Citations of articles, books and other products


Citations are explicit references in scientific/scholarly literature (books, edited volumes, journals, scientific forums) to research products or outputs.



Citations, in the sense of references, can be interpreted as evidence of use and thus of impact on peers. They occur in footnotes or endnotes in books, edited volumes and journals, and in scientific/scholarly forums provide material support for a scientific or scholarly claim. 

References as used in certain prescribed domains or subdomains of the humanities can be analysed using standardised methods, in the form of citation analyses (see box). That is not true in other domains, however, and references there will have to be presented as part of the narrative. 



References can be presented in the narrative as evidence of use by peers.



Reasoned indicator, as part of narrative; standardised in some domains (see box). 


Citation analysis as standardised method

If the literature in which references occur are tracked systematically in such databases as Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar. citation analysis may also be used. This is true of a small number of disciplines in the humanities, specifically most of the subdisciplines of linguistics, and those domains or subdomains tending more towards the social sciences. For a more detailed explanation, see Bibliometric tools


Special use of citation analysis:

  • Citation analyses involve looking closely at the degree of comparability between research units. One should always compare units working in the same domain.
  • Hybrid publications: Citations found using Google Scholar may be useful to indicate use of research products in hybrid publications. This is optional. The number of citations is not very important, and should only be used to indicate use in the scientific domains, as distinct from use by societal target groups. More information is available in the section on Hybrid publications.
  • For more information on citations and indicators derived from citation accounts, such as the h-index, read further in the section on Bibliometric tools.