Communicating the Impact of Your Research through Citation Tracking

Web of ScienceIn my last post we looked at Journal Citation Reports as a way of evaluating potential homes for publishing your research.  In this post, I will tell you a little bit about using the Web of Science database to track who is citing your published work.  This is one measure that can be used to articulate your sphere of influence and the impact of your research within your discipline. Not only can you use this information when you are putting together your tenure dossier, but it is a great way to see how your work fits within the broader conversations taking place in your area of research and may lead to new avenues for exploration.

How to Use Web of Science

Within Web of Science, you will want to perform a “Cited Reference Search.”  This allows you to search for your publications and see how often they are cited by others. I recommend beginning with an “Author” search since you will be searching for you own works and then proceeding from there. If you have a common name, it can save time to decrease the timespan of the search and only search within your broad area (Science, Social Sciences or Arts & Humanities). The database has an excellent help section so I won’t repeat the steps here, but know that you can always contact the reference desk if you ever need help using one of our resources.

While you are exploring the database, I encourage you to spend some time playing with the many tools available within it. The database allows you to analyze results, create citation reports, and to create citation maps for those who prefer visual displays of information.

Benefits of Creating an Account with Web of Science

If you’ve experienced the process of a cited reference search, you’ll know it can be a tedious process. In this instance, it’s wise to follow the old adage: “Work smarter, not harder.”  Using the “My Citation Alerts” feature enables you to do just that. To use this feature, you must create an account within Web of Science (NOTE: this is not the same as your 4+4 and password). Once you have an account you can establish alerts for individual articles and receive an email whenever it is cited in a work indexed by the database.  This way you don’t have to return to Web of Science regularly to search for your works and see if they’ve been cited again. You can also save searches and create journal lists with an account.

In my next post, I’ll discuss how to use Google Scholar’s citation tool to track citations to your work.

Jeremy Hessman