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Citation Trails

Citation trails are a way of gathering information about a topic by following a chain of articles that cite each other.

Tracking citations, or "following a citation trail," allows you to start with one publication and find research that refers to it. The number of times a publication is cited by other researchers is one indication of the influence of that publication.

  • find out how often, and by whom, a publication has been cited
  • find more publications relevant to a topic
  • learn the effect of an idea or an experiment on later research

Note that Google Scholar Citations lets you create a profile with your own publications and monitor your citations.

Note that Google's "Links" search can also be used, though it tends to find fewer results than Yahoo.

Where to Look

Web of Science Tutorial

  1. Web of Science, which includes the Social Sciences Citation Index, the Arts & Humanities Citation Index, and the Science Citation Index, is specifically designed to search for citations:

    Cited Reference Search

    • from the basic search screen, search for the item you wish to map
    • click on the title to access the full record
    • from the menu at the right, click on "citation map"
    • select the type of map (backward in time, forward in time or both) and click on "create"

    Citation Map

    • type in the author's name (always use an asterix after initials). You may also include an abbreviation for the publication and/or a date, but remember that "less is more": some citations contain inaccuracies, so by entering more terms in the search boxes, you may miss results
    • click on Search
    • check off the relevant publications from the Cited Reference Index
    • select Finish Search at the top or bottom of the screen
  2. SCImago Journal & Country Rank, a portal that includes the journals and country scientific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus database. Rank, analyze, compare, or visualize information by journal, subject area, or country. Rankings include SJR indicator (a measure of the journal's impact), H-index, and more.
  3. Google Scholar, which searches a selection of resources from academic publishers, universities and other sources, includes a "cited by" link for many items on its results list. Use Google Scholar in conjunction with Web of Science, in particular to identify reports, pre-prints, non-English publications and other information that may not be included elsewhere.
  4. Several databases, including PsycINFO, Social Services Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts, and Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, include "cited by" links for items published in the last few years. Keep in mind that very recent publications will not yet be cited.
  5. A number of databases and journal collections allow you to search the full text of publications, including their references. Search to see if your publication is listed as a reference. For more information, see Citation Rummaging (University of Toronto). Examples of full-text databases include:
  6. Use Yahoo to find out how many web sites are linking to a particular page or site. In the Yahoo search box, type "link:" before the URL of the page. Sample search: link:/

Page Owner: Mark Weiler

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Last Updated: September 18, 2023 4:42pm