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Bibliometrics, citation analysis, or author/lab/journal impact, is a method aimed at determining the importance and influence of (typically peer-reviewed) journals, journal articles and their authors. Several techniques have been developed and there is active discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of each. Below you will find articles discussing these techniques and the controversies, as well as the tools most often used to gather and analyze the data.

The analysis can be performed on authors, journals or institutions, but the tools and methods can differ depending on which category is chosen. Here are some quick tip and caveats for each.
  • Journals - The primary tool for bibliometrics on journals is Journal Citation Reports (JCR). The calculations are done yearly by Clarivate and presented through JCR. The key measure in JCR is the Impact Factor, though there is on-going debate over the true accuracy and value of this measure. Some of the articles below touch on this debate.

  • Authors - The primary tool available to NOAA for bibliometrics on authors is Web of Science. Important factors to consider while analyzing citations to authors are variations and inaccuracies in the formats of names that introduce ambiguity and self-citations. Name variations can be addressed by truncating names (using * at the end of a name) to capture all variations. Then, one can look at each cited reference to determine if the paper is actually by the target author. There are now tools to remove self-citations in a cited reference list. Tools such as ResearcherID and ORCID are also aimed at addressing the issue of ambiguous citations. Another emerging means of measuring author impact is the Hirsch index or h-index. Some of the tools below assist with calculating and interpreting the h-index. Similar to the h-index, Egghe index or g-index also measures author's impact but is more complicated to calculate.

  • Institutions - The primary tool available to NOAA for bibliometrics on institutions is Web of Science. Important factors to consider while analyzing citations to institutions are variations in the formats. NOAA and its various offices, for instance, have been cited using thousands of variations. Zip code can be used to capture all variations in a given lab's name, but that may still include inappropriate or exclude appropriate citations. Also, if performing analysis on institutions using personal authors, make sure to count papers co-authored by colleagues in the same lab once.

Bibliometrics Tools

NOAA logo indicating licensed resource Web of Science (Science Citation Index) 1965 -
Bibliometric features in Web of Science include cited reference searching as well as citation analysis tools that will work on the article or author level. Please see the user education page for Web of Science training resources.

Small NOAA logo Journal Citation Reports (Science Edition) 2006 -
Journal Citation Reports (Science Edition) aggregates and tabulates citation and article counts as indicators of how frequently current researchers are using individual journals. It contains data from over 5,900 journals in science and technology allowing one to evaluate and compare journals. Help topics and Pre-recorded training sessions are also available.

Highly Cited Research
Presents analysis of Web of Science data to identify individuals, departments and laboratories that have made fundamental contributions to the advancement of science and technology in recent decades.

Academic Ranking of World Universities
Also known as the Shanghai ranking, it was first published in June 2003 by the Center for World-Class Universities and the Institute of Higher Education of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China and is now updated annually.

Google Scholar
The search results list in Google Scholar now links to documents citing and articles related to a single article. The total number of citing documents may often be higher than results in Web of Science because it includes documents not indexed in Web of Science, but it may also be duplicative or otherwise less authoritative.

Analysis of journal ranking using data from the Scopus database and the Google PageRank algorithm

More analysis using information from the Scopus database.

Analysis of journal ranking that uses data from Clarivate databases (Web of Science) and algorithms similar to the Google PageRank algorithm. This analysis is also presented in a visualization at

Publish or Perish
Free downloadable software that performs citation analysis on Google Scholar results.

A tool to help disambiguate names to facilitate more accurate tracking of researchers' and institutions' publications.

Similar to ResearcherID, provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you and supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized.

Assist a user in analyzing bibliographic data, or any data of a textual nature formatted in a similar manner, by generating data files that can be imported to Excel, or any program that takes tabbed data records, for further processing.

Science of Science (Sci2) Tool
A modular toolset specifically designed for the study of science. It supports the temporal, geospatial, topical, and network analysis and visualization of scholarly datasets at the micro (individual), meso (local), and macro (global) levels.

A collection of new metrics based on the Social Web for analyzing, and informing scholarship.

Altmetric Bookmarklet
Instantly get article level metrics for any recent paper in PubMed, arXiv or pages containing a DOI.

Bibliometrics Articles

Small NOAA logo Abbott, Allison, et al. 2010. "Metrics: Do metrics matter?." Nature v.465: 860-862.

Butler, Declan. 2008. "Free journal-ranking tool enters citation market." Nature v.451: 6.

Garfield, Eugene. 2005. "The Agony and the Ecstasy -- The History and Meaning of the Journal Impact Factor". (pdf)

Small NOAA logo Garfield, Eugene. 1972. "Citation Analysis as a Tool in Journal Evaluation." Science v.178 no.4060 pp.471-479.

Small NOAA logo Hirsch, J.E. 2005. "An index to quantify an individual's scientific research output." Proc. of the Nat. Acad. of Sciences v.102 no.46, pp.16569-16572.

Inter-Research. "ESEP Theme Section: The use and misuse of bibliometric indices in evaluating scholarly performance". Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics. v.8 no.1, 2008.

Jasco, Peter. 2009. "Newswire Analysis: Google Scholar's Ghost Authors, Lost Authors, and Other Problems". Library Journal. 09/24/2009

Small NOAA logo Kai, Simonds. 2008 "The Misused Impact Factor." Science v.322 no.5899 p.165.

Small NOAA logo Lane, Julie. 2010. "Let's make metrics more scientific." Nature v.464 pp.488-489.

Monastersky, Richard. 2005. "Impact factors run into competition." The Chronicle of Higher Education v.52: A17. (requires subscription)

Monastersky, Richard. 2005. "The number that's devouring science." The Chronicle of Higher Education v.52: A12. (requires subscription)

Nature Publishing Group. "Science metrics". An online special spotlight including news, features and interactive graphics.

OpCit Project. "The effect of open access and downloads ('hits') on citation impact: a bibliography of studies."

Thomson Reuters. Using Bibliometrics: A Guide to Evaluating Research Performance with Citation Data - a white paper. (pdf)

NOAA logo indicating licensed resource Van Noorden, Richard. 2010. "Metrics: A profusion of measures." Nature v.465: 864-866.

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