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Manage Your Research Identity and Track Your Impact

This guide describes how to build a researcher identity online through the use of unique IDs and social media profiles. It also describes online tools for tracking the impact of your research.

Document Impact

The academic impact of particular works, such as journal articles, conference proceedings, and books, can be measured by the number of times they are cited by other works. 

Limitations of document impact

Tracking the number of times an article has been cited can work well in some fields, but has many of the limitations of other metrics tools. The most important limitation is that the "times cited" count in any one tool only reflects cites from other articles known to that particular tool. For example, Web of Science can only tell you about citations from other documents indexed in Web of Science. The depth of a tool's "backfiles" -- that is, how far back in time the tool goes, will also affect metrics. 

As such, if you look up a particular document in more than one tool, you are likely to get different "times cited" counts for the same document. 

Particular strengths and limitations of common tools are noted below.

How to access document impact metrics

These databases offer an index of citations between publications and a mechanism to establish which documents cite which other documents. As such, they are the most robust tools to track article impact.

  • Web of Science: Use (Cited by) in the results list or the Cited Reference Search link in the pull-down menu in the Core Collection Basic Search.
    • Contains citations to and from approximately 20,000 sources. Mostly journals with limited books and conferences.
    • Citation data is stronger for science journals than for arts and social sciences, particularly for older documents.
    • Poor coverage of arts, humanities, and the social sciences.
  • Scopus: From a single record display, note the Cited by on the right. From a results screen, multiple records may be selected, then choose View Cited By above the citations.
    • Contains citations to and from approximately 23,000 journals and 150,000 books.
    • Coverage is more comprehensive for subjects such as sciences, engineering, and medicine; less so for social sciences and humanities.
  • Google Scholar: Use (Cited By) in the search results. For a particular scholar, cited by counts are also available via Google Scholar Profiles.
    • Contains a very large and wide range of scholarly materials including journal articles, conference papers, technical reports, theses, pre-prints, post-prints, abstracts, etc. Google Scholar also includes scholarly works included in Google Books.
    • Data quality is often poor and must be manually cleaned by individuals.
    • No transparent data on which sources are indexed and over what time period.

Further Reading