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CHEM6612: Scientific Communication in Chemistry II


Citation Structure and Search

Search for Citations

In theory, authors cite an item because it is relevant to the topic of their own work. The original and best-known database for citation searching is Web of Science. Another option is Scopus. Other databases have added this feature, but their citation coverage is weak for older articles.

Web of Science retrieves far more citations for this older article than SciFindern does

Web of Science SciFindern
Web of Science search result for a 1984 article, cited 52 times. Citation link circled in red. SciFinder-N search result for the same 1984, cited only 14 times. Citation links circled in red.


  • Each library database covers a different range of journals, and citation search results will be limited to that collection of journals
  • Because there are many ways to incorrectly cite an article, a citation search is never 100% complete
  • Sometimes authors cite research because they are discussing problems with the methods and/or conclusions

Use Citation Search Results

Use database citation search features to see if a paper is cited by other authors. Ideally, you can find articles which get cited in newer journal articles written by

  • A variety of authors
  • Authors from other labs and institutions
  • Experts on the broad or parent topic(s) of the article

Citation Style

"Correct" citation style is whatever a publisher or instructor requests. Consult these books for ACS style:

Consult these resources for journal abbreviations:

Citation Management (4:43)

Here are tools you can use to store, organize, share, and cite your sources. Use the tool recommended by your instructor or your PI.