Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus

Citation metrics

Citation analysis is one indication of research quality. A range of tools are available to help you calculate the number of times your research has been cited by other researchers.

Citation metrics are not an exact science. Always use citation metrics in conjunction with other measures to assess the impact of your research.

  • What you need to know before you start
    • You can use several databases to find the number of citations a publication has received: choose the one with the most credibility in your field.
    • Only citations in publications indexed by a particular database will appear in the citation count. Each database can return considerably different citations counts for the same publication.
    • The format of an author’s name may vary: ensure you include all variations in your search, e.g. Smith, J. or Smith, John or Smith, J. J.
    • Some personal names are very common. Ensure you don’t include publications by a different author with the same name.
    • If your discipline area isn’t well covered by Web of Science or Scopus, try using Google Scholar. However, be aware that it is not considered a reliable source of citation data by most disciplines. If you’re applying for a grant with a major funder, use Web of Science or Scopus. Check the quality of the journal in Ulrichs web.

Search tool Research area Publication types included Coverage
Web of Science 
(Clarivate Analytics)
Sciences, technology, social sciences, arts and humanities Journals, conference proceedings and books The industry standard in many fields and the source of information for the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).
Scopus (Elsevier) Physical sciences, health sciences, life sciences, social sciences, business Journals and conference proceedings Overlaps with the Web of Science database, but also includes many journals not covered by Web of Science especially in business, accounting, management, and education. Scopus is the source of information for the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THE).
Google Scholar Multidisciplinary: better coverage of the arts and humanities than the other databases Journals, conference proceedings, books, PhD theses, preprints, reports and more Provides a simple way to search broadly for scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources. It includes much the same content as Web of Science and Scopus. It also lists university websites and institutional repositories.
  • Scopus

    To find an author’s total citations:

    1. Go to Scopus (login if you’re off campus).
    2. Click Authors.
    3. Include an affiliation if known (eg: Swinburne University of Technology).
    4. Enter the author’s last and first name and click Search.
    5. A list of possible authors will display. Tick the box next to the correct author name(s).
    6. Click View citation overview.

    To find an author’s h-index:

    1. Follow points 1 to 6 to see an author’s citation overview.
    2. The h-index will display in the top right-hand corner.

    To find a specific article’s citations:

    1. Click Documents.
    2. Enter the title of the individual publication.
    3. Click Search.
    4. Choose the correct reference from the results table and click the Cited by number.
    5. A list of articles that cite the selected publication will display
    6. You can arrange for Scopus to send you an email each time that publication is cited (registration required).
  • Google Scholar
    1. Go to Google Scholar
    2. Enter the title of the individual publication into the main search box
    3. When the citation appears, click the Cited by [number] link below the result to view the references that cite the publication.

    Make it easier to track your citations in Google Scholar:

    1. Create a Google account and an author profile
    2. Make your profile public so it will appear in the results when your name is searched.
    3. Select an update option: allow automatic profile updates or 
    4. Ask Google Scholar to alert you when it wishes to add a publication to your profile

    Note: If you select automatic updates, check the accuracy of your publication list regularly.

  • Other citation metrics

    Journal Impact Factor

    Journal impact factor is a metric used to indicate the quality of a journal based on the yearly average number of citations to recent articles (from the previous two years) published in that journal. The JIF is available in Journal Citation Reports (JCR). For more information, see Journal Citation Reports: learn the basics.

    Scimago Journal & Country Rank (SJR)

    Scimago journal & country rank (SJR) is a metric that calculates journal influence by looking at both the number of citations received by a journal and the importance of the journal where the citation was published. SJR uses data from Scopus and is also available in CiteScore.

    Source-Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP)

    Source-Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) is a metric that measures contextual citation impact by weighing citations based on the total number of citations in a subject field. SNIP uses data from Scopus and is available in CiteScore.


    A metric available in Scopus. CiteScore is the number of citations received by a journal in one year to documents published in the three previous years, divided by the number of documents indexed in Scopus published in those same three years. The CiteScore results table includes SJR and SNIP metrics and journal quartile rankings. For more information about CiteScore, see How metrics works – Scopus.


    Altmetrics (alternative metrics), is the name given to ‘non-traditional’ metrics such as tweets, mentions, comments, shares or links, saves, downloads, clicks or views.

    Examples include PlumX article-level metrics available in Scopus and article usage counts in Web of Science.


Contact your Liaison librarian for advice on metrics for your discipline.