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Impact Factors

Understanding the Journal Impact Factor and the Author Impact Factor.

Author Impact Factor and Author Profiles

The Author Impact Factor calculates the scientific value of a given researcher or author. You can try the h-index or compile cited references by using Web of Science, Semantic Scholar, Dimensions or Google Scholar. Please note that Semantic Scholar is mostly for STEM fields.

It is a good idea to claim and/or create your Author Profile in these databases. Citation counts will be different in each one because each one is indexing different journals. Each database has its own strengths and interesting facets.

Web of Science is a subscription database and will include journal articles and conference proceedings. 

Semantic Scholar counts an author's citations, and then notes how many of those citations are in other Highly Influential Citations. It will further note where in the article the author was cited: Background, Methods or Results.

Dimensions is owned by the same company that owns Altmetrics, so it shows not only citation counts, but Altmetric scores. This includes news outlets, twitter counts, blog posts, videos and Facebook feeds. It can tell an author whether they have been cited in policy documents by the CDC or WHO. Dimensions uses ORCID data to find publications, patents, clinical trials and grants, so be sure to have your ORCID up-to-date.

The easiest place to claim a profile is in Google Scholar. Simply click on My Profile and fill it out. If you have a common name, please check the list of articles to make sure they are in fact yours. Co-authors can be "claimed" on the far right. 

Sage now offers Sage Policy Profiles, a free tool for researchers to look up where their research has been used in policy, export that data, visualize it, and share what they find.

While UW no longer subscribes to Scopus, you can go to Scopus Preview and check on your Author Profile.


The h-index quantifies the actual scientific productivity and the apparent impact of the scientist. The h-index is based on the author’s most cited papers and the number of citations they have received from other articles.

"A scientist has index h if h of his/her Np papers have at least h citations each, and the other (Np − h) papers have no more than h citations each." [For details in calculation, see Hirsch, 2005] An h-index of 16 means, for example, that a researcher has published 16 papers that each had at least 16 citations. Therefore, the h-index reflects both the number of articles as well as the number of citations per article.

How to find the h-index of an individual author in Web of Science:

  1. Go to Web of Science from the UW Health Sciences Library webpage or Databases list.
  2. Enter author’s name and be sure the pull-down box indicates Author.
  3. Click Search.
  4. Refine Results by subject areas or other criteria if desired.
  5. Click 'Create Citation Report' link (right side of window, just above results list).
  6. The Citation Report lists the h-index near the top right of the page (Note: ? link for more information).

Cited References

Cited references make it possible to find other documents that are related by topic or subject to the original document. Cited references (references that cite an individual article) may be used to measure the usage and impact of a cited work. Note that cited references can be influenced by author self-citing or publishing in an open access journal.

Citation analysis, which involves counting how many times a paper or researcher is cited, assumes that influential scientists and important works are cited more often than others.

Web of Science (WoS) Cited References

Cited Reference Search is one of the features in the Web of Science database. The number in the Citing Articles column in WoS indicates the number of times the reference has been cited in all years of Web of Science, regardless of how many years you are searching. Note that Citing Article references may not include all the known citations of the paper, just those in journals covered by WoS.

How To Perform a Web of Science  Cited Reference Search:

  1. Click on Cited Reference Search link in WoS.
  2. Enter the name of the primary Cited Author and the Cited Year or a limited range of years of a Cited Work, and then click Search. For more details, see:
  3. If you retrieve too many hits, return to the form and add the abbreviated title of a Cited Work.
  4. After you click Search, you will see references from the citation index that contain the cited author/cited work data you entered. You can note how many times the article or work has been cited in the Citing Articles column.
  5. Select references by checking the box to the left of each reference you want.
  6. To retrieve these citing articles, click Finish Search. You have now retrieved the records of articles that cite the author/reference you selected.
  7. Clicking on Analyze Results allows you to view rankings of the authors, journals, etc. for your set of results.

For further help:

Google Scholar Cited References

Google Scholar (GS) covers peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts, and other scholarly literature from all broad areas of research and from a wide variety of academic publishers and professional societies, as well as scholarly articles available across the web. Each Google Scholar search result contains bibliographic information, such as the title, author names, and source of publication. At the end of the search result is a “Cited by” link, which will display a list of articles and documents that have cited the document originally retrieved in the search. Note that this only includes resources indexed by Google Scholar.

There have been some criticisms of Google Scholar Cited References, such as:

  • GS includes some non-scholarly citations.
  • It is not clear exactly which scholarly resources are included in GS.
  • GS does not perform well for older publications.
  • GS is not updated as often as WoS.
  • GS may find the same citing work more than once and count them more than once in its total. It's important to go through the list of citing works to remove duplicates.

How to find Cited References in Google Scholar:

  1. Go to Google Scholar
  2. Enter search terms, such as an individual author or a particular article citation.
  3. Look for the “Cited by” link at the bottom of the citation.
  4. Click on the “Cited by” link to retrieve citations to the original resource.