Skip to Main Content

Web of Science: Using a Citation Database: Find Highly Cited Papers: Practice

Launch Web of Science

Web of Science can be accessed using the link below.  This link, along with the links to Web of Science on the library homepage and the databases page, allow users to access the resource from both on- and off-campus.

Sort by Times Cited

Papers that have been cited hundreds or thousands of times are usually seminal works

Web of Science  allows you to sort search results by Times Cited. When used with an effective search strategy this can be an effective way to find the most influential papers on a particular topic or by a particular author.

Try It

To find some of the most important papers about flu vaccines, do a Topic search for (influenza OR flu) AND vaccin*.

In the Sort by drop-down menu, select Times Cited.

The papers at the top of the Search Results list have each been cited many hundreds of times: they are influential papers that many researchers have read.

Highly cited papers are likely to be older than more recent papers — there has been more time for researchers to read and use them in newer research. 

tipTip: Use the Publication Years search refinement option available along the left-hand side of the page to filter your search results to more recent dates, and to see the papers that have had the most influence in recent years.