Choosing a tool

Introduction Top

There are three main tools used for analyses or author, article and journal impact measures: Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar. Each of these tools is a citation database where you can search and view the citations of articles and conference papers, and identify journals for publication. Databases vary in:

  • the journals indexed (sources)
  • the range in years of these sources (depth of coverage)
  • the citation analysis features available.

Scopus Top

Key facts about Scopus:

  • Coverage in life science, social science, physical sciences and health sciences.
  • Interdisciplinary coverage. Generally better coverage than Web of Science for the disciplines of Arts and Humanities, Business, Education, Engineering, Health, IT (conferences), Social Sciences, and Law.
  • Covers over 21,000 journal titles as well as content from books, conferences and patents.
  • Titles from all geographical regions are covered including non-English titles as long as they have an English abstract.
  • Scopus has been used as the source of citation data by the Australian and other governments in national research performance evaluations.
  • Updated daily.
  • Scopus can help you find article citation counts, the author h-index, Journal Impact Factors, and much more.

Activity - Use Scopus to find the following metrics Top

  • Article citation counts: do a title search using the article title, and to the right of the result, note the 'Cited by' count.
  • Author h-index: in the list of results, click on the author name to view the h-index and more. Alternatively, search on a specific author, select all relevant results, and select 'View Citation Overview'.
  • Journal measure: in the list of results, click on the title of the journal. Note the SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) alternatively, search on the Journal title.

Further help:

Web of Science Top

Key facts about Web of Science:

  • Coverage of literature in sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities.
  • 12,000 journals and some conference proceedings.
  • Interdisciplinary database, comprising the Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Social Science Index, and Science Citation Index Expanded.
  • Access to Current Chemical Reactions, Index Chemicus and Book Citation Indices Covers.
  • Some indices cover information dating back to 1898.
  • Updated Weekly.
  • Web of Science can help you find article citation counts, the author h-index, Journal quartile ranking, and much more.

Activity - Use Web of Science to find the following metrics Top

  • Article citation counts: do a title search using the article title, and to the right of the result, note the 'Times Cited'.
  • Author h-index: do an author search, ensure the results are relevant and pertain to the author of interest. On the upper right hand side of the screen look for the option Create Citation Reports, to view the author's h-index and more.
  • Journal quartile ranking: to find out the ranking for a journal listed in your results, click on the journal title to find the quartile information.

Further help:

Google Scholar Top

  • Google Scholar can help you find article citation counts.

Activity - Use Google Scholar to find the following metrics Top

  • Article citation counts: do a search using the article title, and below the relevant result, note the 'Cited by' count.

Google Scholar Citations Top

Google Scholar has a feature where authors can create a profile page that lists their publications and citation metrics.

A Google Scholar Citations profile allows you to keep track of citations to your outputs, increases the visibility of your work through making your profile public on Google Scholar and provides others with a mechanism to create alerts to follow your new articles and new citations to your work.

Searching for others in your field who may have a profile allows you to find potential collaborators, and research that may be of interest.

See an example Google Scholar Citations profile - note the times cited adjacent to the list of references, Follow - set up an alert to follow the author, list of metrics and collaborators and lastly the ability to search for other authors who have created a profile.

For more information see To get started with Google Scholar Citations.

Activity - citation metrics Top

Use the general instructions above, and refer back to the further help if necessary.

  1. Find and select an article by a researcher in your discipline who is well published.
  2. Choose a tool for impact analysis, from Web of Science, Scopus or Google Scholar.
  3. Find or generate a) the article citation count; b) the author h-index, and, c) the journal impact measure.
  • If your article or author is not listed in one impact analysis tool, try the next one.
  • Compare the metrics. Which tool gave the most positive numbers? Why do you think these results differed?

Summary Top

There are three main tools used for bibliometric and citation analyses: Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar. Take note of the advantages and limitations of each to your particular disciplinary and research requirements. In the next section we'll be looking at alternative measures and tools.