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Advanced Information Research Skills

Choosing a tool

There are three main tools used for analyses or author, article and journal impact measures: Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar.  Each of these tools is a citation database where you can search and view the citations of articles and conference papers, and identify journals for publication. Databases vary in:

  • the journals indexed (sources)
  • the range in years of these sources (depth of coverage)
  • the citation analysis features available.

Key facts about Scopus: 

  • Coverage in life science, social science, physical sciences and health sciences.
  • Interdisciplinary coverage. Generally better coverage than Web of Science for the disciplines of Arts and Humanities, Business, Education, Engineering, Health, IT (conferences), Social Sciences, and Law.
  • Covers over 21,000 journal titles as well as content from books, conferences and patents.
  • Titles from all geographical regions are covered including non-English titles as long as they have an English abstract.
  • Scopus has been used as the source of citation data by the Australian and other governments in national research performance evaluations.
  • Updated daily.
  • Scopus can help you find article citation counts, the author h-index, and Journal Impact Factors.

Activity -  Use Scopus to find the following metrics  

  • Article citation counts: do a title search using the article title, and to the right of the result, note the 'Cited by' count.
  • Author h-index: in the list of results, click on the author name to view the h-index and more. Alternatively, search on a specific author, select all relevant results, and select 'View Citation Overview'. 
  • Journal measure: in the list of results, click on the title of the journal.  Note the SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) alternatively, search on the Journal title.

Further help

Key facts about Web of Science (not currently a NDA subscription):

  • Coverage of literature in sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities.
  • 12,000 journals and some conference proceedings.
  • Interdisciplinary database, comprising the Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Social Science Index, and Science Citation Index Expanded.
  • Access to Current Chemical Reactions, Index Chemicus and Book Citation Indices Covers.
  • Some indices cover information dating back to 1898.
  • Updated Weekly.
  • Web of Science can help you find article citation counts, the author h-index, Journal quartile ranking, and much more.

Google Scholar can help you find article citation counts.


Activity – Use Google Scholar to find the following metrics

Article citation counts: do a title search using the article title, and to the right of the result, note the 'Cited by' count.

Google Scholar has a feature where authors can create a profile page that lists their publications and citation metrics.

A Google Scholar Citations profile allows you to keep track of citations to your outputs, increases the visibility of your work through making your profile public on Google Scholar and provides others with a mechanism to create alerts to follow your new articles and new citations to your work.

Searching for others in your field who may have a profile allows you to find potential collaborators, and research that may be of interest.

Search for a researcher in Google Scholar, if a user profile exists you will see the feather and ink icon. Click the name to view their publications, see the number of times their work was cited, and view collaborators.

Activity - Citation metrics

Use the general instructions above, and refer back to the further help if necessary.

  1. Find and select an article by a researcher in your discipline who is well published.
  2. Choose a tool for impact analysis, from Web of Science, Scopus or Google Scholar.
  3. Find or generate a) the article citation count; b) the author h-index, and, c) the journal impact measure.

If your article or author is not listed in one impact analysis tool, try the next one.

Compare the metrics. Which tool gave the most positive numbers? Why do you think these results differed?