Cited Reference Searching & Journal Rankings: Promotion and Tenure

How to locate articles and other documents that have cited a previously published document. Also how to determine where a journal is ranked in relation to others in its field.

Using Metrics for Promotion & Tenure

This is a complex, labor-intensive process so allow plenty of time. This guide provides best practices and techniques to maximize search results and efficiency but a Research Consultation with a librarian can provide additional guidance.  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.


  • Ask about your unit's P&T committee's--as well as the University committee's--stance on counting self-citations.
  • Be aware of what resources your department and Marquette are willing to consider, e.g., does SCImago have credibility?  SCImago covers more journals, e.g. ~2x in dentistry, they can be useful for journal ranking info with their SJR.  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.

Resource 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 a bibliography of all citing documents in RefWorks, EndNote or similar software is useful for removing duplicates.  It is certainly possible that a publication cites two of your publications so proceed with caution.
  • Different strategies must be used for different resources. We provide step-by-step instructions in this guide.


Our Services to Faculty in Support of Promotion & Tenure

Librarians are available to provide training to faculty and/or their student assistants in measuring the impact of their research.  Contact your subject librarian to make an appointment to:

  • Identify and learn to use the best databases for cited reference searching in your field;
  • Determine journal impact factors and journal rankings by subject category;
  • Explore H-Index and other metrics for evaluating the impact of research;
  • Discover the problems and pitfalls of the process.

You can also make follow-up appointments if needed.