Monday, September 14, 2009

Citation Tracker: Monitoring Citations to your Publications

One of the common pastimes of academics is checking services such as Google Scholar to see the number of papers that cite our work. Quite often the statistics from Google Scholar, or from other services such as Web of Science, are used to create a citation report that is used for promotion and tenure purposes.

While Google Scholar is extremely valuable for finding papers that cite a particular piece of work, it has some shortcomings, especially when creating a citation report for promotion. First, Google Scholar does not differentiate between peer-reviewed (journal, conference, or workshop papers), and other publications (such as tech reports, or term papers); so, when preparing a citation report, I have to go over the list of papers, keeping the "legitimate" citations and removing the citations that are not admissible. Second, Google Scholar is noisy sometimes, and lists twice the same paper, or splits citations for the same paper into two different entries; some other times it does not include papers that are possible to find through a web search.

Another feature that I would really like to see is the ability to find the "new" citations for a given paper, creating the appropriate alerts. A simple RSS feed would work wonders, but it is not there.

Of course, Google Scholar also does not monitor the web to find other types of documents that may mention a particular paper. PhD seminars, or even blog posts, are things that I would like to keep track of when monitoring who cites my own work. Especially for such volatile pages, I typically want to keep a copy so that I can retrieve them a few years later, when compiling my promotion packet.

For this reason, over the summer, I created a tool that can augment Google Scholar and monitor Google Scholar (and other services like Libra, CiteSeerX, SSRN), and also monitor the Web (Google, Bing, Ask) for mentions of the paper.

You can access a pre-alpha version at

Some of the features:
  • Import publications from Google Scholar, DBLP, BibTeX, and manually.
  • Review the citations for each paper, and decide which ones to keep, which to discard, and which ones to examine later.
  • Monitor citation services (Google Scholar, Libra, CiteSeerX, SSRN) and see notifications when new citations to your papers appear.
  • Generate automatically a citation report, listing the papers that cite your work.
I have been using the service over the last few weeks and it seems reasonably stable. I import my papers using Google Scholar, "accept" the existing citations, and then wait to see about the new citations that pop up every now and then. I find it pretty useful for finding new papers that cite my work.

Over the last few days I even started importing papers from other researchers that I consider relevant to my work, and for which I want to see what new papers cite them.

Feel free to login and play with the system. Needless to say, it is an early release so I expect to see bugs here and there. If you see any bug, or if you would like to see a new feature, please add a note using the "feedback" tab that is visible on the side of the screen.