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University of Utah Library Guides

Bibliometrics and Impact Factor: Web of Science

This guide explains how impact factor is used and calculated in journal and article rankings, as well as other methods of citation analysis.

Using Web of Science for Citation Searches

 

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 source and, along with Google Scholar, is the most interdisciplinary and most comprehensive citation resource available to University of Utah patrons. Web of Science extracts the citation information from the articles in over 10,000 journals (aka the "source journals") from almost every discipline.  

 

But ...

 

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

  • Only citations from their 10,000 source journals are counted.
  • Citations from books, dissertation & theses, patents and technical reports are not included in the database; therefore disciplines 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 used for the source of citation data go much farther back in time than the source journals in the arts, engineering, humanities, and social sciences.
  • Some subject areas are poorly covered including business and education.

 

The boxes below show how to use Web of Science to:

 

  • Find the Citation Count for a Publication
  • Determine What Journal Articles Have Cited a Publication
  • Create a Citation Map for a Journal Article
    A visualization of the connections between citing authors, their institutions and their field of study.
  • Eliminate Self-Citations from a Citation Count
  • Get a Citation Analysis Report for an Author
    Includes total citation count, h-index, plus charts of the citing authors, their institutions and their field of study.
  • Get a Citation Analysis Report for a Department or Research Center
  • Determine the Most Highly Cited Publications for an Author
  • Determine the Most Highly Cited Articles for a Journal
  • Set Up a Citation Alert for a Journal Article

Find the Citation Count for a Publication

Getting the highest citation count requires not only finding the number of times an article was accurately cited, but also the number of times the article was incompleted cited or cited incorrectly.  The incomplete and incorrect citations will hereafter be refered to as "variant citations".

Instructions: 

  1.  Access Web of Science from a library computer.or off campus after logging in in the upper right corner of the library webpage for off-campus access
     
  2.  Click on arrow next to basic search and choose "Cited Reference Search"

3. In the "Cited Author" box , type in the author's name as lastname firstinitial*


Example:  Smith J*


Be aware:
  • The best search is one in which you give the minimum amount of information – the more information you put in the search boxes, the less likely you’ll be able to find all the citing references. 
  • If the author’s name is prone to misspellings, also search for those specific misspellings. 
    Example:  Smith J* or Smyth J*
  • If the author is prolific, has a common name, or there is a known author with the same name, see the Searching Tips (in the right-hand column) for guidelines.
     
  • In the results list, look for citations of interest, scrolling through the list to find both the variant citations as well as the correct citation.
  •  

4. In the results list, look for citations of interest, scrolling through the list to find both the variant citations* as well as the correct citation.

Example: "J. Appl. Phys.  2002 91 5677" could be mis-cited as:

  • Appl Phys 2002 91 5677
  • J Appl Phys 2000 91 5677
  • J Appl Phys 2002 97 567

5. Add the numbers in the "Citing Articles" column from both the correct citation and the variant citations together to get the total citation count for the publication.

Be aware: The citation count will only include the number of times the publication was cited by articles covered within the Web of Science.  Web of Science does not count citations from every journal published around the world, nor does it count citations from books, dissertations/theses, patents, technical reports or other types of publications.

Determine What Journal Articles Have Cited a Publication

Once the citation count is determined, the "who is citing the publication" information can be displayed.

 Instructions:

5. Follow steps 1-4 above; mark 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).

6. 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.

Be Aware: The number of references in this results list may not match the citation count obtained in step 5 above.  The University of Utah subscribes only to the Web of Science module and not the conference proceedings module.  Citing conference proceedings are included in the Step 5 Citation Count but cannot be accessed by the University of Utah.  
 

7. 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 to see if a particular company/university repeatedly cite 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.

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 "who is citing this publication" information, a citation mapping feature is available which displays a map of both forward and backward citation analysis for a single article.

Instructions:

  • 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.
  • Pop-up blockers must be turned off.
  • Citation mapping is only available for a specific article; citation mapping cannot be done for a set of results. 

Eliminate Self-Citations From a Citation Count

Sometimes if an author cites him/herself; it's possible to eliminate those self-citations from the results set. 

Instructions:

8. If you have not already done so, follow steps 1-7 above; this will create a set of the citing references.

9. Click on the "Search" link located at the top of the page.

10. 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.

11.When the search results are displayed, click on the white box that says "Search within Citing Articles." .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; to find these set numbers, scroll the page down to the "Search History" section). After inputing the statement in the search box, click on the "Search" button under the box.

12. 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.


Note: If you plan on creating a citation report from a results set, it's not necessary to do this manual method of eliminating self-citations.  Once the citation report has been created, a link is provided to see the data without self citations counted.  

Get a Citation Analysis Report for an Author

The Citation Report feature displays:

  • Overall Total of the Times Cited
  • Average Citations Per Item
  • H-index
  • Bar chart for the number of items published each year
  • Bar chart for the number of citations each year
  • Total Citations for each article
  • Number of citations each year for each article

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.

Instructions:

  • Access Web of Science and connect to the database.
  • 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 Citation 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.

Instructions:

  •  Access Web of Science below and connect to the database.
  •  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 through the link below). 

      NOTE: Use the Advanced Search operator SAME when searching the Address field. This is a more precise search operator than AND for this field.

      Example:  For the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry you could search: University of Utah SAME Chem.
      However, this turns out to be more problematic than this simple example would at first seem.
      • The standard Web of Science abbreviation for University of Utah in the address field is "Univ Utah". NOTE: The abbreviations used in the Address field are not consistent for all institutions.
      • Addresses do not always include the unit within the university.

        Some publishers do not include the department or research center name after "Univ Utah". If this were the case for an article it would not be included in the "Univ Utah 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 the University of Utah, 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 Utah 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 Utah 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 Utah SAME Chem SAME Biochem" will only find the most recent articles from this department as those articles designated with the previous name "Univ Utah SAME Chem" would not be retrieved by this search.
        • Searching "Univ Utah 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 Utah SAME Chem NOT Engn" will eliminate all articles that were co-authored by someone from the University of Utah's  Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry with someone from an engineering department (either at the University of Utah or another university).  
        • Searching "Univ Utah SAME Chem" and "Univ Utah SAME Chem SAME Engn" separately, then NOT second set from the first would eliminate articles that were co-authored by someone from the University of Utah's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry with someone from Utah's Department of Chemical Engineering.
    • If you use more than one of the above search strategies, you'll end up with multiple sets of answers. To combine these sets into one large set, 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.  

  •   Quick and Easy but Less Accurate Method
    •  Access Web of Science and connect to the database.
    • 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 -- highest to lowest”; 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. 
  • Harder and Time-Consuming but More Accurate Method
    • 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 and connect to the database.

  • 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 -- highest to lowest"; 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.

Instructions:

  •  Access Web of Science and connect to the database.
  • Login to your personal account using the "Sign In" link at the top of the page.

    Note: 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 the instructions. It is best to create your account from on-campus.
  • 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, then click "Submit Changes"

Be Aware: Citation Alerts may include references from the Conference Proceedings section of Web of Science; the University of Utah does not subscribe to this section and therefore you will be unable to view these records.

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. 
For example: use
Einst*n, A* rather than Einstein, A* as the cited author; use  J* rather than  J Appl Phys or Journal of Applied Physics as the cited work.

Secondary authors are not always found in the "Cited Reference Search"; therefore, when doing a citation search for an item, 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 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:

Search both author name with first initial as well as author name with first and middle initials  -- use the OR operator in between. 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.

Web of Science - Useful Links

Marriott Library Eccles Library Quinney Law Library