Preparing for tenure and promotion is a complex, labor-intensive process, allow plenty of time and set up citation tracking as early as possible. Below are some best practices and techniques to maximize search results and efficiency. Some things to keep in mind:
- It is impossible to get a complete, accurate count of citing references.
- Errors in citations are common, therefore many ‘variant’ references occur. It is difficult to track them all down.
- Citation styles vary by publisher, search for different forms of author name and journal title.
- You'll reach a point of diminishing returns for your efforts.
- Appraisal is based upon both quantifiable impact and qualitative peer review.
Promotion, and Tenure (PT) Committees
- Ask about your unit's PT committee's--as well as the University's Office of Faculty Affairs--stance on counting self-citations
- Be aware of what resources your department and UB are willing to consider, e.g., does SCImago have credibility? SCImago covers more journals (for example: SCIMago covers 111 journals in Public Administration while Journal Citation Reports only has 47). They use a different formula than Journal Citation Reports so the two used in combination may give a better overall sense of a journal's influence.
- Ultimately, you must make a strong case for the impact of your scholarly work using whatever data you have available to you.
Databases and Tools Limitations
- No resource covers all citing sources; they only track what they track.
- Many subject databases have only recently begun to include/track reference lists thus may only include more recent citations to older publications.
- Some types of publications are not well covered: books, conference proceedings, and dissertations. This refers to both the original and citing documents.
- CAUTION: Be careful not to count the same citing publication more than once; the same citing publications will likely be found in more than one source. Creating an archive of all citing documents in Zotero, or similar software is useful for removing duplicates.
- Different strategies must be used for different resources.
Adapted with permission from Cited Reference Searching & Journal Rankings subject guide, Marquette University. Authors: Pat Berge, Rosemary Del Toro, Heather James, Martha Jerme [Accessed June, 2014].