Nowadays, citations rates are far from simple. When I was gearing up in my research career, there were many fewer journals in one’s field. The graduate students and PDFs all aspired to get published in those journals that were high impact journals. Then it became clear that even papers in lower-impact journals could themselves have high, often very high, citation rates. It was really about the quality of the research. You heard ‘lab legends’ of bad papers being cited frequently as how ‘not’ to do something; but these papers just tend to be forgotten. When one points out obvious flaws of inference, logic and/or design in a study, there is really no need to revisit it, else one is accused of building straw men. We also have heard that citations are not everything; and indeed, they aren’t. Citation rates can be discipline specific and subject to bandwagons. But, they are still a useful metric.
Fast forward to ~20+ years later, a time when we can track our impact as researchers and collaborators with such mainstream applications as google scholar, researcherid, researchgate, or orcid and probably other systems I have not heard of. You can get your citations and track your collaborators or colleagues’ papers with a few appropriate clicks. e-go!
Google scholar http://scholar.google.ca is easy. There is very little set up time. You just get a list of papers that you have authored or coauthored, tagged as such and you are well on your way to getting your lifetime h-factor and i10 factors, materializing. Google scholar allows you to self identify, track relevant papers and see new citations to existing papers. It captures a lot of the papers you have published. Google scholar also tends to include citations from non-peer reviewed sources, but in the parlance of today that is not a bad thing. It might well point to knowledge mobilization.
A second service is ResearchGate https://www.researchgate.net/home.Home.html. It is also relatively easy to sign on to. In fact, I do not remember even doing it. One can track what colleagues and collaborators are doing in a particular field, ask burning questions about anything, and update your profile with projects you currently working on. ResearchGate tends to ping your email every time someone visits your domain, downloads a paper, or updates their photo. I am sure there is a way to turn this off, but best left to those more tech savvy than I.
Other tracking systems include researcherid http://www.researcherid.com which dovetails with orcid (which, from their website http://orcid.org/, is a not-for profit organization to “provide a registry of unique researcher identifiers and a transparent method of linking research activities and outputs to these identifiers”). Researcherid is a Thomson Reuters product that interfaces well with Endnote Web. The papers appear easily which forgoes the need to have reprints hosted on your own website. Like other tracking methods, Researchid allows your to tag interests or keywords for your research. Such systems might be good for matchmaking researchers to funding opportunities. The citations per paper on Researcherid tend to be less than on GoogleScholar, perhaps because the former only includes citations from peer-refereed sources.
I am currently on three of these outlets and tracking systems. I am not brave (or e-literate) enough to venture into discussions of which is the best or even the most versatile. That might well depend on your own needs. I will venture to claim, however, that the systems all provide another means of dissemination of your work and likely will lead to greater uptake of your work and possibly even further translation and mobilization of your work than just relying on posting Cvs to your own web page. Now that is passé.
Professor & student