Three Tools for Tracking Who Has Cited an Article

Graphic representation of scholarly network of citations

Once a paper is published in a peer-reviewed journal, it is important to see who cites that paper in subsequent research. This is one indication of the reach of a paper.

Three databases can help you do this: Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science. The most comprehensive citation tracking would involve searching all three of these databases separately -- they overlap to a good extent, but all have unique content. Below are some examples of how Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science display this information.

Google Scholar:

Google Scholar search results display how many authors have cited each article

You search Scholar just like regular Google, by entering phrases in a search box. In Scholar, the results include an indication of how many people have cited an article, with the phrase "Cited by." Sometimes the citation counts in Scholar are inflated, because it searches the open Web rather than a carefully structured database. But it's the easiest place to search for information about who has cited a paper.



Scopus search results with Cited By column

Available on a trial basis at UCSF through December 2010, Scopus is particularly strong in identifying papers published at academic institutions. It is also good at tracking who has cited paper. This information appears automatically as the result of a search request, in the "Cited By" column at the far right of the results page.

Web of Science:

Web of Science search results with number of Times Cited

Web of Science was the first database to provide times cited information, and for many years it was the only one. Within Web of Science, you search the "Cited Reference Search" section for citation information. Search specific journals (using abbreviations established by Web of Science), authors, or years. In Google Scholar or Scopus, the default is a search by topic.

The results appear in the "Citing Articles" column, and to see these articles you select them in the left-hand column.

Please let us know if you have any questions, and happy searching.

Main image used with permission of M.A. Janssen. The figure is part of initial results later published as Janssen, M.A., M.L. Schoon, W. Ke, K. Börner (2006) Scholarly networks on resilience, vulnerability and adaptation within the human dimensions of global environmental change, Global Environmental Change 16(3): 240-252.

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