Skip to main content

Who's Citing Me Now?: Overview

This guide is designed for faculty needing information on how to use library resources for citation analysis - how many times an article has been cited, databases used for this and the different metrics being used to evaluate an author's body of work


The following paragraph is taken from the Wikipedia entry on Bibliometrics.

Bibliometrics is a set of methods used to study or measure texts and information. The Oxford English Dictionary 2011 defines bibliometrics as  "...concerned with the application of mathematical and statistical analysis to bibliography, the statistical analysis of books, articles, or other publications."  Citation analysis and content analysis are commonly used bibliometric methods. While bibliometric methods are used most often in the field of library and information science, bibliometrics have wide applications in other areas. In fact, many research fields use bibliometric methods to explore the impact of their field, the impact of a set of researchers, or the impact of a particular paper. Bibliometrics are now used in quantitative research assessment exercises of academic output which is starting to threaten practice based research. The UK government is considering using bibliometrics in its Research Excellence Framework, a process which will assess the quality of the research output of UK universities and, on the basis of the assessment results, allocate research funding .

Bibliometrics is part of the larger field of study called INFORMETRICS which is the study of the quantitative aspects of information.  Informetrics includes scientometrics, webometrics, cybermetrics and bibliometrics.  These terms refer to the quantitative study of, respectively, science, the world wide web, electronic resources, and recorded information.





This guide is designed to aid in understanding the world of citation analysis, aka bibliometrics.  This understanding is essential for those faculty going through the tenure/promotion process especially if the university, your school, or your department requires you to provide this information in your tenure/promotion packet.  Furthermore, these metrics are also being used in deciding grant funding and awards and prizes.

The field of bibliometrics is increasingly being used to evaluate the impact of a scholar's work or the importance of a journal in a particular field.  Citation counts and journal impact factors are the most familiar ways to evaluate research impact.  This LibGuide's goal is to provide you guidance to steer you through the process of gathering the information you need from the available databases and then using the major metrics to do analysis.  The gathering of the information is the most time consuming part.  It is vital that you have a complete and accurate listing of your publications.  This information is the foundation upon which the analysis is built. 


It is important to remember that judging the quality of a publication, whether it is an entire journal or a particular journal article, is ultimately a fairly subjective process. Results can vary depending on which criteria are used, definitions of what a publication is, how measurements are made, how much information is available and so on. Some disciplines have more established rankings than others. Also the situation changes regularly as new resources are developed that try to provide this information. If you have questions about this process for your specific situation, please contact your liaison or the Lister Hill Library Reference Unit at 934-2230.



Citation Analysis was originally conceived to correct for subjective perception.  Instead of making an educated guess, taking a poll of your colleagues, or checking library collections to see available journals, citation analysis provides a mathematical measure of how many articles have cited an author's paper, or how many articles from a journal have been cited over a specific time.  This process provides some objective rationale for a decision.


© UAB Libraries ι University of Alabama at Birmingham ι About Us ιContact Us ι Disclaimer