This guide provides an overview of how to use citation analysis tools to measure the research impact of an author or an article, and is also useful for those conducting a preemption check. (If you are doing a preemption check, please also see the Preemption Check tab in the Writing Notes and Comments for Journal Members guide, which provides an overview of the various full-text and index databases you may wish to consult to ensure thoroughness.)
This guide includes the following sections:
This libguide makes use of screenshots of select databases. These screenshots may become out of date, as these databases are updated or change. However, navigating to and making use of these tools remains relatively stable. These screenshots will be updated periodically.
Citation analysis tools reveal the number of times an article or an author has been cited and identify the other articles/authors doing the citing. Using citation analysis tools is also a good way to ensure that your literature search has been comprehensive and that you have discovered the leading articles on a topic.
A citation analysis tool will identify articles that cite Article A.
It is important to note the scope of coverage in any given database, because a citation analysis tool will only identify citations in documents within the database. It seems obvious, but it's an important point - any database can only show citations in material in that database, and not every database has all the material that might cite to Article A. For example, the HeinOnline Law Journal Library contains over 3,000 law and law-related periodicals, most dating back to their dates of inception. So, Hein's ScholarCheck will only identify citations in articles published in those law-and law-related periodicals, and will not identify citations by articles from periodicals in other disciplines, such as non-law science or medical journals that are not included in the Hein library. This is why citation counts will vary from tool to tool, and you should check multiple citation tools when measuring research impact.
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