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Impact Metrics

What is the Article Impact ?

© Photo by Gerd Altmann, pixabay license

The article impact is measured by the number of times an article has been cited by other publications.

As a researcher, it can be useful to

  • Track the impact of your research
  • Find articles on your research topic by following the articles that cite you
  • Identify the most cited articles
  • Find collaborations with other researchers by following researchers that cite you

Keep in mind:

  • A high volume of citations does not guarantee the quality of an article, as questionable articles are sometimes the most cited
  • Review articles are usually more cited than original research articles
  • Citations take time to accumulate and citation patterns differ from one field to another.
  • Good communication can help you improve the visibility of your research (by increasing your number of citations)
  • Co-publishing can improve your number of citations and your visibility
  • Citations counts are also used by new alternative metrics (altmetrics)


Tools for citation tracking available at the IHEID or freely available:

  • It's a platform for discovering and evaluating research articles. Its particularity is that in addition to providing citation counts, it also gives information about how an article has been cited, and if other articles mention, support, or contrast its ideas.
  • Source of data : the citations come from indexing agreements with publishers (Wiley, Karger, Thieme, Sage, BMJ, and many more) and from different open sources such as Unpaywall, Pubmed, various pre-print servers, university repositories and open access journals.
  • Database created in 2018, by Digital Science, that contains publications, citation data, patents clinical trials, policy documents, and grant information
  • Source of data: CrossRef, Pubmed, Opencitations, and some publishers.
  • Bibliometric indicators: the standard free version available to the public provides the article citations and two other bibliometric indicators. The Relative Citation Ratio (RCR) indicates the relative citation performance of an article, when compared to other articles in its area of research. The Field Citation Ratio (FCR) indicates the relative citation performance of an article, when compared to similarly-aged articles in its subject area. These two indicators are normalized to 1.0, a value of more than 1.0 shows that the publication has a higher than average number of citations for its group.

Several databases available at the IHEID library have the tool citations or cited by which provides citation counts.

Keep in mind:

  • Databases are verified so there is no double counting of citations. If you use Google Scholar, make sure there is no double counting of citations and verify that every reference is indeed a scientific publication
  • If you mention several citations, always mention the source of that number/count
  • Google Scholar does not disclose which sources it uses
  • The biggest limitation for Scite is the size of the database. It contains fewer references that Google Scholar or Web of Science which do not rely on ingesting the full text of papers.
  • Dimensions database contains also pre-prints, which means that citations from not yet peer-reviewed articles are included
  • For other ways to find your citations count, go to the "where to check your h-index" section