Politics may be all about who you know, but scholarship is all about who you cite. And who cites you. And how many times you’ve been cited. Here are some basic questions and answers. For more information, see our Scholarly Metrics guide.

Q: Can I go to one database and find how many times my articles have been cited and my h-index?
A: Sorry, no. There is no one database that indexes ALL the literature and provides metrics. A database produces metrics based on the journals it indexes. Checking more than one database will let you cover the most literature.

Q: What if I’ve published using different names?
A: Name variations are important because the data are pulled together by author. And I don’t mean only a last name change through marriage or divorce. A database can consider Jane W. Smith, J.W. Smith, and J. Smith, three different authors. ORCID is a group trying to develop a way to uniquely identify each author or contributor. Until that happens, you’ll have to sort through all the other people who share your name and initials.

Q: What about books? Can I track citations to my books, too?
A: There aren’t too many options available for book authors. Google Scholar reports citations to books. (See an interesting exercise using Google Scholar.) The problem with Google Scholar is that you can’t get a list of what books and journals they’ve searched; most databases do provide that kind of list. Some databases, like PsycINFO, report citations to book chapters, treating them like journal articles.

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