Graduate Student Resources

Author Impact

Using citation metrics to determine author impact can help scholars not only identify significant researchers in their field, but also provide one indicator of an author's perceived value - by demonstrating where and how their work has been cited.  Citation metrics have been applied for purposes of hiring, promotion, and enture.

Citation indexes can be used to:

  • Demonstrate how often an author's work has been cited.
  • Discover who is doing related work.
  • Track the published work of colleagues.
  • Explore the evolution of ideas through citation tracking.
  • Identify key authors in a field.
  • Build a research profile so others can find and follow your work.


  • All tools of citations metrics have limitations.  For best results, use multiple tools.
  • Citation metrics are a quantitative tool.  Citations do not necessarily indicate a positive review of an article.

Web of Science

  • The Web of Science can be used to gather and organize author information for the purpose of evaluating author impact.
    • Author Search is a guide to finding articles written by a specific author.
    • Cited Reference Search finds articles that cite the article being searched.  The results will consist of articles with later publication dates.  Cited Reference Search can
      • Tally the citation count for an article, paper, book, or work of art.
      • Find variant forms of a citation that might not be retrieved in a regular database search.
      • List the journal articles that cite the item.
      • Eliminate self-citations.
      • Create a Citation Map.
    • Citation Reports provide statistical information about an author's publishing output (indexed within Web of Science) and the citations the author's work has received.  It can be used to discern patterns, find an H-index, and get a  fuller picture of the publishing and citation history of an individual author.
    • Results Analysis allows you to rank the results of an Author Search by various fields in order to compare and discern patterns in an author's output.

Google Scholar

  • Google Scholar's "cited by' feature allows you to track more broadly who is citing you.  It is one of the few tools that allows scholars in the humanities to see who is citing their work, both books and articles.
  • Google Scholar Citations provides a way for authors to keep track of citations to their articles.  You can check who is citing your publications, graph citations over time, and compute several citation metrics.  You can also make your profile public, so that it may appear in Google Scholar results when people search for your name.  Take a look at Richard Feynman's profile.


The h-index is an index that attempts to measure both the productivity and citation impact of the published body of work of a scientist or scholar.  The index is based on the set of the scientists's most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received in other publications.

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.


The h-index as a way to measure scholarly impact and predict scholarly success.  Wired, September 12, 2012.


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