6/9/2005.
  • Historical Abstracts - covers articles, book chapters, and books on the history of the world (excluding the U.S. and Canada) from 1450 to the present. Cited references begin 11/28/2007.
  • LGBT Life - covers social, legal, economic, political, cultural, historical, literary, & health concerns of the Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender community.
  • Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts (LISTA) - covers librarianship, classification, cataloging, bibliometrics, online information retrieval, information management and more.
  • PsycArticles - full text articles from 60 journals published by the American Psychological Association and other allied organizations.
  • PsycInfo - covers psychology articles, book chapters, and occasionally books. Cited references begin in 2001 but there are some as far back as 1926.


  1. Click on "Cited References" in the navigation bar across the top.
  2. Search for the author or article title to be cited.
  3. Check the box next to each relevant item in the results that has a "Times Cited in this Database" link.
  4. Click the "Find Citing Articles" button at the top of the results to see the articles that are citing the original source.

Espacenet's Worldwide Patent Database

Database Description:

  • Espacenet - a worldwide patent database developed and maintained by the European Patent Office containing patent information for over 80 countries and patenting agencies.  This is not a complete database of all the world's patents and while some of the patents databases are available in full text, others only have bibliographic information plus an abstract.


To see if a patent has been cited by other patents:

  1. Go to Espacenet
  2. Perform a search on words in the title or by publication , application or priority number, if known.
  3. Keep the database selection set to "Worldwide"
  4. On the results list, click on the title of the patent to display the bibliographic data screen
  5. On the left-hand menu of Bibliographic Data click on citing documents to view other documents which cited this patent. 

Full Text Journal Collections

Database Descriptions:

  • HighWire Press - hosts almost 1200 journals from over 140 scholarly publishers with emphasis on the life sciences.
  • JSTOR - covers past years of scholarly journals in all disciplines, cutting off at volumes published one to five years ago.
  • Project Muse - covers approximately 400 humanities and social sciences journals representing over 60 scholarly publishers.
  • SpringerLink - covers over 1900 full text scholarly journals published by Springer.
  • Wiley Online Library - covers 1400 full text scholarly journals published by Wiley-Blackwell.


These full-text journal collections do not provide a special search option for finding citing articles or show links to citing articles.  But since the full text of the articles also includes the references, it is possible to search for citations using basic keyword searching methods.

Be Aware: Each of these collections has a somewhat different search mechanism, so the directions given here have been written in general terms that then must be applied to the specific search entry requirements of a given collection. 

  1. Search the full text articles, including the references, for the author last name and the article title to be cited using the advanced search option if available.
  2. If necessary, enclose the title words in quotations to force searching as a phrase.
  3. Do not limit the search to the author or title fields.
  4. Take advantage of any search functions that allow you to limit to document type or other feature that would help exclude non-relevant material.
  5. Scan the results for citing references from other authors ignoring hits on the original article and self citations.

IEEE Xplore

Database Description

IEEE Xplore contains almost 2 million articles and papers from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineer's (IEEE) journals and conference proceedings.  The subject of "Electrical Engineering" is broadly defined here and articles may be found from all areas of engineering in which electronics may be applied.   IEEE Xplore's citation information only covers what other IEEE publications are citing each other. 


  1. Find the article of interest (search by author, title, etc.),
  2. Click on an individual title.
  3. Click on the "Cited By" tab, located above the abstract text

    screen shot showing cited by link
  4. Note the Citation Map link. This link displays a graphic representation of article citations (this article's bibliography) along with citing articles (those articles which included this article in their bibliography).
  5. Citations listed here are IEEE journal articles or conference papers that cite this item.
  6. Note: there are several search options to consider when using IEEE for citation analysis, including author search, publication search and, under Other search Options, Citation Search. 
  7. IEEE also collects how many times an article has been downloaded. This information is available by clicking on the Metrics tab, located to the right of the Cited By tab when viewing an individual record. 


inSPIRE - indexes the literature of particle and high-energy physics. Use the Advanced Search to search in the Reference field to find an author cited in other entries. Entries will also indicate how often an article has been cited in other entries and will provide a link to those entries.


Database Description:

  • MathSciNet indexes the mathematical literature and has a special search features called "Author Citations". "The Citation Database is based on the information contained in reference lists drawn from certain journals covered by MathSciNet. Reference lists in all of the journals covered in the Citation Database go back to a publication year of 2000. A smaller number of journals have reference lists in MathSciNet back to 1997."  


