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Tracking Citations to Articles

This guide explains how to use different methods to find and track citations to articles and other works.


One scholar draws on, responds to, or critiques earlier scholars' positions and ideas. Writers cite the earlier works to show readers exactly what they're using. The chains of citations form a web. In law, the web extends from academic literature to the law itself when judges cite scholarship as persuasive authority.

Researchers care about this web of sources for different purposes, e.g.:

  • If Article A is relevant to my work, then articles that cite Article A might be relevant as well.
  • Works that cite Article A will help me understand the article and the strengths and weaknesses of the author's arguments.
  • Finding out what sources cite Scholar S's work will give me a sense of how influential S is.

Different tools give you different pieces of the picture. There is no one tool that quickly and efficiently tells you everything that cites a given work. For instance, one tool might give you a good display of U.S. law journals that cite a work, but not journals from other academic disciplines. This guide explains different tools and their strengths and weaknesses.

Studies of Citation Metrics

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