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Research impact guide: Citation counts

Citation counts

Citation counts can be gathered for:

  • an individual article (how often it was cited);
  • an author (total citations, or average citation count per article);
  • a journal (average citation count for the articles in the journal).

The three main tools to generate a citation count include:


You can create a profile with each of these tools to save you time when locating your citation counts.

This citation overview from Scopus is for Albert Einstein:

Issues to be aware of

Citation counts are not perfect and are influenced by a number of factors:

  • review articles (which survey a broad field of knowledge) are sometimes more highly cited than their quality would warrant
  • poor quality papers can be cited while being criticised or refuted
  • citation patterns may be discipline dependent, e.g. citation counts in the Humanities are often lower because researchers publish more often in books and conference papers that are not well covered by citation databases
  • citation counts are limited by the citation data source, i.e. only citations indexed in that data source are counted, so even if you do publish mainly in journals, those journals may not be indexed by the datasource.

It is not possible to compare citation counts across disciplines and care should be taken when making comparisons within disciplines.


Citations of publications can be counted to provide measures of the usage and impact of the cited work. 

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