  • Click on the "Citations" tab at the top of the search box
  • Enter either the author's "lastname" or "lastname, firstinitial" in the search box
  • If more than one author matches the search, click on the scroll arrow in the box and select the appropriate author (you will only be able to select one author at a time from the list)
  • A list of the author's publications that have been cited will be displayed.
  • In the left column labeled "Citations", next to each publication, is the number of times the publication has been cited by other publications in the MathSciNet database.
  • To see what the citing publications are:
    • Click on the cited publication's title in the "Publications" column
    • On the record for the publication, near the upper right corner, will be a gray box with "From References" and "From Reviews" links
    • Click on these links to see the citing publications

PLOS Journals

PLOS is a platform of free, open access journals, primarily in science and medicine but the journal PLOS One is interdisciplinary. All articles show the metrics for the article including number of views, whether the article has been cited, whether the article has been bookmarked, and whether any blogs have discussed the article. In an Advanced Search you can search the References field to find articles that have cited a particular author.

screen shot showing metrics link and times saved and viewed

ProQuest Databases

Database Descriptions:

  • BioOne Abstracts and Indexes - covers biological, ecological, and environmental science journals. Cited references begin in 1998.
  • ProQuest Technology Collection - covers materials, engineering, aerospace, high-technology.
  • EconLit - covers economic development, history, macroeconomics, microeconomics. Cited references vary by journal title.
  • Social Services Abstracts - covers social work and human services articles. Cited references begin in 2004.
  • Sociological Abstracts - covers sociology articles. Cited references begin in 2002 for core journals and in 2004 for all others.


  1. Search for the author or article title to be cited.
  2. Look for items in the search results that have "Cited by [number]" at the bottom of the entry, after the "View Record" and "References" links, indicating they have been cited by other articles in the ProQuest databases.
  3. Click on the "Cited by" link to see the articles from the ProQuest databases within the same disciplinary group (Social Sciences, Engineering and Materials, Natural Sciences, or APA Psyc... databases) that are citing the original source.

PubMed Central

Database Description:

  • PubMed Central  (PMC) - is a free archive of bio-medical and life sciences journal literature from the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine. 


  1. Click on the word Advanced, below the PMC search box to go to the Advanced Search Options.
  2. In the pulldown menu under "Builder" select "Reference Author". 
  3. Click on Search.
  4. The results showing are those articles in the PubMed Central Collection in which the "Reference Author" was cited.
  5. The screen shot below shows a search for the referenced author "Himle J*" and the results show that this name appeared in 15 article bibliographies in PMC. 

screen shot of himle j* search


Sage Journals Online

Sage Journals Online - full text journals published by Sage, most going back to volume 1 issue 1 for the title. Covers communication studies, criminology, education, health sciences, management & organization studies, materials science, political science, psychology, sociology and urban studies & planning. Use the dropdown menu to change the search field to References.


Database Description:

  • ScienceDirect - covers scientific, medical, and technical articles and books.


  1. Search for an author or article title to be cited.
  2. Click on a desired item in the search results to view the full record.
  3. Choose the Get Cited option in the drop down menu.

SciFinder Scholar

Database Description:

  • SciFinder - covers chemistry and chemistry-related life sciences journal articles and books.


  1. Search for an author or article title to be cited.
  2. Select the relevant items from the search results.
  3. Click the "Get Related..." button at the top of the screen.
  4. Choose the "Get Citing" option to see articles from CAplus and MEDLINE citing the original sources.


AIP Scitation - search recent volumes of scholarly journals in physics and engineering published by the American Institute of Physics. Choose the Advanced Search. Use the dropdown menu to change the field to Cited Author.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Databases

Database Descriptions:

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has two patent databases:

  • Issued Patents contains the full text of patents granted from 1976 to the present and can be searched for citation information.
  • Published Applications contains the full text of published applications since March 15, 2001 and does NOT contain citation information. 

Directions for finding citation information in the Issued Patent database:

  1. To determine how many times a U.S. patent has been cited by another U.S. Patent:
    Using the Quick Search:
    • Enter the number of the patent (example: 6404950) in the first search box and change the field from "All Fields" to "Referenced By"

  2. To determine how many times a foreign patent has been cited by a U.S. Patent:
    Using the Quick Search:
    • Enter the foreign patent number in the first search box and change the field from "All Fields" to "Foreign References"
    • Be Aware: The way foreign patents are cited is not consistent - you'll need to search several variations including with and without the country code before the number and with variant spacing and punctuation --- be creative!

  3. To determine how many times a non-patent publication has been cited by a U.S. Patent:
    Using the Quick Search:
    • Enter in the first author's last name in the first search box and change the field from "All fields" to "Other References" 
    • If the author's last name is too common, return to the Quick Search interface and use the second search box to include a word/abbreviation from the journal title (or title of the book or conference); change from "All fields" to "Other References"  (Example: chemical or chem)