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Citation Analysis: Web of Science (formerly ISI Citation Indexes)

Tools to measure how a particular researcher or journal is cited.

Generating a Citation Report in Web of Science

The Web of Science Core Collection databases (part of ISI Web of Science from Thomson Reuters) incorporates the citation indexes known in print as Science Citiation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Arts & Humanities Citation Index.  You can create a Citation Report for any author in this database that will include

  • a list of citing publications (both with and without self-citations),
  • the total number of citations,
  • the average number of citations per article, and
  • the researchers h-index. 

These metrics are based solely on articles in the journals indexed by Web of Science and do not include citations to books, chapters, patents, etc. More information about discovering and incorporating these ciations is given below.


Getting Started:  The Basic Citation Report

Begin by searching for your researcher's name on the Author line of the Search screen.  Search the Last Name and Initials, with no comma separating them. 

Jon R. Kirchhoff would be searched as KIRCHHOFF JR

If you are unsure if the author always published using their middle initials, you may want to search for their name both with and without middle initials:


Hyphenated names or names containing an apostrophe or a space should be searched both with and without the punctuation:

Amanda C. Bryant-Friedrich would be searched as BRYANT-FRIEDRICH A* OR BRYANTFRIEDRICH A*

On the results page, on the left side just above the results, click on Create Citation Report.  (You must wait for the entire page to load before this link will appear.)


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The Citation Report will be shown, sorted with the most-cited articles at the top. Graphs depict the number of articles published in recent years as well as recnet citations to any of the author's work.  The analysis to the right shows

  • the total number of cited articles analyzed ('Results Found'),
  • the total number of citations to those articles,
  • an average number of citations per item,
  • and the author's h-index.  

You may also view the list of citing articles, with or without the author's own articles included.  Note that the number of citing articles may be less than the sum of times cited, since some citing articles may cite more than one paper by your author.


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Note: You will need to go through this list and remove any articles that are not by your author, especially if they have a common name, or if you searched for their last name and first initial only, with no middle initials.  It helps to be familiar with the researcher's work and field of publication.  To remove articles that are not by your researcher, click on the icon of a circle with a dash in the middle to the left of the article.


Refinements: Finding fugitive citations

As mentioned above, only articles that are published in journals indexed by Web of Science will have their citations included in your Citation Report.  Articles published in other journals or other scholarly publications such as books, book chapters, reports, and patents will not be included.  Articles published before Web of Science coverage begins are not included, either.  To see how often these are cited, and to include these in the h-index for your researcher, you will need to find citation counts for these items in other ways.

To find citations to items not included in the Citation Report, you must click on the Cited Reference Search tab near the top of your screen.  Search for your author again, and you will be given a list of publications that they wrote. If the title information in the table is a blue link, the publication listed was already included in your Citation Report, but if there is no title or it is not linked, the publication is either:

  • A publication not indexed by Web of Science or published before the Web of Science dates of coverage (currently, 1980).  If the number of Citing Articles is greater than the h-index for your author, it should be added to your citation list, and it may increase the h-index by 1.
  • A publication that was cited incorrectly by the citing author.  If the number of these incorrect citations is added to the number of correct citations for the paper and the new total number of citing articles for that paper is greater than the h-index for the author, it should be added to your citation list, and it may increase the h-index by 1.


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If you are going to adjust the h-index with these additional citations, it will be useful to print off the portion of the Citation Report that lists the articles and total citation counts around the h number.   If the h-index is 27, for example, you will want to print the page with article 27 (sorted by citation count) and the surrounding articles.

These refinements for finding more citations and recalculating the h-index will be especially important for authors in fields that often publish outside of journals, such as the humanities, which are more likely to publish in books.



Additional Training Available for Citation Searching in Web of Science

Clarivate provides screencasts of short (<10 minutes) training sessions on various aspects of the Web of Science database.  A full listing is available on their website, but the following will be useful for citation metrics.

Other uses for Citation Reports

You can create a Citation Report for any results that you can search for in the basic search screen of Web of Science.  This means you can generate a report for:

  • An Academic Department (search in Address)
  • A Single Journal
  • A group of Authors
  • All authors who write on a particular topic

Such reports might allow you to compare the number of citations to your researcher's paper to the average citation rate in the journal, or compare a single researcher's h-index to the h-index for their department as a whole (or to the rest of the department, excluding the researcher him- or herself).