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Legal education and research for Law academics: Track your citations

Why should you track your citations?

Citation tracking and analysis are used by academics to track and measure the use and research impact of their work. It can be useful for supporting grant applications and promotions, and for identifying other scholarly work (and authors) that may be of interest in your research areas of interest. It is not a measure in itself of excellent research and should be used in conjunction with qualitative measures. 

Research impact can also be measured more broadly in terms of contribution to society and the economy. See more on research impact using the navigation on the left.

There is no one stop shop for law citation tracking, as law publications are spread across a large number of databases and websites. You will need to search across the major law databases and free sites, and depending on your areas of research, you may also need to search in databases from other disciplines. 

As well as searching in journal databases, don't forget to search on e-book platforms, case law databases, AustLII, law reform and parliament. 

Set up a Google Scholar  Scholar  Profile to see citations harvested by Google. Follow these easy instructions.

Citation analysis databases, which calculate metrics such as the h-index (measures the productivity and impact of a particular scholar), include Scopus and Web of Science. These are of limited use in the social sciences. Google Scholar is more useful, due to its timliness and inclusion of books, book chapters, conference papers, and other sources. Google Scholar Metrics calculates its own version of the h-index if you set up a profile. These metrics should be used with caution. See Professor Harzing's site for papers discussing citation analysis and assessment and research and journal quallity. 

Altmetrics (Alternative metrics) focus on readership and re-use indicators, and tracks less traditional and unpublished work, such as data sets, blogs and social media. Find out about the Altmetrics bookmarklet.

Please contact the Law Library research skills librarians if you would like any advice.

Search techniques

Generally, search using your first and last names, but you may need to add publication title keywords if there are too many false hits.

Note that different forms of name may be used in citations, eg initial only, middle initial, surname only. More common names may also need to be combined with words from the title of the publication. eg John Smith, John F Smith, John Frank Smith.
Think of the forms of names you have used to publish.

Use connectors relevant to specific databases. For example:

"john smith" (phrase search) 
john w/2 smith (w/2 takes into account middle initials) 
"john smith" /s sentencing (/s - within the same sentence)

Access all databases via the Databases library guide, or the Law databases specifically.

Keeping track of your citations

A suggested process:

1. Establish a master list of your publications using:

  • a simple Word document, divided by type of publication (books, chapters, articles, etc), then add cites under each publication, or
  • use bibliographic management software such as EndNote, setting up Groups for each publication, within which you can add each citation.

2 Think about the variations of your name and whether you will need to add search terms relevant to publication titles or more generally (eg. law).

3. Identify the databases relevant to your research interests.

4. Use this guide to help with searching specific databases. For each citation found add it to your master list, eg. copy/paste into Word under the relevant publication, or add it to the relevant  EndNote group. Some databases allow automatic exporting into EndNote. See instructions for EndNote export from Google Scholar.

5. If possible, set up an Alert within the database for future citations.