How to Count Your Citations

For better or worse, academics use citation counts as one of several ways to assess the value of a researcher's output.  Here's how to find these numbers.

  • Go to the Web of Science at http://webofknowledge.com/. This is a commercial site but most universities have a subscription.
  • If you want to save your search, click on "Sign In" in the upper right, then click "Register" from the menu and make an account.
  • Click on the drop-down menu to the right of the orange "Search" arrow, and select "Web of Science Core Collection".
  • Click on the drop-down menu to the right of the "Basic search" and select "Advanced Search".  If you don't see this option, go back to the last step, as it is only available to this database.
  • You will need to develop a search that gets only your publications.  The best way is to start with the most inclusive form of your name:
  • I enter "AU=Harrington, J" and optimistically click Search
  • This yields 1,968 publications, mostly not by me.  I guess someone else is named Harrington, J.
  • So, I restrict to my institution. Click "Edit" at the end of the new search and enter:
  • AU=Harrington, J and OG=Univ Cent Florida
  • Only 33 pubs.  Looks like I need to add all the other places I've worked.
    AU=Harrington, J and (OG=Univ Cent Florida or OG=Cornell or OG=NASA or OG=MIT)
  • 80 pubs.  That's too many, so let's check them out.  I click on the number 80 under Results.  I see a paper that isn't mine.  It includes "Harrington, JP" and has a different co-author with NASA affiliation.  I don't have a middle initial, so get rid of all "Harrington, J"s who do (this looks ugly, but it's really quick to do with a word processor and cut-and-paste):
    AU=Harrington J not (AU=Harrington JA or AU=Harrington JB or AU=Harrington JC or AU=Harrington JD or AU=Harrington JE or AU=Harrington JF or AU=Harrington JG or AU=Harrington JH or AU=Harrington JI or AU=Harrington JJ or AU=Harrington JK or AU=Harrington JL or AU=Harrington JM or AU=Harrington JN or AU=Harrington JO or AU=Harrington JP or AU=Harrington JQ or AU=Harrington JR or AU=Harrington JS or AU=Harrington JT or AU=Harrington JU or AU=Harrington JV or AU=Harrington JW or AU=Harrington JX or AU=Harrington JY or AU=Harrington JZ) and (OG=(Univ Cent Florida or Cornell Univ or MIT or NASA))
  • Down to 59 pubs.  But I know I have 54.  I see some random articles with long author lists.  Probably they have a Harrington, J and another co-author with one of my affiliations.  I choose the most obscure name from each paper, hoping I won't collaborate with them in the future, and eliminate them from my search by adding:
    not (AU=Acosta D or AU=Kuwanoe or AU=Avramov)
  • Finally, I see an erratum.  Yup, a publisher messed up a formula in my paper and I made them print an erratum.  WOS thinks that's a pub, but my colleagues don't!  The letters "pg" appear in the erratum title.  Eliminate it with:
    not TI=pg
  • The final search is:
    AU=Harrington J not (AU=Harrington JA or AU=Harrington JB or AU=Harrington JC or AU=Harrington JD or AU=Harrington JE or AU=Harrington JF or AU=Harrington JG or AU=Harrington JH or AU=Harrington JI or AU=Harrington JJ or AU=Harrington JK or AU=Harrington JL or AU=Harrington JM or AU=Harrington JN or AU=Harrington JO or AU=Harrington JP or AU=Harrington JQ or AU=Harrington JR or AU=Harrington JS or AU=Harrington JT or AU=Harrington JU or AU=Harrington JV or AU=Harrington JW or AU=Harrington JX or AU=Harrington JY or AU=Harrington JZ) and (OG=(Univ Cent Florida or Cornell Univ or MIT or NASA)) not (AU=Acosta D or AU=Kuwanoe or AU=Avramov) not TI=pg
  • 54 pubs.  I double-check my CV and it has all my papers, so I record these search criteria on my own machine and also on their system.  I will use this search a lot, throughout my career!
  • To get a citation report, I click "Create Citation Report", which is a tiny link on the results page on the right side near the top of the papers list. This gives me charts for items published per year and citations per year, number of times cited per year and per paper, total cites, h-index, and so forth.