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Increase Your Scholarly Impact

A self-service guide to help you increase your scholarly impact, provided by the Libraries' Scholarly Impact Service (SIS).

Article Metrics Defined

Faculty frequently need to report two metrics related to articles for annual evaluation, promotion/tenure dossiers, and grant proposals:

  • the number of citations to an article, and
  • the author's h-index.

The h-index is calculated from the number of citations to the body of publications by one author over time. For example, an h-index of 10 means an author has 10 publications that have 10 citations or more.  The h-index may include citations to articles, books, and other publications depending on the discipline and the source of the h-index. For more information, see the J.E. Hirsch's article about the development of the index, which attempts to account for both productivity and citation impact.

Find the Number of Citations Per Article

You will need to consult multiple citation databases because no one resource includes all of your articles or counts all citations to them. Your choice of databases will be determined by your subject area because some databases have better coverage in certain disciplines than others, as noted below.

Google Scholar. This free citation database is the most inclusive tool regarding types of publications and subject areas. The easiest way to gather all of the citations to your publications in Google Scholar is to create My Profile (see a librarian's profile) starting from the home page, which has the added benefit of making your publications easier for other researchers to find as it comes up first in a search for your name. 

  • Subject coverage. Best coverage of humanities, and also strong in social sciences and STEM disciplines.
  • Publication types. Journal articles (both peer-reviewed and not), books, book chapters, conference proceedings, whitepapers, and more.
  • Limitations. 1) There is no guarantee that a citing publication is peer-reviewed - check this by looking at the citing publications; and 2) Google does not provide a list of journals and other publications from which it collects citations.
  • Videos/Resources. Google Scholar Profile Basics (5.52 mins), Harzing's Publish or Perish (PoP), PoP Tutorial: Finding out your publications, citations and h-index.

Web of Science. This subscription resource is considered the "gold standard" in citation databases and tracks citations from ~12,800 titles starting in 1995. The most thorough way to find the total citations for an article is to do a Cited Reference Search (see below), which additionally identifies incomplete/erroneous citations. 

  • Subject coverage. 65% Sciences, 23% Social Sciences, and 13% Arts and Humanities.
  • Publication types. Peer-reviewed journal articles and some technical/trade journals.
  • Limitations. 1) Weak coverage of humanities and social sciences; and 2) trade and practitioner journals are generally not included.
  • Videos/Resources. Cited Reference Search (3.24 mins) from Web of Science Training

Scopus. This subscription database from Elsevier tracks citations from about twice as many publications as Web of Science and is stronger in international and interdisciplinary titles. 

  • Subject coverage. 70% Sciences and 31% Social Sciences and Arts & Humanities combined. 
  • Publication types. Mainly peer-reviewed journals and books series, along with some conference proceedings and trade journals.
  • Limitations. 1) Weak coverage of humanities and social sciences; and 2) sparse coverage of technical/trade journals.
  • Videos/Resources. Scopus Author Profile (blog with screenshots), Scopus Author Feedback Wizard

ACM Digital LibraryIEEE XploreMathSciNet, SciFinder Scholar and other subject-specific databases. Most subject-specific databases that provide article citations are in the STEM disciplines. Ask Erin O'Toole, Science Librarian, whether databases in your subject area have this feature.

Journal websites. Many journal websites now provide a count of citations to an individual article. Examples are the ACM Journal on Emerging Technologies in Computing Systems, Adult Education Quarterly, and Frontiers of Architectural Research

Find Your H-Index

Multiple citation databases calculate the h-index for an author based on citations to articles, books, and more over a period of time. When selecting which h-index to use, consider which database covers the majority of your publications. Two things to remember about the h-indices from different databases:

  • they are not interchangeable because the base citation counts are from differing sets of citing publications to differing sets of cited publications, and
  • they are not cumulative because there is overlap between the citations counted in each database to one publication.

Google Scholar. This citation database calculates your h-indices based on all citations, the past 5 years of citations, and the number of publications with 10 or more citations (i10-index). Create My Profile (see a librarian's profile) starting from the home page in order to obtain your h-indices. 

  • Subject coverage. Best coverage of humanities, and also strong in social sciences and STEM disciplines.
  • Publication types. Journal articles (both peer-reviewed and not), books, book chapters, conference proceedings, whitepapers, and more.
  • Limitations. 1) There is no guarantee that a citing publication is peer-reviewed - check this by looking at the citing publications; and 2) Google does not provide a list of journals and other publications from which it collects citations.
  • Videos/Resources. Google Scholar Profile Basics (5.52 mins)

Web of Science. This subscription database calculates your h-index from the number of citations to your articles from the publications tracked by Web of Science from 1995 through the current year. 

  • Subject coverage. 65% Sciences, 23% Social Sciences, and 13% Arts and Humanities.
  • Publication types. Peer-reviewed journal articles and some technical/trade journals.
  • Limitations. 1) Weak coverage of humanities and social sciences; and 2) trade and practitioner journals are generally not included.
  • Videos/Resources.  Getting a Researcher's H-Index from Web of Science (1:35 mins)

Scopus. This subscription database from Elsevier calculates your h-index from the number of citations to your articles from the publications tracked by Scopus. 

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