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Learning outcomes

After studying this section you will be familiar with the concept of citation analysis and what is meant by the impact factor of a journal.

Citation searching

Citations make connections between scientific publications: in this way the link between an author's own current research and previously published scientific publications is made.

Citation databases index these references.They make the connection possible between previously published works on which the author has based his own research ("cited references").

Citation databases also enable you to look forward to what more recent research has been done based on the publication by the author ("cited by").

More on Citation searching.

Citation searching in bibliographic databases

There is no single database that collects all publications and their cited references. One needs to look in multiple databases to find all possible cited references. Options vary widely per database.

Citation count

The impact or "quality" of an article is assessed by counting the number of times other authors mention it in their work, i.e. by counting the number of citations ("cited by").
This is the Citation count.

Journal Impact Factor

The Impact Factor (IF) is the best known citation score.  The ratio reflects the importance of a journal of a scientific journal within a field of research.

Rankings and quality indications of scientific journals (Impact Factors) are listed in:

Explanation and other indicators in: Measuring your impact.

Research impact services University Library

How does my research output 'perform' in world-leading citation databases? What are the research strengths of my institute? Are we collaborating effectively and what are our peers elsewhere doing? Is my research socially relevant?

These and many other questions can be answered with responsible analysis and assessment of the academic and societal impact of research via a combination of quantitative and qualitative metrics.

See the Research impact services webpages

Research impact services learning portal

Training tool to help you work with the  impact tools Altmetric and Scival. This helps you to improve your visibility as a researcher and to measure and demonstrate your research impact.

Go to the online learning platform


ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researchers and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized.

An ORCID account is required for submitting articles to journals. Every researcher or PhD student can register for an ORCID.

More on ORCID and registration.

Watch this video on Altmetrics



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Subjects: Information Literacy, SmartCat, Systematic Review, OER