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Scholarly Credentials Toolkit for TCNJ Faculty: Web of Science (WOS)

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Article Impact: Web of Science (WOS), Institute for Scientific Information

Web of Science (WOS) analyzes the impact of some humanities journal articles. In other words, find out who is citing whom, when, and where in the journal literature with WOS. Gitenstein Library does not license Web of Science (WOS), but all nearby research libraries have access to the database. If you would like to visit one of these libraries to access WOS feel free to contact me for assistance as desired.

Once you have access to the database, begin with a list of the author's publications, preferably from a CV or bibliography. Do not begin your search hoping to identity a list of the author's works or even a single work, as this can be both difficult and unreliable in WOS; better tools exist for identifying an author's corpus, typically the disciplinary abstracting and indexing databases (e.g. Historical AbstractsMLA International Bibliography, etc.) Obviously identification will not be a problem if you are assessing your own work. Traditionally in WOS the author's name had to be entered into the database following a standard convention: author's last name followed by first initial (e.g. Clancy F*), preferably in combination with a second search facet such as cited year(s) of publication.

Web of Science incorporates three distinct citation indexes, all of which are turned on by default: Science Citation Index (SCI), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), and Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI). Even if the author is a humanist, I prefer to stick with the default search in order to ensure the most comprehensive results. On the other hand, exceptions should probably be made for authors with common surnames.

Follow these steps to search Web of Science:

  • Click on "Cited Reference Search" at the top of the page to begin the process of identifying articles that cite an author's work(s).
  • Enter the author's name in the Cited Author field like this: <last-name> space <first-initial> immediately followed by an asterisk (*). Example: <Santley R*> picks up works authored by "Robert Santley" and "Robert S. Santley" (same person). As indicated, it is best to add cited year(s), if known, before executing the search.
  • Click "Search" to retrieve your "CITED REFERENCE INDEX" results list. Even precise searches frequently return results with at least a few "false hits" for records with similar authors and titles. You will need to weed these out. This is one reason why, as a general rule, it is less confusing to search for a single article than multiple works, and to combine the search with a cited year if known. Check the boxes next to the results you believe actually represent the author(s) and title(s) in question.
  • Finally, click "Finish Search" to obtain a list of references to articles that cite the article(s) in question. It is possible to sort this list by number of times cited, publication year, first author, and so on. Clicking on a title from the list reveals a link to all the references it cites, in other words its bibliography or works cited list. Print, email, or export to RefWorks or any bibliographic management tool the results list at the bottom of the page, under "Output Records".

Please keep in mind that WOS by no means reveals every work that has subsequently cited the article in question: "Only articles that are published in journals indexed by WOS will have their citations included in your Citation Report. Articles published in other journals or other scholarly publications such as books, book chapters, reports, and patents will not be included" in any citation report generated by WOS (see Generating a Citation Report in Web of Science, University Libraries, The University of Toledo). Nor, of course, can you run a citation analysis in WOS of any type of publication other than a journal article (covered in WOS).

Humanities Librarian

David C. Murray's picture
David C. Murray
TCNJ Library,
Room 216
Skype Contact: xpuhil