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Scholarly Metrics in the Humanities and Social Sciences: Article Metrics

Web of Science for Counting Article Citations

The subscription-based Web of Science is one of the best known scientific article indexing services. The Web of Science core collection includes Science Citation Index (covering 8,500 journals), Social Sciences Citation Index (3,000 journals), and Arts & Humanities Citation Index (1,500 journals). It can be used to find citation counts for social sciences and humanities articles.

To use Web of Science to find citation counts for articles:

1. Go to library page for Web of Science, and click on "Connect" (off-campus users will be prompted to enter NetID and password)

2. Type the article title in the search box, make sure to select "Title" from the drop down list on the right, and click on "Search".

3. Find the right article from the result list

4. The summary page for the article will display the citation count on the right-hand side, It is 43 for this particular article.

Google Scholar for Counting Article Citations

Google Scholar is a free web search engine that indexes a broad array of scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed articles and scholarly books. It can be used to find citation counts for articles in the humanities and social sciences. The citation counts for the same publications in Google Scholar are usually larger than the counts in Web of Science.

To find article citations in Google Scholar

1. Go to scholar.google.com.

2. Type the article title in the search box. search, and then select the correct article on the result list.

3. The citation count will display below the snippet view of the article. Note that the citation count for the article "Behavioral economics: Past, present, and future" in Google Scholar is 228, much more than the count of 43 in Web of Science (see below).

Journal Metrics

The relationship between articles and journals is like content and container: they are related but also very different. In the past when article-level metrics were not easily available, there was a tendency in some disciplines to use journal metrics, particularly the Journal Impact Factor developed by Thomas Reuter (now Clarivate), as an indicator of the quality of the articles published in the journals. The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, which was signed by more than 10,000 scientists and over 1,000 organizations, strongly criticized this practice and recommended the elimination of the use of JIF in funding, appointment, and promotion considerations. For the humanities scholars and social scientists, the JIF has an additional problem that its coverage of humanities and social sciences journals is limited. 

Clearly it is inappropriate to use journal metrics to measure the impact of articles published in the journal. However, journal metrics (when available) may be one of the factors to consider when researchers look for journals to publish; the other factors may be the aim and scope of the journal, history of publishing articles on similar topics, and any restrictions. The following resources provide journal-level metrics:

Journal Impact Factors (Based on journals indexed by Web of Science)

CitesScore (Based on journals indexed by Scopus)

Google Scholar Metrics for Journals

 

 

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