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Cited reference searching can aid in

  • Finding current publications on a topic
  • Seeking trends in a research field
  • Identifying top researchers in a discipline
  • Tracking the history of a research topic
  • Tracking your own or colleagues research

Databases can locate publications that cite a given work so you can trace how that work is cited after its publication. Cited reference searching will not work well for recently published works; allow authors time to cite a work after it is published.

Search results will depend greatly on the database you use; if an article cites a given publication, but the journal that article is published in is not indexed by your chosen database, then that citation will not appear in your search results. No database (including Google Scholar) will index every publication; thus no database will ever give you a complete list of works citing a specified publication.

Different publications will cite the same article differently; you will need to search variations of your author's name and publication title to ensure the best search results. Inconsistencies or outright errors in publication years, volume, and issues should be expected. For some articles, only the first listed author will be indexed. Search by the lead author for best results.

Cited reference searching works best for journal articles, though book citations are beginning to be tracked more often.

  • BioOne


    In BioOne , use the advanced search screen to perform a Reference search.

  • EBSCOhost databases

        EBSCOhost interface

    EBSCOhost databases (particularly the Complete databases that are large and contain lots of full-text articles) tracks citations to articles in a given database from articles in that same database. (This is a more limited list than other cited reference tools.) Start by finding your article. If there are citing publications in the EBSCOhost database, you will see a Times Cited in this Database link.

  • Google Scholar

        Google Scholar search results

    Google Scholar tracks citations to the articles and other documents in its database. Start by finding your article (probably by searching the title). Then look for the Cited By link beneath the result.

  • HeinOnline

        Hein Online

    HeinOnline shows how often a law journal article has been cited by other articles in HeinOnline. Cited references available for articles from the 1950s onward.

  • IEEE Xplore


    IEEE Xplore Digital Library displays cited references on a tab at the bottom of a citation screen.

  • ProQuest

        ProQuest search screen

    ProQuest will display cited references for other articles or dissertations in a ProQuest database.

  • PsycNet

        PsycNET from APA

    PsycNET from APA provides cited references of articles and book chapters from 2001 to present but can be as far back as 1926. Some books are also covered.

  • Pubmed

        National Library of Medicine

    PubMed/MEDLINE from the NLM offers a limited version of cited reference searching. PubMed records which are cited by articles in the PubMed Central database, can be found on the abstract page for a record. You can look for them on the right-hand side of the page, below the “Related citations in PubMed” section. The cited references link to the PubMed records, which in turn link to the full text articles since PubMed Central is an open access database.

  • Reaxys


    Reaxys will display cited references to other articles in Reaxys.

  • ScienceDirect

    ScienceDirect can search bibliographies of articles on that platform for cited references to an author or article.
  • Scifinder Scholar

        SciFinder Scholar

    In SciFinder , find an article in the database and look for Citings.

  • Web of Science

        ISI Web of Science

    Web of Science: Citation Databases from Thomson has long been the primary tool for performing cited reference searches. If your article was published in one of the journals, conference proceedings, or books tracked in the database, you can find citing sources from these publications and many other publications not tracked by Web of Science.

Cited reference searching starts with a specific article, book, or other publication. Usually your first step is to find that publication in the database you are using. That may mean searching the title, but sometimes you'll use the author's name. Since citations for this publication can vary, expect the need to select from among variations or to perform multiple searches and combining the results.

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