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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..


image of the word Scopus


Scopus is considered by many to be the primary competitor to the Web of Science database for citation analysis and journal ranking statistics.

The Scopus web site claims this database is the "largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature and quality web sources with smart tools to track, analyze and visualize research." It is more international in coverage than Web of Science and the Scopus interface is simple and intuitive to use.



Find the Citation Count for a Publication


  1. Access Scopus (sign in for off-campus use, if necessary)
  2. Using the drop-down menu on the basic search option, select "Source Title" then enter the title of the journal and click the search button.

 source title screen shot

  1. If necessary,  refine your results in order to include only the journal you want. To do this select the box next to that title and click the "limit to" button.

    narrow source title to "disability and society" journal
  2. Scroll down to the list of results and check the box "select all" then click the "view cited by" link,  to the right of this check box.

    check box under "select all"
  3. The resulting list of articles are all of those which cited something in the particular journal title you searched.



Be aware: The citation count will only include the number of times the publication was cited by articles from the journals that Scopus covers.  Scopus does not count citations from every journal published around the world, nor does this method count all citations from books, conference proceedings, dissertations/theses, patents, technical reports or other types of publications.

Find the Correct Author in Scopus


Author Search

  1.  Access Scopus (sign in for off campus use, if necessary)
  2.  Select the Author Search tab and enter the author name and affiliation click the search button. If you know an author's ORCID identifier you can enter it in the appropriate search box to find that author.

  3. Select one or more of the authors on the search results page by checking the box next to the name then click the View citation overview link at the top of the list to see a Citation Overview report. This report provides the author's h-index along with a graph, showing the number of times the author has been cited each year. There is a check box to exclude self citations for this author or for all authors. A chart also provides the total number of times the author has been cited by others and shows figures for each article by year. 

Be Aware: Look at the subject area and affiliation for each author listed. Multiple listings may in fact be referencing the same person.

screen shot of citation overview page


Finding an Author Profile


For a quick report on a specific author which contains detailed information including then number of documents by this author in Scopus, number of times the author is cited within Scopus, co-authors, subject areas, h-index and other tools to analyze this author click on the author's name. 


You can also access these same details on an author anywhere an author's name is listed within Scopus. Click on an author's name from a list of search results or from an individual title and abstract record. 


screen shot of author listed in search results

abstract - showing author links


Analyze Search Results by Author Name

In Scopus you can analyze any set of search results to find useful information about journals, authors over time. This option provides charts and graphs so you can quickly see the journal titles where an author published the journals which have published the most articles from your search results. 

  • Analyze an author's output in Scopus. 
    • In which journals has this author published?
    • In what years?
    • What types of documents; book chapters, editorials, research articles, etc.?
    • What are the primary subject areas for a specific author?
  1. Search by author name
  2. Select the author's name and click the Show documents link

    show documents link image
  3. Select all documents then click on the Analyze search results link

    Analyze search results location image
  4. Use the various tabs to see analyzes of where and when this author published, which types of articles or documents were published and in which subject areas. 

Analyze a Journal

Analyze a journal in Scopus

  • Find out which authors have published the most articles in a specific journal
  • These authors' affiliations and countries
  • Types of documents/articles published in a chosen journal
  • Primary subject areas covered in a chosen journal
  1. Enter the journal title, select Source title from the dropdown menu and click the search button. 

    search example for plos one
  2. Check the box to select all the results and then click on Analyze search results.
  3. Use the tabs to find out the number of articles published by this journal by year, most prolific authors in this journal, their affiliation and countries and the subject areas covered by this journal. Below is an example showing the authors who published in the journal Plos One since it was first established in 2006 and April, 2016.

    authors screen shot

Analyze Any List of Results

You may find interesting information about the history of terminology in a subject area by analyzing your results in Scopus. The example search below gives you some idea on when the abbreviation AYA started being used in medicine to identify the specific population group Adolescents and Young Adults in cancer research related to oncology. 

