Optimising your research impact

This guide provides a starting point to the tools and methods you can use to optimise your research impact.

What is citation analysis?

Citation metrics are based on the number of times a work is cited as a indicator of the quality of the work: the more citations, the greater the impact.

Citation data is available from the following citation databases.

Database Content and Coverage Help 
Web of Science

The Web of Science Citation Report provides aggregate citation statistics for a set of search results (such as an author search) and calculates the h-index.

Coverage:  Science Citation Index (1900-present),  Social Sciences Citation Index (1900-present), and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index (1975-present).




InCites is a web-based research evaluation tool based on citation data from Web of Science. The tool allows you to analyse institutional productivity and benchmark an individual’s output against peers worldwide. You can also use InCites to identify and analyse existing and potential research collaboration opportunities.



Essential Science Indicators

Draws on Web of Science data to enable analysis of papers against 'top', 'hot' and 'highly cited' indicators, field baselines, and citation thresholds.

Coverage 2004-present.


Provides Citation Overview , Article Metrics and h-Graph tools.

Coverage 1996-present. Scopus is in the process of updating pre-1996 cited references back to 1970.

SciVal SciVal is a subscription based research performance assessment tool which uses data from Scopus. It provides more advanced metrics than those available in Scopus only and also allows you to benchmark individual researchers, groups of researchers and institutions based on a variety of different metrics.


Metrics guide

Metrics cards

Google Scholar  Provides information about who is citing your publications and graphs of citations to your work over time Help

A citation database, a research analytics suite, and streamlined article discovery and access. Dimensions covers 128 million documents, including $1.2 trillion in funding, 86 million articles and books, and 34 million patents,  linked through 4 billion connections and contextualised with metrics and altmetrics. It does not use a curated index as seen with Scopus and WoS, instead it updates content continuously, but there is no listing of included or excluded content coverage.



Further discussion of citation analysis tools:

Harzing, A.-W., & Alakangas, S. (2016). Google Scholar, Scopus and the Web of Science: a longitudinal and cross-disciplinary comparison. Scientometrics, 106(2), 787-804. doi:10.1007/s11192-015-1798-9

Mongeon, P., & Paul-Hus, A. (2016). The journal coverage of Web of Science and Scopus: a comparative analysis. Scientometrics, 106(1), 213-228. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11192-015-1765-5

Waltman, L. (2016). A review of the literature on citation impact indicators. Journal of Informetrics, 10(2), 365-391. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.joi.2016.02.007

Konkiel, S. (2014). 4 reasons why Google Scholar isn’t as great as you think it is.  http://blog.impactstory.org/googe-scholar-profiles-fail/

Davis, P. M. (2012). Gaming Google Scholar citations, made simple and easy.  https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2012/12/12/gaming-google-scholar-citations-made-simple-and-easy/


Note that citation metrics are only as good as the citation data indexed in each resource. No citation database indexes all published works, and no citation database covers all subject areas equally. Please contact your Subject Librarian for advice about where to start, or using any of these tools.


The h-index

A popular form of citation analysis is the h-index. The h-index looks at the total number of papers you have published, and the number of citations these papers have received.

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Each discipline has it's own 'average' h-index. Please contact your Subject Librarian if you have any questions about the h-index, or citation metrics in general.

Publish or Perish

The freely available Publish or Perish software is an alternative way to work out individual citation metrics. It allows you to remove incorrectly attributed, non-scholarly, and self-citations from metric calculations, is used with Google Scholar citation data, and provides functionality to analyse both author and journal impact.

For a guide on how to use the Publish or Perish software, see this blog post by Patrick Dunleavy.