Skip to Main Content
DkIT Logo

Research Support: Bibliometrics

Outlines services for postrgaduate researchers

Citation analysis / Bibliometrics

Bibliometrics refers to the quantitative measures used to assess research output, in other words, publication and citation data analysis. Citation analysis is based on the premise that if an academic shows good citation metrics, it is very likely that he or she has made a significant impact on the field. However, it is important to note that the reverse is not necessarily true. If an academic shows weak citation metrics, that researcher may be publishing:

Mainly in books
In a language other than English
In a small field or in a field not prioritised by the providers of the bibliometric data.

The three main tools for performing a citation analysis are Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar/Publish or Perish.

Doing a Citation Anlaysis

When undertaking a Citation Analysis be aware of the following:

  • Citation databases index only a limited number of peer-reviewed journal titles
  • They exclude many books and conference proceedings
  • Many articles are published in a language other than English
  • It is important to choose a citation tool that is relevant to your discipline e.g. the Web of Science includes over 8,500 journals in its Science Citation Index but only 1,700 journals in its Arts and Humanities Citation Index
  • It can be difficult to differentiate between two authors who share the same surname and first name or first initial 

Google Scholar Publish or Perish

Publish or Perish is a citation analysis tool which uses Google Scholar citation data. It is free for personal non-profit use and can be installed from

Google Scholar covers more books, theses, conference papers, technical reports and other academic publications than either Web of Science or Scopus. However, coverage in Google Scholar is uncontrolled and there is no definitive list of all publications that are included.

Citation analysis results from Publish or Perish favour those who have personally made their articles available online, for example through institutional or subject repositories. A new feature of Publish or Perish is that you can change the source data and use Microsoft Academic Search citation data instead of Google Scholar data.


You can use the Elsevier citation analysis tool Scopus via DkIT Library.


Coverage in Scopus is broad but isn’t as deep as Web of Science, with citation counts from 1996 to present only included. Scopus includes over 20,000 peer-reviewed journals, 390 trade publications, 370 book series and 5.5 million conference papers. In addition, Scopus has started to increase book coverage.

Scopus covers:

  • Life Sciences 
  • Health Sciences 
  • Physical Sciences 
  • Social Sciences & Humanities

Have a look at the Scopus online tutorials including on Reviewing Documents  and Author & Affiliation Searching to find out how to conduct citation analyses on groups of documents or individual authors.


What is the h-index?

The h-index is intended to reflect ongoing impact. A h-index of x for an author signifies that the author has published x papers each of which has been cited at least x times. It is a commonly used indicator of research output which reflects both the number of publications and the distribution of citations to those publications.

A h-index of 5 for an author signifies that the author has published 5 papers each of which has been cited at least 5 times. A h index can be created for a single author or a research unit. It is important to remember that the index is only useful in comparing scientists at the same career stage and working within the same field as citation conventions differ substantially between disciplines.