The results of citation analyses will vary depending on the tool(s) you use and the thoroughness of the search. The discipline area and object of analyses may also limit the validity.
Why do different databases retrieve different results?
The citation data will relate only to articles indexed within the database. Variation may occur because the databases:
- Index different publication sources.
- Cover different date ranges.
- Include poor-quality data (duplicate records, misspelt citations etc).
What types of documents should be included in a report?
Generally citation analyses would include articles, notes and reviews.
- These are document types that would be expected to receive citations.
- Book reviews, editorials and meeting abstracts are normally excluded as they are not generally cited, they decrease the average cites per paper.
Can citation data be used to compare or benchmark articles?
It is important to ensure citation data is being used to compare like with like.
- Different disciplines have markedly different citing behaviour and patterns.
- Document age influences the number of citations it has, or is likely to receive.
- When making comparisons, ensure the data has been normalised or adjusted to take into account differences between the disciplines.