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Citation Tracking is a tool to discover how many times an article has been cited in others' works, mostly presented in citation indexes, indicating articles' influence within academic community. The indexes usually serve as an evaluation criteria to determine the importance of the work itself and also its corresponding author(s). The major tools for citation tracking are:

Scopus
Provided by Elsevier, is claimed to be the "largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature and quality web sources with smart tools to track, analyze and visualize research". It is a multi-discipline databases indexing 22,000+ peer-reviewed journals titles, 300 trade publications, article-in-press, 8.3m+ conference papers, 116,000+books and 600 book series. It allows cited reference mainly from 1996 onwards, but gradually extending the scope to cover those before that. Currently the data used for major university ranking agencies, e.g. QS or THES.

Limitations:

  • Count cited reference WITHIN SCOPUS only
  • Cannot add publications if not indexed in SCOPUS

Web of Science
Web of Science (WoS) provides 5 citation indexes for tracking citations to journal articles from high impact journals indexed in WoS. Users can perform cited reference searches, analyze trends and patterns, and create visual representations of citation relationship:

  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI): Lingnan has subscription from 2000-present
  • Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) : Lingnan has subscription from 2000-present
  • Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED)
  • Conference Proceedings Citation Index (CPCI) - Social Science & Humanities (CPCI-SSH) ; Science (CPCI-S)
  • Book Citation Index (BCI) - Social Science & Humanities (BCI-SSH) ; Science (BCI-S)

Limitations:

  • WoS indexed mainly high impact journals in English. For articles published in other foreign languages and with publication place outside North US, UK or Netherlands, may not be well-covered

Google Scholar
Offers citation counts for scholarly works from publishers, societies, repositories or colleges and universities, etc. The tracking covers not only those for journal articles, but also citations for books, book chapters or grey literature.

Limitations:

  • Wide scope of index but NOT particularly screen for quality and may include junk resources

Citation Tracking - Limitations

  • Citation patterns vary among subject disciplines. Articles from a top science journal might be cited multiple times in their first year of publication, whereas an article from a top humanities journal might be cited on average only once in its first year of publication.
  • Citation counts were initially based on the model of publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals. This is not the norm for many disciplines particularly in the arts, humanities and social sciences with more works published in books or conference papers.
  • Only a small proportion of published research is covered by sources like Scopus and WoS.
  • Bibliometrics can be manipulated through self-citing or citing colleagues.
  • NOT necessarily indicate the quality of the work, as both good or bad papers can be highly cited.

Tips for reading citations

No Single Tool Captures All Citation Counts!

Variances exists with different indexing criteria, scope, date coverage, etc., being adopted by different agencies. It is recommended to consult multiple sources to gain better understanding of citation counts of any given content.

Below an example of distribution of citations of a book in Bar-Ilan, J. (2010) Citations to the “Introduction to informetrics” indexed by WOS, Scopus and Google Scholar. Scientometrics, 82(3), p.504.