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Citing Sources: Citation Counts & Journal Impact Factor

Citation Counts and Impact Factors

Where information is published and who is citing it matters.

Citation counts and journal impact factors are readily available in many different databases and the process is relatively easy. Unfortunately there is no one database or citation count source that is exhaustive. In order to get the most accurate citation count of your work, it will be best to use the majority, if not all of the resources listed below, as coverage and content vary from database to database. Citations in journals are more readily covered and therefore easier to get more reliable counts.  Citation counts from monographs and other sources like reference materials are not as as readily available or reliable. 

Find Citation Counts of Articles

Interdisciplinary Index of scholarly literature with coverage starting from 1995.
Scopus covers primarily  journals and patents.  They are in the process of expanding there monograph collection. The do not index reference works, dissertations, or theses. Please read the Elsevier Content Overview for Scopus.
Web of Science is a interdisciplinary index and only cites works included in their databases. Please see the Web of Science Master Journal List

Note: Web of Science does not include: books, book Chapters, dissertations or theses, patents or technical reports.

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Altmetrics: Article-level metrics

Altmetrics capture ways in which articles are disseminated throughout in the expanding scholarly ecosystem, and reach beyond the scope of traditional trackers and filters. By monitoring and capturing the imprint of research from the moment of publication as it circulates throughout the community, altmetrics also measures the aggregate impact of the research enterprise itself.(From:

For example, altmetrics looks at

  • page views
  • downloads
  • times shared
  • times mentioned on social media
  • times saved to citation management tools
  • times cited in certain database​

Noteworthy altmetrics tools and services include:

Who Cited You in Books or Book Chapters

Finding Citations of Your Works in Books or Book Chapters

Finding out if you've been cited by an author of a book chapter or book is tricky. There is no database that thoroughly includes these sorts of citation metrics. Also, services like Scopus or Web of Science, if they do cove monographs, do not cover all types of books. For example, reference materials like dictionaries and encyclopedias are not covered. 

Fortunately, Google Books can be used to find out if you've been cited with a little diligence and work.

How to use Google Books

Though not intended to be used for citation counts, you can take advantage of the fact that Google Books searches the full-text of a book,  meaning that, if you search for your name as a keyword search, Google Books will scan the materials in its collection for your name, either as author, editor, or in the list of references. 

Google Books will identify those books in a results list and in each result and will highlight where your name appears in the document, whether in footnotes, a bibliography, or parenthetical citation. 


Since references can have many different formats, take the time to try different variations of your name. For example, searching the following will bring back very different results. 

  • Langan, K
  • Langan, KA
  • Langan Kathleen
  • Kathleen Langan

Unfortunately, Google Scholar does not have a "cite this" tool and does not include all of the publication information needed for a complete citation. Therefore, you will need to rely on a search in  WorldCat  to the complete citation. 

Journal Impact Factor

Journal Citation Reports by Web of Knowledge
Presents statistical data that provides an objective way to evaluate journals and their impact and influence in the global research community.
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The h-index, or Hirsch index, measures the impact of a particular scholar. 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. The h-index is included in Web of Science and Scopus


Proposed by Egghe in 2006 to overcome a bias against highly cited papers inherent in the h-index. The g-index is another author-level citation metric. It measures  the distribution of citations of an author's citations over time. 

Aggregate Cited Half Life: An indicator of the turnover rate for a body of work on a subject.

Cited Half-Life: "The cited half-life is the number of publication years from the current year which account for 50% of current citations received. This figure helps you evaluate the age of the majority of cited articles published in a journal. Each journal's cited half-life is shown in the Journal Rankings Window. Only those journals cited 100 times or more times have a cited half life." (Ladwig & Sommese, 2005)

Immediacy Index: The average number of times a journal article is cited in the year it is published. Can be useful for comparing journals on cutting edge research.

Journal Impact Factor: The journal impact factor measures the importance of a journal and "is a measure of the frequency with which the 'average article' in a journal has been cited in a particular year or period"

How Impact Factor is Calculated "The annual JCR impact factor is a ratio between citations and recent citable items published. Thus, the impact factor of a journal is calculated by dividing the number of current year citations to the source items published in that journal during the previous two years." (from an essay originally published in Current Contents June 20, 1994)

Journal Self-Citation: A self-citation is a reference to an article from the same journal. Self-citations can make up a significant portion of the citations a journal gives and receives each year.

Related Journals: Calculated using the number of citations from the selected journal title, total number of articles in the related journal and total number of citations from the citing journal. Uses the number of citations from one journal to another to determine a relationship.

Self-Citation: The practice of self-citation can be considered at many levels, including author self-citation, journal self-citation.

Unified Impact Factor: Useful when a journal title changes because the impact factor is generally affected for two years. You can view title changes by clicking on the Journal Title changes link on one of the following pages: Journal Search, Journal Summary List, or Marked Journal List.