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Cited Reference Searching: A How-To Guide

This guide covers search techniques and resources that offer the ability to search the list of references (or footnotes) found in journal articles, books, websites, etc.

Need to eliminate self-citations?

We regularly get asked for information on how to eliminate self-citations from search results.

For those who have a small number of citations (or who are regularly the first author on a paper) this can easily be done by visually scanning through the results list and deleting self-citations. Those who have a longer scholarly record or are not the first author (such as papers first-authored by graduate students) will find it a bit more difficult to eliminate self-citations.

Within the Web of Science and Scopus it is possible to do this by knowing where it is hidden within these databases.

Web of Science

  • Run an author search and pull the results up on the screen.
  • Scroll down and look for Citation Network box (in right sidebar) and click on View Citation Report.
  • Note the Citing Articles and Times Cited boxes offer "without self-citation" options.


  • Run an author search and click on the name of the author to bring up their Author Profile page.
  • Below the citation trends graph, click on Analyze Author Output.
  • Scroll down to the h-index graph box and click on it.
  • Exclude self-citations is a link above the graph.

Google Scholar:  It is not possible to eliminate self-citations in an author profile directly; however, this feature is available using the free Publish or Perish software.