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Tracking Citations: Home

A guide to tracking citations using various sources

Why track citations?

Citation tracking looks at the number of times that a work has been cited in the bibliographies of other works. This gives an indication of how a paper has been received by the academic community with a high number of citations usually indicating a highly regarded work. Bearing in mind that occasionally a high number of citations indicates a well-known but controversial work which a number of authors have referred to.

Citation tracking can also involve looking at the connections between different authors and journals and at patterns in citation and publication over time. Different databases offer the opportunity to sort by number of citations, to investigate patterns, create graphs and maps to provide a visual depiction of these citation patterns, to search within citations and to examine journal rankings.

 Web of Science and Scopus are major databases for tracking citations.

This libguide focuses on tracking citations using Web of Science and Scopus. In addition an overview of Google Scholar and selected other databases is provided.

Citation Searching

This YouTube clip provides information how citation tracking (otherwise known as citation searching) works, how it can be useful to you and the three main citation tracking databases; Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar.

Access citation databases through the library

To access a specific database through the University of Melbourne Library select the 'A-Z Databases' link from the library homepage. You will be prompted to login and then will be taken to the search screen as below. Enter the database title in the search box or click directly on the first letter of the database name. See the example below for Web of Science.

A-Z Discovery search for Web of Science



Where can I go for help?

For further assistance with tracking citations you may wish to attend one of the classes that the University Library runs.

Each of the databases have their own internal help options that you can access.

For a listing of online database tutorials and guides, access the Getting started with online tutorials webpage.

Staff and Graduate researchers can also arrange an individual research consultation with Liaision Librarians.

What do the experts say on tracking citations?

There is lively debate among scholars about the value of measuring citations and journal impact factors. 

The following articles are just a sample of issues raised:

Metadata mega mess in Google Scholar - Jacso, 2010

Role of bibliometrics in scholarly communication - Horwood & Robertson, 2010

Comparisons of citations in Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar for articles published in general medical journals - Kulkarni, Aziz, Shams & Busse, 2009

Assessing the scholarly impact of information studies: A tale of two citation databases - Scopus and Web of Science - Meho & Sugimoto, 2009

Research paper citation record keeping: It is not for wimps - M.V. Dodson, 2008

Web citations: Tracking citation impact - Garner, Horwood & Sullivan, 2007

Scopus harnesses the h-index to increase the quality and reliability of citation tracking - Manafy, 2007