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University of Washington Health Sciences Library

Cited Reference Searching

Guide to identifying articles that have cited a reference of interest.

Web of Science: Key Facts

  • Multidisciplinary coverage of literature of sciences, social sciences, and arts & humanities. 
  • Long time period of coverage (some journals covered back to 1898).
  • Cited Reference Searching feature

Conducting a Cited Reference Search in Web of Science: Step 1

Go to Web of Science.  (The link is also available from the main page of the Health Sciences Library website, as well as on the UW Libraries' list of research databases.) 

Click on Cited Reference Search.

Conducting a Cited Reference Search in Web of Science: Step 2

Enter pieces of information about the article you want to track.  We recommend including:

  •    The first author's name in the Cited Author field.  (Enter last name & first initial followed by an asterisk to allow for variations.)
  •    The year of publication in the Cited Year field.
  •    The abbreviated title of the Cited Work, i.e. journal title or book title.  (Use the "Abbreviation List" to find the abbreviation.)

Click Search to retrieve a list of references that match the combination of information you entered (Author + Publication Year + Publication Title).

Conducting a Cited Reference Search in Web of Science: Step 3

Your article may have been cited in more than one way. 

Select all variations of the citation that seem likely to refer to your article.

Click Finish Search to retrieve all of the references that cited the Author/Work/Year combination(s) you specified. 

From the list of retrieved references, you may then:

  • Read abstracts and follow links to full-text articles.
  • Analyze Results, i.e., find the top authors, research areas, journals, funding areas, etc. for your set of results.

Web of Science: Caveats and Suggestions

Caveat #1: May not include ALL citing articles.

Suggestion #1: Search other databases with complementary journal coverage, such as Scopus.

Caveat #2: Web of Science enters citations exactly as they are found in published bibliographies.

Suggestion #2: Look for variations in your citation, not just the exact citation.

Caveat #3: A citation count doesn't tell you why an article was cited.

Suggestion #3: After your cited reference search, click on "analyze results" and scan through the contents of the articles.


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