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Citation Analysis Tools

This guide provides an overview of how to use citation analysis tools.


Citation analysis tools help identify the number of times an author, article, or element is cited to by other works. This information can measure the relative impact of an author or article, identify seminal works in a subject area, and help when conducting a preemption check.* This guide provides an overview of how to use citation analysis tools.

This guide discusses the following tools, listed in alphabetical order:

  • Google Scholar Citations - for multidisciplinary materials
  • Hein's ScholarCheck - for law reviews, law journals, and bar journals
  • Lexis Shepard's Citations - for legal materials
  • Web of Science Citation Reports - for multidisciplinary materials
  • Westlaw Citing References - for legal materials

And two additional sections with more information:

  • Journal Impact (overall)
    • Overview
    • Washington & Lee Law Journals: Submissions and Ranking
    • Journal Citation Reports
    • Scopus CiteScore Metrics
    • Google Scholar Top Publications
    • Scimago Journal & Country Rank
  • Additional Tools & Resources

Note on Screenshots

This guide makes use of screenshots of select databases. These screenshots may become out of date, as databases frequently update. Please note the process of navigating to and making use of these tools remains relatively stable. Screenshots will be updated periodically.

Overview of Citations Tools

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; in this ex. B, C and D cite to 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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