Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Bibliometric Measures in Citation-Tracking Databases: Web of Science citation data

Bibliometric measures for individual items in Web of Science

The measures below are available for some documents in Web of Science and can be used as an indicator of research impact:

  • Times Cited: Total number of times a publication has been cited by other publications in Web of Science.
  • Most Recent Citation: Shows the newest publication in Web of Science to cite the publication of interest.
  • Usage Count: The number of times a Web of Science document has been clicked on to view the full-length article via the publishers website, or to save the article in a bibliographic management tool via direct export or in a format to be imported later. For more information on Usage Counts, see this video: Web of Science Item Level Usage Counts from Web of Science Training on YouTube (Video, 4:00).*
  • Hot Papers: Identifies the highest cited scientific publications indexed in Web of Science from the last two years.
  • Highly Cited Papers: Identifies the highest cited scientific publications indexed in Web of Science from the last ten years.

There are a variety of available metrics in Web of Science.

* Web of Science Training. (2013). Web of Science item level usage counts. [Video file]. Retrieved from

Citation analysis for a group of Web of Science publications

A 'Citation Report' makes it possible to analyze citation and publication activity over time for a defined group of Web of Science publications via the Create Citation Report feature.This feature includes publication and citation graphs, as well as aggregate citation data.

Specific measures include: 

  • Total number of citations: per year, overall, and excluding self-citations.
  • Average number of citations: per item and year.
  • H-index: for a set of publications.

A Web of Science citation report can be generated for a maximum of 10,000 results; a citation report cannot be generated for results exceeding this amount.

Web of Science allows the creation of Citation Reports for groups of articles.

Data collected in citation reports includes document counts, h-index, and times cited.

Locating citation variants in Web of Science

Citation variants can be identified using Web of Science's Cited Reference Search option. Citation variants happen when one document misspells the citation for another document. 

  • Citation variants are often due to incorrect volume, issue, or page number(s).
  • This approach captures the cited item's main Web of Science record, along with other citation variants for the publication. This is possible by selecting the desired citation variants and then viewing the combined results in Web of Science.

Watch the video above to learn about how to conduct a cited reference search in Web of Science: Web of Science Core Collection: How to do a Cited Reference Search from Web of Science Training on YouTube (Video, 5:00)

Journal Impact Factor in Web of Science

At the search results view, you can click on the journal name to see the Journal Impact Factor (JIF). As a journal-level metric, this measure is useful for comparing journals. 

In Web of Science, Journal Impact Factor refers to the average number of times articles from the journal published in the past two years have been cited in that year in Web of Science. Shows citation data for one and five years.

Web of Science allows the user to look at the Journal Impact Factor for individual journals.

Keeping current

As with many databases, Web of Science offers a way to keep you up to date with new citations to specific publications. For example:

  • Create Citation Alert: This alert will notify you via e-mail anytime a publication of interest in Web of Science is cited by another publication in that database. Alerts are active for one year, and alerts may be renewed at any time. For more information, see this video: Web of Science: Citation Alerts from Web of Science Training on YouTube (Video, 2:00)

Web of Science allows the creation of Citation Alerts for articles.