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Research Impact

Article-level Metrics

Article-level metrics attempt to quantify the reach and impact of each published research. Traditionally, this is done through counting the number of times an article is cited by other articles. New sources of data today allow researchers to measure the impact of their article through alternative measures like number of tweets, newspaper mentions, policy mentions, reviews etc. This page will focus on the traditional measures using citation counts.

Citation Counts

Counting citations is the first step of citation-based research impact analysis. Various databases and citation indexes provide the number of times that a certain publication or author is cited by other works. Citation counts have often been used to extrapolate the quality, influence and transfer of research knowledge in academia - the assumption is that the more important or influential a work, the more frequently it will be cited.

However, while its use as a proxy for quality has merit, there are some limitations that everyone should take note:

  • Citations tend to measure popularity rather than quality. It is also unable to reveal why the work was cited, either for positive or negative reasons.
  • Citation counts depend on database coverage - different databases will provide varying citation count figures. Majority of databases also index publications in English. There is currently no one database that indexes all scholarly publications.
  • Citations accrue at different rates between disciplines and subject areas. For example, publications from fields like science, medicine, computing will gain citations at a faster rate compared to publications from fields like sociology, philosophy or real estate. As such, you should refrain from comparing citation counts of articles from different fields.

Field Weighted Citation Impact

The Field-Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI) measures how well cited a publication is compared to similar publications. It can be used to directly compare/benchmark the performance of an article other articles (even in different subject areas) because it is normalized.  FWCI is a unique metric that is only available via Scopus/SciVal and is calculated based on publications indexed in Scopus after 1996. It is calculated by comparing the citations received by a publication against other similar publications over a 4 year period.

Similar publications are defined as those that:

  • are published in the same publication year
  • have same publication type (e.g. journal article, conference proceedings, book chapter, etc.)
  • are assigned the same subject field based on Scopus' ASJC

This is how you would interpret the FWCI value:

  • A FWCI value of 1 means that the publication has an impact equals to other similar publications
  • A FWCI value of >1 means that the publication has been cited more than similar publications, e.g. FWCI of 2.10 means 2.1 times more cited than the average.
  • A FWCI value of <1 means that the publication has been cited less than similar publications, e.g. FWCI of 0.85 means 15% less cited than average

Sources of Article-level Metrics

Scopus is one of the databases that allows you to track citation counts of publications. These citation counts are derived based on the publications indexed in Scopus.

All you have to do is to search for a particular article either by title or keywords under Document Search

“Screenshot” from Scopus by Elsevier

You can easily find the citation counts from the 'Cited By' value in the document results page.

“Screenshot” from Scopus by Elsevier

Alternatively, the citation counts are also also available in the document details for each respective document indexed in Scopus.

“Screenshot” from Scopus by Elsevier

Click on 'View all metrics' to see more article related metrics.

“Screenshot” from Scopus by Elsevier

Web of Science is also another commonly used database to find citation counts. The citation counts are derived from publications indexed in the Web of Science collection.

It is also incredibly easy to use! Head over to Web of Science and search for any article by title or keywords under Documents search.

“Screenshot” from Web of Science by Clarivate

Beside each document record at the search results page, you will be able to get the number of citations from the 'Times Cited:' value.

“Screenshot” from Web of Science by Clarivate

Similarly, the citation count is also available at each respective documents' page.

“Screenshot” from Web of Science by Clarivate


Google Scholar indexes all kinds of scholar publications that can be crawled on the internet.

To find the citation count for a particular article on Google Scholar, all you need to do is to search for a particular article, either by title or by keywords. You can find the citation count on Google Scholar under the 'Cited by' value for each record. This is calculated based on what is indexed by Google Scholar. Clicking on the 'Cited by' value will bring you to the links of the citing articles.

"Screenshot" from Google Scholar by Google 

Field Weight Citation Impact, or FWCI, is a metric that is only available in Scopus/Scival databases. It is calculated based on publications indexed in Scopus from 1996 onwards.

To find the FWCI of an article, you may make use of Scopus and conduct a Document Search.

“Screenshot” from Scopus by Elsevier

Select the particular article that you are interested in to go to the document's detail page. You will need to click on 'View all metrics' to find the FWCI information of the article.

“Screenshot” from Scopus by Elsevier

“Screenshot” from Scopus by Elsevier