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Information for Faculty Authors: Author Metrics

Caveat emptor

In this guide we give you tools that let you:

  • count articles that cite your articles,
  • create an h-index,
  • manage your research identity.

The numbers that are generated are not absolutes. They should be used in conjunction with other qualitative measures.

What is Citation Tracking?

Citation tracking, or citation analysis is an important tool used to trace scholarly research, measure impact, and inform tenure and funding decisions. The impact of an article is evaluated by counting the number of times other authors cite it in their work. Researchers do citation analysis for several reason:

  • find out how much impact a particular article has had, by showing which other authors have cited the article in their own paper
  • find out how much impact a particular author has had by looking at the frequency and number of his/her total citations
  • discover more about the development of a field or topic (by reading the papers that cite a seminal work in that area)

The output from citation studies is often the only way that non-specialists in governments and funding agencies, or even those indifferent scientific disciplines, can judge the importance of a piece of scientific research.

Who Cited My Article?

It used to be that only the ISI Citation Indexes would list citing articles. That has changed, thanks to the linking abilites of the Web. Many databases will tell you that article X has been cited N times by articles in its database. Be aware that this number is based only on the articles indexed by that database; there may be other journals that cite your article that aren't listed in that database. So always check more than one database

Consider the list below a starting place. Check to see if your favorite database offers this feature.

Citation Search Tips

Each citation source produces slightly different results depending on the content and coverage of the source. This underscores the importance of using multiple citatoin sources to judge the true impact of an author's work. The search strategy should be broad and inclusive enough to accomodate the following pitfalls.

  • Search results vary by database used.
  • Search all permutations of the cited author's name: last name; last name, first and middle initials; last name and first initial.
  • If someone is second or third author, search by the lead authors to locate the cited reference.
  • Author names and titles in foreign languages and non-Roman script may require extra effort to determine their transcription or transliteraton in each database.

h index

The h-index was developed in 2005 by Jorge Hirsch, a physicist at the University of California in San Diego. Hirsch's paper was published in PNAS.

In that paper he states "A scientist has index h if h of his/her Np papers have at least h citations each, and the other (Np − h) papers have no more than h citations each."

There is some disagreement about the validity of the h-index.

Databases with h-index

You can calculate the h-index yourself, or let this database do it for you. Remember that it only gathers information from the journals they index.

Thanks

Much appreciation is due to Robin Sinn at Johns Hopkins University for most of the content of this guide.