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Scholarly Publishing

A guide to publishing, from the funding & research phases to final publication!

Who's Citing Me?

Citation databases such as ISI Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar calculate the number of times an article is cited in the literature! Citation metrics may vary, and are only one way to calculate the impact the article is having on your field. 

What is the h-index?

The h-index quantifies the number of articles published and weighs that against the the scientist's impact on the field. The h-index is based on the number of cited papers and the number of citations from other articles. Different mechanisms will provide different results (e.g. the difference in your impact factor when using ISI Web of Science vs. using Google to manually calculate). Your h-index should not include the number of self-citations. 

When going up for promotion and tenure, you may want to calculate your h-index from Web of Science and Google to provide a more precise measure of your impact on the field.

See Citation Analysis for instructions to calculate your own h-index!

Citation Analysis Sources

Comparing Citation Analysis Sources

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



Web of Science        

Google Scholar       

Subject Focus         

Science, Technology,
Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities

Medical, Scientific, Technical, Business, 
Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities

Composed of several citation indexes:

  • Science Citation Index Expanded — Over 8,500 major journals across 150 disciplines -  1900 to present
  • Social Sciences Citation Index – Over 3,000 journals across 55 social science disciplines -1900 to present
  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index – Over 1,700 arts and humanities journals  -  1975 to present
  • Book Citation Index - Over 50,000 editorially selected books with 10,000 new books added each year in the sciences, social sciences and arts & humanities - 2005 to present
  • Conference Proceedings -- 1990 to present
  • 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 Unknown
Time Span Some journal files going back to 1900; see above for more detail Theoretically, whatever is available on the Web
Updated Weekly Monthly on average
  • Deeper back-files especially for Science Journals
  • While controversial, its journal citation reports, impact factors, and h-index are most widely used.
  • More focused on U.S. research
  • Offers citation mapping for visual presentation
  • 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
  • Back-files are expensive
  • Limited search features
  • Inflated citation counts due to inclusion of non-scholarly sources such as promotional pages, table of contents pages, course readings lists etc.
  • 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 Web
  • May include non-scholarly citations like newspaper articles

Information on this page has been adapted from guides created at University of Ottawa Bibliotheque, University of Connecticut Library, and University of Michigan Library.