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Evaluating Scholarly Publications for Tenure and Promotion: How to find Citations to an Article

This guide will help you find evidence of the value of your publications to use in your FAR.

How do I Find Citations to a Journal Article?

More and more databases are tracking citations now. Check the database that you normally use to find articles for your research. If you have questions about whether a particular database includes citation counts, ask a librarian for help and we can help you determine if your favorite database has what you need.

Below are listed several databases that do include citation counts that you can use as examples. The first, the citation databases (science, social science, and humanities) are all included in the Web of Science and are a good starting point for all fields. Next come Google Scholar and SocIndex.

Web of Science

From the library's website (, click Databases A-Z, and search for "Web of Science."

Image of Databases A to Z link


Select Cited Reference Search, and follow the on-screen tips and examples to complete your search.

image of cited reference search


Fill out as many fields as you feel necessary to find the article you want to find citations to.

image of a cited reference search

From the list of results, you can see the number of times your article has been cited in the Web of Science, you can look at more information for a particular article, or you can choose several articles from the list.

image of a result from a cited reference search

If you click on View Record, you can see who has cited the article and create an alert that will send you an e-mail every time another citation to your articl is added to Web of Science.

Image of citations in web of science


Google Scholar

Google Scholar counts the number of times it finds citations to a particular article; however, there are some reasons to be cautious in using the Google Scholar citations. First, Google Scholar does not evaluate the publications it indexes in any way. Other indexes use some sort of criteria to determine what they index so there is some quality control within the index. Google scholar does have some criteria but they are not quality control type criteria. The number may not be an accurate reflection of the number of individual publications that cite your work either.

For instance, if an article cites your work and the citing article is written by 6 people. After a few months (assuming those 6 authors were researching using federal grants), the article can be put on their individual web pages so each of those 6 people put the article on their web page and the journal makes the article available in some way that Google finds it on the journal web site as well. Google Scholar will count 7 citations to your work even though only 1 article cited it.

With those caveats, Google will pick up citations that other indexes don't so it is a good index to use for citation counts if you are careful.

Go to

If you have a Google account, you can log into it and Google will make searching for your citations very easy.

Image of Google Scholar citation search

Fill out your profile.

Image of Google Scholar profile

Choose the articles you have written from the list that is discoverd for authors with your name. (This is an instance where you should be grateful if your parents gave you an unusual name.)

Image of author list from Google Scholar Cited Author profile

Once you have chosen yourself as an author and added the articles Google identified as yours, you will be able to follow those articles.

Search Google Scholar for a particular article

You can search Google Scholar for a particular article as well. In the search box type the title of the article (you can use quotation marks around the title to make Google search it as a phrase but this is often unnecessary).

image of a Google Scholar search

Find the article in the results list and the citations to it will be at the botom of the citation.

image of a Google Scholar search result

(Note that this is the same article as the example in the Web of Science instructions, WOS has 185 citations, Google lists 237. Once you have checked for unique citations, you can list both numbers.)

Articles Indexed in PubMed & NIH-funded Research

Relative Citation Ratio (RCR) and Field Citation Ratio (FCR) 
These metrics compare a given paper to others in the same research area or field. The papers need to be at least two years old. 
Dimensions database: Search this app to find RCR and FCR at

Examples: Results in Dimensions for two papers

1. A highly-cited paper in a journal with Impact factor of 5.76 

2. A paper with below-average ctiations in a journal with impact factor of 5.36

While the IFs are not very different, the publications' impacts are quite different!

Our thanks to Dr. Sen Subramanian for supplying these links and examples.

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