“I am not a number. I am a Free Man*!”

* (Please note – this title is a quote from the 1967 British TV Series, The Prisoner. There are recognised issues of gender bias in citation and authorship across academia – this title was not intended to reflect that (and yes, the author was male). Please consider yourself equally free to be treated as a number rather than a person – whatever your gender identity – but recognise that those numbers may reflect bias in the practice of authors and reviewers) [ed: 17th July 2019]

Who is citing who?

We often (well, sometimes) get asked by students:-

– How do I know who has cited this work? (How do I do this?)

We more frequently get asked a similar question by our academic colleagues:-

– How do I know who has cited MY work? (How do I do this?)


Why would you not want to know who has been citing your research? It may just be to massage your ego, or it might offer an opportunity to re-evaluate your own work in the new light shed by others. It could offer an opportunity for a future collaboration, or a conversation starter with a citing author at an upcoming conference. Sometimes it is just nice to have that (often fleeting) sensation of finally having your value recognised by someone. Or often, sadly, being able to show how often you have been cited is the game you are forced to play for that next academic job application or promotion review.

When it comes to that last reason, the assumption is often that “bigger is better”. Whilst this may often be true, there is a lot of nuance to that question.. not least what might be understood to be “big” from one discipline to another. But, casting your eyes back to the title of this post, do you want ‘quality’ to be measured by a number? The answer to that question might be influenced by whether you’re a STEM or humanities scholar… or just whether you’re the person sitting on an interview panel with a long-list of over 500 applications to get through in far too little time. Continue reading ““I am not a number. I am a Free Man*!””

“Why, they must be superhuman, ultra-dedicated information-professional behemoths”

Scopus: the world’s most curated, authoritative database of peer-reviewed research literature. According to, well, the folk at Scopus. They also claim that content is curated from more than 5,000 publishers and divided into 27 major subject areas. And it includes:

  • 70,000 institutional profiles
  • 16 million active and historic researcher profiles
  • 70+ million records
  • 4 billion cited references

Big numbers there, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Given that Scopus is just one of the many, many databases available through Durham University Library, you may find yourself thinking:

“How do the Academic Liaison Librarian’s at Durham keep atop of the continual development of existing resources, along with the ever-growing number of new ones being added to Durham’s holdings? Why, they must be superhuman, ultra-dedicated information professional behemoths”

Of course, you’d be right. But in order to give ourselves a helping hand, we also take advantage of whatever opportunities arise to keep us fully-skilled – such as the Scopus Certification Program for Librarians, currently helping to keep the skills of a number of us as sharp a razor. A bibliographic database-shaped razor.

The program pledges to provide a greater insight into research sources, collaboration and metrics. This will allow us to expand our training and query-answering knowledge.

If you want to know more about Scopus, why not have an explore?


And if you need any help or support, just get in touch with your Academic Liaison Librarian:


Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