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Assessing the Impact of Research: Databases with Cited Search Options

This guide will help you understand how to assess the impact of scholarly research, including explanations of terminology and assessment tools.


The Web of Science database (composed of: Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Science Citation Index Expanded) is the original citation research source and is the most interdisciplinary and most comprehensive citation resource availableWeb of Science extracts the citation information from the articles in over 10,000 journals.  

Citation Mapping

Creating Citation Alerts

What does WOS search?

A citation search in the Web of Science is not a complete citation search:

  • Only citations from their 10,000 source journals are counted.

  • Citations from books, dissertation & theses, patents and technical reports are not included in the database; therefore disciplines that publish heavily in the journal literature (such as the Sciences) are better covered than those that don't (such as History).

  • Subjects are not covered evenly by date; the science journals used for the source of citation data go much farther back in time than the source journals in the arts, engineering, humanities, and social sciences.

  • Some subject areas are poorly covered including business and education.

First vs. Secondary Authors

WoS enters citations as they appear in the article, so if a citing author incorrectly cites a source article, it will show up in WoS as a Variant.

Variants will only show when the first author is searched.

Because of this, you may miss several cites if you go only by the Cited By number on the WoS article record, or if you search on yourself, rather than the first author of the article.

To be most comprehensive, use your CV as a guide when searching.