#Finding scientific information: Cited reference search

Cited reference search

Citations from other articles used in a schloarly article can be utilized in many ways. Using referencing and citation information a researcher can keep track of the attention received by his/her own articles or those of competitiors, keep track of the development and impact of research results or scientific theories, and establish who are the most significant reasearchers in her/his field. With the help of the references in a relevant article that has already been found, you can find the original articles that deal with the same subject, or are based on the same methodology; and later articles can also be found if they cite the original one.

In those databases that include reference and citing information, citations from articles or authors can be found using links like: Citing Documents, Cited By or Times Cited. The list of references can be found with the link Cited References. In addition, many databases have the Related Articles or Related Records link to similar articles, which contain the same refences as the articles at hand. However, you should remember that the reference information received from the reference databases are never complete because they contain only references from articles published by journals in that database, and they do not normally include citations made in books. In addition, reference information may contain errors, mainly caused by inconsistent spelling forms of names.

In some databases, such as the Web of Science and Scopus, you can perform seperate Cited Reference Searches. A Cited Reference Search focuses on bibliographies given in articles of those journals tracked by the database, i.e. it takes advantage of citations and references produced by authors themselves. In a Cited Reference Search you can find articles that cite a particular article or articles by a particular author. The starting point for such a search is either an article which is relevant to your own research topic or an important author.


Cited Reference Search in the Web of Science database

Cited Reference Search can be used for finding articles related to a particular article or author. It takes into account also faulty or incomplete references, and thus gives a search result with better coverage than that obtained by the Web of Science Search command, where the Times Cited function only returns faultless references.

The significance of a 'Cited Reference Search' is found by examining the adjacent example. The record for the article 'Genetic testing for children and adolescents - who decides' by Wertz et al., which appeared in JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association in 1994 was accessed using a basic search in the Web of Science service. According to the record, this particular review article has been cited 190 times.
Image source: Thomson Web of Knowledge (Web of Science) <http://apps.webofknowledge.com/> 25.8.2014.

In the user interface of Cited Ref Search, information on the author and publication is entered in the relevant field. With the author's name, it is advisable to use a truncation symbol in order to include all variations and pseudonyms referring to the same name. With the name of the publication, the journal's official title JAMA and the official abbreviation J AM MED ASSOC are used in this context. Abbreviations for journals can be found using the 'List of journal abbreviations' link. It is recommended to always use truncation symbols with publications too.
Image source: Thomson Web of Knowledge (Web of Science) <http://apps.webofknowledge.com/> 28.7.2011

After pressing the Search button, we obtain a list of times cited references from the database that meets the search conditions. This time around, the search has produced five references that all seem to refer to the same article, but they are formulated in different ways. In the reference that has been cited 190 times, the information is correctly recorded and these are the same references as those found with the Search function. In addition to these, there are a further four incorrectly recorded references to the article in question (see page number, year). Additionally, instead of using the author's full initials DC, simply D has been used, so the truncation used with the name proved necessary. With this Cited Reference Search we found a further seven articles which include a reference to the article we are interested in. These articles can be looked at more closely by first marking them in the 'Select' and, then clicking the 'Finish Search' button.
Image source: Thomson Web of Knowledge (Web of Science) <http://apps.webofknowledge.com/> 25.8.2014.

When looking for citations from a particular author's articles, you need to fill in only the author's name field in the Cited Reference Search form. From the search result, you select the correct persons, and then complete the search as in the previous example.

Cited Reference Search in the Scopus database

Scopus contains reference information from the year 1996 onwards, so its cited reference search cannot be used for any older references. Its cited reference search can be used for searching for particular articles or for articles citing a particular author.

This example contains a search for citations of articles by a particular author. In this image, references to the articles by an author called Schellenberg, E have been searched. The search was executed using the Author Search function.
Image source: Scopus <http://www.scopus.com> 23.8.2013

The right person is selected from the results by ticking the name, and the citations can be obtained by clicking the View citation overview button
Image source: Scopus <http://www.scopus.com> 23.8.2013

The articles by Schellenberg, E. and the citations received by them in the Scopus database. You can exclude the author's self citations or all authors' self citations. The results can be organised according to the publication date or the number of citations. You can also select a date range, from which the annual citation numbers are given.
Image source: Scopus <http://www.scopus.com> 23.8.2013