Cited reference searching in Web of Science
Web of Science
Web of Science is the electronic version of Science Citation Index (covering 1955-present), Social Sciences Citation Index (1975-present) and Arts & Humanities Citation Index (1999-present).
Cited reference searching
Web of Science captures the bibliographies or lists of works cited for all the journals indexed in it. This means that you can perform a cited reference search to see who has cited a certain paper and follow the development of research on a certain topic through the scholarly literature.
When Web of Science enters bibliographies into its database, each citation is condensed and to some extent the parts are regularized. There are always, however, variations in the way different authors cite the same work, so if you want to perform effective and comprehensive cited reference searches, you need to check for variants by following the guidelines in the "Entering search terms" section of this guide. (For a fuller explanation of why variants exist in the database, see Cited Reference Variations from the producers of Web of Science.)
Beginning a search
- Select Web of Science from the list of most used resources on the Library home page.
- Click on Cited Reference Search.
Entering your search terms
You can search by cited author (author of the original work), cited work, cited year or any combination of the three. It's usually most effective to search by a combination of cited author and cited year. When entering your search terms, follow the guidelines below to get the most complete search results.
- Cited authors are entered in Web of Science as the first 15 letters of the surname, a space, and up to five initials. First names are not used, so you will not get results if you enter them in your search.
Since you can't be sure if those citing an author
included the author's middle initial, it's often wise to
truncate your search using the truncation symbol
(*). Example: To search for items that cite an article by Donald R.
Cahoon, enter the cited author as cahoon d*. This is the best way to search
- cahoon d finds only cahoon d
- cahoon dr finds only cahoon dr
- cahoon d* finds cahoon d and cahoon dr (as well as cahoon da, cahoon db...)
Punctuation such as apostrophes and hyphens have been stripped from authors'
names entered in the database before 1998. To cover pre- and post-1998
variations, enter searches both with and without punctuation. Connect variations
with "or." Examples:
- To search for Brian O'Brien as a cited author: obrien b* or o'brien b*
- To search for Ann McGillicuddy-DeLisi as a cited author: mcgillicuddydel a* or mcgillicuddy-del a* (Only the first 15 letters of any surname are used.)
- Second authors can be searched but only for items in the source database (i.e. second authors cannot be searched for books, for journals not indexed in Web of Science, or for items published before the beginning date of coverage of the database). All punctuation has been retained in the names of second authors.
- Cited works are captured as abbreviations with a maximum of 20 characters.
Journals as cited works: Web of Science provides a list of journal title abbreviations, but it provides only one abbreviation for each journal. Variants may have been used by authors, so you should use the abbreviation you find in the list but also try to think of likely variations and use truncation as much as possible. (Except when you're truncating author's initials, you must have at least three letters before you use the truncation symbol.) Connect variations with "or." Example:
- To search for American Journal of Public Health: am j public health or ajph* or amer j pub*
Books as cited works: Even more variations are possible for book titles than journal titles. For best results, enter the author and the first three characters of the title followed by the truncation symbol. Don't enter a cited year because with different editions of books there are too many possible variations. Example:
To search for The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen J. Gould:
cited author: gould sj
cited work: mis*
- To search for The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen J. Gould:
Patents as cited works: Enter the patent number, omitting all punctuation. Example:
- cited work: 3953566
Interpreting search results
When you've entered your search terms, click Search. If there are works that meet your search criteria, you will see a list that's similar to the one below.
From this screen, select the items you want to search as a cited work by either marking items individually or using the Select Page button. Then click Finish search. The results will show you references to items that have cited the work you searched for. Remember that only items published from the beginning date of coverage for the database onward will be retrieved (1955-present for Science Citation Index, 1975-present for Social Sciences Citation Index, and 1999-present for Arts & Humanities Citation Index.
Click on the hyperlinked reference to the full record for the item in the Web of Science database. When you're viewing the full record, you can click on the References link to see the bibliography of the item; you should find in the bibliography an entry for the cited work you searched for.
Truncate: To shorten a search term and replace the ending with a designated symbol. The search will then retrieve all terms that begin with the root you have entered and end with any letter or combination of letters. In Web of Science, the truncation symbol is an asterisk (*). So, for example, america* retrieves america, american, americans, americanization, etc. (Back to guide)
Source database: All items for which Web of Science provides complete bibliographic information. This includes articles in all journals indexed by Web of Science. It excludes books and items published before the beginning date of coverage for the database (1955 for Science Citation Index, 1975 for Social Sciences Citation Index, and 1999 for Arts & Humanities Citation Index). (Back to guide)