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Academic Publishing

An introduction to the adaptations in the academic publishing model, including open access publishing and archiving, authors rights, and tools and strategies for measuring the impact of research.

This page is designed to bring together library resources and services that would be useful to anyone doing citation analysis.

The field of bibliometrics is increasingly being used to evaluate the impact of a scholar's work or the importance of a journal in a particular field. The guidance provided here will steer you through the process of gathering this information.

It is important to remember that judging the quality of a publication, whether it is an entire journal or a particular journal article, is ultimately a subjective process. Results can vary depending on which criteria are used, how measurements are made, how much information is available, and so on. Some disciplines have more established rankings than others. Also the situation changes regularly as new resources are developed that try to provide this information. If you have questions about this process for your specific situation, please contact your subject specialist.

Citation analysis is the study of the impact and assumed quality of an article, an author, or an institution based on the number of times works and/or authors have been cited by others. Citation analysis is useful for a variety of reasons:

  1. To find out how much impact a particular article has had, by showing which other authors based some work upon it or cited it as an example within their own papers.
  2. To find out more about a field or topic, i.e., by reading the papers that cite a seminal work in that area.
  3. To determine how much impact a particular author has had by looking at his/her total number of citations.

The h-index, or Hirsch index, measures the impact of a particular scientist rather than a journal. "It is defined as the highest number of publications of a scientist that received h or more citations each while the other publications have not more than h citations each."1 For example, a scholar with an h-index of 5 had published 5 papers, each of which has been cited by others at least 5 times. See instructions below for finding the h-index using Web of ScienceScopus (ScienceDirect) and Publish or Perish (downloadable from

Note that an individual's h-index may be very different in different databases. This is because the databases index different journals and cover different years. For instance, Scopus only considers work from 1996 or later, while the Web of Science calculates an h-index using all years included in an institution's subscription. (So a Web of Science h-index might look different when searched through different institutions.)  

Schreiber, M. (2008a). An empirical investigation of the g-index for 26 physicists in comparison with the h-index, the A-index, and the R-index.  Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology59(9), 1513.

Web of Science Banner

The Web of Science database (composed of: Arts & Humanities Citation IndexSocial Sciences Citation IndexScience Citation Index Expanded, Conference Proceedings Citation Index, and Book Citation Index) is THE original citation research source and, along with Google Scholar, is the most interdisciplinary and most comprehensive citation resource available to the FSU community.  Web of Science extracts the citation information from the articles in over 12,000 journals from almost every discipline. 


A citation search in Web of Science is not a complete citation search:

  • Only citations from a set of 7,500+, primarily English-language, journals are counted.
  • Citation data from books, conference proceedings, dissertation & theses, patents and technical reports are not included in the database; therefore fields that publish heavily in the journal literature (such as the sciences) are better covered than those that don't (such as History). 
  • Subjects are not covered evenly by date; the science journals are covered much farther back in time than are the journals in the arts, engineering, humanities, and social sciences.
  • Some subject areas are poorly covered including business and education.
Web of Science offers recorded training to help users understand how to accomplish specific tasks.

Google logo

Google Scholar is a free search engine that indexes a variety of scholarly information, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts, and technical reports from a broad area of research.  If the article has been cited by others, a cited by link will be part of the record.  Clicking on that link will take you to the list of articles that cited the found item.  Google Scholar searching is generally faster than either Web of Science or Scopus.


  • Cited by links will only include articles that are indexed in Google Scholar.  Some material may be missing.
  • You will need to search variations in the author's name since there is no standardized format.
  • There may be duplication of results, so check carefully.
  • You may need to verify that a work is scholarly by checking Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.
  • Coverage is primarily medical, scientific, and technical.
  • Coverage is primarily English language.

For information about how to use Google Scholar, see Google Scholar's Help pages.

Google Scholar Citations

In November 2011, Google Scholar added a new option called Google Scholar Citations.  Authors can use this service to compute citation metrics and track them over time. To get started, go to Google Scholar Citations.  Create a profile, and then choose the articles or groups of articles you wish to track. You have the option of keeping your profile private.

Publish or Perish (PoP)

PoP is a downloadable software providing enhanced analysis of Google Scholar citation data.  For more information and access to the software, see Publish or Perish on the website.

Certain disciplines, journals, and document types may not be well represented in the more traditional sources for citation analysis, such as Web of Science. In this situation, it becomes necessary to find alternative sources for locating citations to an author or published work.  This section identifies some databases that provide bibliometric data from their interfaces.

Here is a quick summary of what to expect from the three best-known citation analysis tools:

Web of Science Scopus* (No FSU access) Google Scholar
Subject Focus        

Science, Technology,
Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities

Science, Technology, Medical, Engineering, Arts & Humanities Medical, Scientific, Technical, Business,
Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities

Composed of 5 citation indexes:

  • Science Citation Index Expanded — back to 1900
  • Social Sciences Citation Index – back to 1900
  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index – back to 1975
  • Conference Proceedings Citation Index -- back to 1990
  • Book Citation Index -- back to 2005
  • Life Sciences, 4,150 titles
  • Health Sciences, 6,400 titles (including 100% coverage of Medline titles)
  • Physical Sciences, 6,900 titles
  • Social Sciences, 6,800 titles, including 4,000 Arts & Humanities, titles, the majority of which go back to 2002
  • Selections from PubMed, IEEE, American Institute of Physics, proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,, American Medical Association and other medicine journals, Ingenta, SpringerLink, Wiley Interscience, Cambridge journals, Taylor and Francis, Sage Publications, Blackwell-Synergy, OCLC First Search, and others
  • Open access journals and pre-prints
  • Online dissertations and theses
Coverage Over 12,000 journals 19,400 active journals Unknown
Time Span Some journal files going back to 1900; see above for more detail

49 million records, of which

  • 28 million records include references going back to 1996 (78% include references)
  • 21 million pre-1996 records go back as far as 1823
Theoretically, whatever is available on the Internet
Updated Weekly 1-2 Times a week Monthly on average
  • Deeper back-files especially for Science Journals
  • While controversial, its journal citation reports, impact factors, and h-index are the most widely used
  • More focused on U.S. research
  • Offers citation mapping for visual presentation
  • User friendly search interface
  • Broader coverage of journals (19, 400 versus 12,000 in WOS)
  • Downloadable reference list
  • More internationally focused than WOS
  • Includes 1,900 Open Access journals
  • Improved Arts & Humanities coverage
  • Provides a more comprehensive picture of scholarly impact as it indexes non-traditional sources not covered by WOS and Scopus
  • Includes peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts, and articles from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities, and other scholarly organizations
  • Better coverage of newer materials than both WOS and Scopus
  • International and multi-lingual coverage
  • Can lead to low citation counts due to errors in citations provided by authors and different citation styles used by journals, leading to poor indexing (see this Web of Science Cited Reference Search tutorial for some workarounds)
  • Back-files are expensive
  • Citation tracking is limited to the relatively narrow time span of 1996+
  • Not very strong in Social Sciences 
  • Limited search features
  • Inflated citation counts due to inclusion of non-scholarly sources such as newspaper articles, promotional pages, table of contents pages, and course readings lists
  • Weeding irrelevant hits is time consuming
  • Difficult to export citations
  • No way to determine what sources and time spans are covered
  • Limited to what is available on the Internet

Information on this page has been adapted from guides created at University of Ottawa BibliothequeUniversity of Connecticut Library, and updated using the Thomson Reuters Web of Science Fact Sheet, Scopus Content Overview, and Scopus Content Coverage Guide (January 2013).

Tutorials for Citation Research:

Tutorials for Creating Email Alerts:

List of Titles Covered:

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