Skip to Main Content

Research Skills: Citation Analysis Tools

A step-by-step approach to ensure that you possess the key skills required to find, retrieve and evaluate information on your research topic.

Web of Science

WOS is equipped with Journal Citation Reports (JCR) , a citation analysis tool with analytical capabilities. It helps the researcher to determine the scholarly journal with the highest impact factor in a discipline, identify citation patterns, and discover emerging trends (Thomson Reuters, 2010:1).

Click on Analyse results to create a citation report of the journal. Ideally the analysis will allow the researcher to establish the citation counts of the journal article, as well as who has been cited, and which institution affiliations exist in the research discipline.

Useful Reading


Scopus allows for citation analyses with analytical capabilities. The citation analysis tool, Journal Analyzer, helps give insight into journal performance (Elsevier B.V., 2010:1). It can be located under the option for Analytics, and allows specified journals to be compared regarding total citations, the articles published and identified trends. The data can be displayed in chart or table formats.

Author impact (h-index)

The h-index (short for highly cited index) was developed in 2005 by Professor Hirsch to qualify the impact and quantity of an individual's research performance.

The index is a measure of the number of highly impactful papers a scientist has published. The larger the number of important papers, the higher the h-index, regardless of where the work was published.

The h-index can therefore be regarded as a measure of the number of publications published (productivity) as well as how often they are cited (impact).

The h-index may be less useful in some disciplines, particularly some areas of the humanities.

Article Impact

Impact Factor (IF) is the most commonly used measurement to determine the reputation of a journal in relation to other journals in a specific field.  The calculation of IF is based on the average number of times the articles of a journal is cited in a two or five year period.

SCimago Journal Rank (SJR) ranks journals included in the Scopus database.  It calculates not only the number of citations to articles in journals but also takes into account the 'quality' of the cited journal.

Source Normalised Impact per Paper (SNIP) also ranks journals included in the Scopus database.  The SNIP citation indicator is normalised according to the subject field. 

Eigenfactor journal metrics computes two principal scores - the Eigenfactor Score and the Article influence Score which take into account the quality of the citing journal, the number of articles in each issue and the different citation patterns in different disciplines