Research Impact & Intelligence: Research Impact

A guide to our services in research intelligence and resources to learn more.

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Citation Impact Metrics & Tools

Citation impact, or bibliometrics, can be as simple as citation counts to papers and as complex as tracking and mapping citation collaboration networks between authors and organizations. 

Citation Data Sources

Several databases and sources can be used to access citation data. Therefore, you will likely find different citation data, depending on where you access it. Citation counts will only be as high as can be counted for the particular source from which they are accessed. 

Below is a depiction of the overlap of the four major bibliographic data sources and their overlap in the millions of records (with an estimate for Google Scholar. It was estimated at 389 million records in a 2018 study, so we have listed it at over 500 million records, but it is likely now much larger than that.)

Coverage comparison of bibliographic databases

±The size of Google Scholar was estimated at 389 million records in 2018 and is likely at least 500 million records today.

*The Web of Science (WoS) Core Collection is one database of 12 on the WoS platform. The Core Collection consists of 89 million records and is used primarily by researchers and administrators to analyze research impact. It is also the database used for Journal Citation Reports (JCR), which is where the Journal Impact Factor and other journal metrics are published. 

Citation Databases & Search Engines

Individual Co-Authorship Network Analysis Example

Co-authorship network visualization, with Lockee at the center

In the example above, only one author's publications were analyzed (Barbara Lockee). The size of the nodes represents the number of publications while the color of the nodes represents the number of citations. The lighter the node (e.g., yellow), the more citations while the darker the node, the fewer citations to the works that were published when the authors collaborated together. Since Lockee is the core author, she is the 'average' for this network, and so her node is green or 'average' for all the citations. We can see that her publications with Burton, Bond, and Hodges have the highest citation counts.


Alternative impact, alternative metrics (or altmetrics), include alternative means of measuring scholarship beyond citations and bibliometrics (i.e., academic engagement and impact). Examples include: mentions and citations of scholarship in news media, social media, public policy documents, patents, Wikipedia, multimedia videos, open peer review platforms, blogs, and other online sources. 

Databases & Resources

Visualization & Analytic Tools

Literature Mapping & Discovery Tools

VOSviewer Visual Example

VOSviewer network co-term analysis visualization example

This is a visualization that represents the terms mentioned in titles and abstracts published by faculty in the VTCSOM Psychiatry Department. The larger the term or node, the more often that word occurs across publications. The connections or links between nodes/terms represents the number of times terms occur together in the same publication. The color represents the average number of citations received by publications that mention those terms. Overall, the number of publications represented here is 1,433 from a year range of 2010-2019.

Please also note that the terms in the top part of the visual, which indicate lower citation impact on average, likely need to be analyzed on their own, since the publications with those terms likely represent a different field or sub-field in psychiatry, whereas the terms in the bottom part with seemingly more citation impact represent research that focuses more on neurology and the brain, an area of research that tends to receive more citations on average.