Library Services


Publication metrics

The number of times a particular article, book or other research output has been cited can be an indication of the impact of that output on others' work.

Find out how often a publication has been cited

The following sources allow you to search for a publication and to view a figure showing how often it has been cited by others. In each source, search for your target output to view a list of the papers that cited it:

  • Web of Science - look for 'Times cited' alongside each record & click the number to see the citing papers.
  • Scopus - look for the 'Cited by' number, on the right-hand end of each record
  • Google Scholar - look for 'Cited by', the first link on the left, underneath the record

You will find the figure is different depending on the source you use. Each source contains a different set of journals citation data and therefore draws upon a different list of citations. The figure is also likely to increase over time as more citations are received. For this reason, when quoting how many times an output has been cited, it is advisable to indicate the source(s) and date of the data.

These databases are most reliable for journal articles, and less comprehensive for books, book chapters, etc.

Understand citations in context

You can use InCites to compare the number of citations received by an individual paper against the average citation rates for a particular year and subject area. This can help put a citation count in context, giving a sense of how it compares to other similar papers. This is particularly valuable for papers published in different years, where the expected number of citations can vary heavily.

Detailed guidance is available for using InCites to get metrics for all papers by an individual author, within a UCL department, or in an institution as a whole.