  1. Perform a document search in Scopus to find the terms AYA and oncology in the in a title, abstract or keyword. 

    search box image
  2. Select all the documents from this search and click the link to Analyze results.
  3. The results show that the terms AYA and oncology were rarely used in Scopus documents until 2007. There has been a marked increase in the use of these terms in more recent years. 

    chart and graph search results



Eliminate Self-Citations From a Citation Count


See the instructions for 

  1. Select the "Author Search" tab on the Scopus search page.
  2. Enter the last name of an author and the first initial for the broadest search.
  3. Select one or more names from the list of results, based on affiliation, subject area and location.
  4. Click on the "View Citation Overview" button at the top of the list of results.
  5. You will be taken to the Citation Overview page for this/these authors.
  6. In the "Overview Options" box at the top of this page choose to exclude "self citations from selected authors" by checking the appropriate box.
  7. Click the "Update Overview" button to remove these self-citations.

Create a Citation Analysis Report for a Department or Research Center


For approximate* results for analyzing research output of a specific department or school within an institution use Advanced search in  Scopus.

  1. From the default search form, select the Advanced search tab
  2. From the list of advanced search codes double-click on the code AFFILORG, which stands for Affiliation Organization. Double-clicking the term will add it to the advanced search box. 
  3. In the parentheses following this code in the search box enter the name of the university or institution and combine it with w/5 followed by department or school key words

Example searches:

  • AFFILORG ("University of Michigan" w/5 "psychology")
  • AFFILORG ("University of Michigan" w/5 "school of social work")
  • AFFILORG ("University of Michigan" w/5 neurosurgery) 


NOTE: Connecting terms with w/5 means simply means you are searching for these phrases or key words within 5 words of each other in this field. This method can be used to refine any search in Scopus and the number can range from 0 to 255. 

Once you have a list of results using this search you can select the entire list and analyze search results and view citation overview reports get information on publications written by your specific school, department or institution. 



* For a more thorough method of evaluating scholarly output by school or department perform author searches for each individual within a department or school and then combine these searches using search history and the connector OR, under advanced search.  It is also important to note that Scopus does not have complete citation information for articles published before 1996.


Determine What Journal Articles Have Cited a Publication


This section will explain how to find the number of times a particular article has been cited within the Scopus database.

  1. For any title in a list of search results, scroll over the number at the far right of the document record. You will see that this number is the times others have cited this article. 
  2. Clicking on this link will give you a complete list of the articles which have cited that particular article. 

    screen shot of link to number of times cited
  3. The number of times an article has been cited by others is a form of measuring the value of that article. 

Find an Author's Most Highly Cited Paper

  1. Access Scopus
  2. Follow the instructions above for Author Search.
  3. Click on the appropriate authors name to view all articles written by this person.
  4. The list of documents associated with an author is sorted by date, with the most recently published document at the top of the list. To change this sort option so that you can quickly see the articles cited the most by others click on the  "cited by" link at the top, right of the list of results. This will re-sort the results so that the most cited article is at the top of the list. 

screen shot of cited by link

Find the Most Highly Cited Papers in a Journal

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

  1. Access Scopus (sign in for off campus use, if necessary)
  2. Use the default search option "document search" but select  "Source Title" from the dropdown menu, enter the full journal title and click the search button.
  3. To make sure your list of results only includes the specific journal title you want, open the Source Title filter to the left of the list of search results. Select the title you want and then click the "limit to" button, if necessary. 

    image of example title, social work

  4.  On the results page, click on the column header "Cited by" at the far right to sort the resulting articles by times cited. The article which has been cited the most times will appear at the top of the list of results.


Set Up a Citation Alert for a Journal Article


  1. Access Scopus (sign in for off campus use, if necessary)
  2. Use the "Document Search" or "Author Search to find a specific article. 
  3. Click on the title of the document for which you want to receive notification when it is cited. 
  4. In the Cited by box at the right, click on the "E-mail Alert" link.
  5. You will be asked for a username and password.

    screen shot of set citation alert

    You can create your own user name and password by clicking the "not registered" link. You can also use your University of Michigan unique name and password by selecting "more login options", clicking "Other Institution login" and following the directions to look up your intuition. 
  6. To edit or remove an alert, click on the "My Alerts" button at the top of the page, just under the Scopus header; when your alerts are displayed, click the "Edit" link to edit the alert or select the alert and click the "Delete" button a specific alert from your list. Alerts are automatically set for one year.