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Research Metrics Toolkit

“I'm applying for a grant, and I need to talk about my research impact. How do I find out if my publications have been cited by other Law scholars?”

Metrics for Law Researchers

As with many non-STEMM disciplines, research excellence in Law is assessed based on peer review, rather than purely citation analysis

Even by comparison with other disciplines in the social sciences or humanities, citation numbers in Law are generally low. 

Metrics information therefore tends to be developed into specific illustrations or narratives of research impact, rather than "the numbers simply speaking for themselves".

You can find illustrative descriptions of highly-regarded and impactful Law research at the following links:

Practical Challenges

Collecting citations and metrics for Law researchers faces a number of specific challenges:

  • Full-text indexing, which is essential to collecting citation data, varies significantly from database to database in Law (depending on publisher permissions), more so than in other disciplines.
  • Even where full-text indexing is available, legal articles often do not include a bibliography (and use only footnotes for citations). This makes it much more difficult to compile “cited by” totals
  • Some legal databases reference journal articles without including the author’s name.

In most cases, therefore, accurate legal citation results require full-text manual searching by publication title, as well as manual searching by author name.

How to: Search strategies


Source types (article, book, book chapter, etc.)

In other disciplines, different databases specialise in providing metrics data about different kinds of publications (e.g. journal article, book, book chapter, etc.).

However, obtaining metrics data in Law is a much more manual exercise (owing to the challenges summarised above).

This means that the same approach - manual searching by title and author - is usually the best option, irrespective of what kind of source you are searching for.

Databases where you are likely to find references to your work (with advice about how to search them) are listed below.


Give careful thought to record-keeping, ideally before you start.

  • It can be advisable simply to use a spreadsheet or Word document.

Some things to bear in mind:

  • When searching across databases, it can be difficult to identify duplicates.
  • Citation numbers are generally (very) low in the Law discipline.
  • For these reasons, it may be useful to include in your records specific information about citing references (e.g. Title, Author, etc.).

Even if you have not used EndNote before, compiling an EndNote library of references that have cited your work can be an excellent resource. Using EndNote, you can:

  • export detailed citation data from many databases with a few clicks
  • easily identify duplicate references
  • see at a glance who is citing your work and in what context

If you think EndNote could assist you and are not sure where to start, please feel free to contact your Librarian.

Explore citing references

Remember that,

  • there are more ways to have impact in Law than simply to be cited in academic works
  • in a field where citation numbers are low and peer review is decisive, the context surrounding citing references can provide important evidence of impact

For example,

  • has your work been cited by esteemed authors (e.g. professors of international standing, textbook authors, judges), or in journals that have a high impact factor?
  • has your work, or an article that cited your work, been referred to in a judicial or administrative decision?
  • is your work listed in non-academic documents relied on by legal researchers and practitioners (e.g. CaseBase or FirstPoint case summaries)?
  • have you been cited by policy reports or textbooks?


As a Law researcher, you may at various times have to provide evidence of your research impact to audiences or reviewers who are not from a legal background.

Hence it may be helpful, as you compile metric information, to consider how it might be framed numerically to impress a non-legal reader.

e.g. X publication has 10 citations in Google Scholar, 6 of these in journals with an A or A* ranking in the ABDC Journal Quality List (Australia's most authoritative journal ranking index for the Law discipline). 

Caution: Author profiles

To work with most of the metrics described in this guide, you will need to update and maintain your author profiles regularly. Author profiles are the foundation for bibliometric analysis.

You must maintain and update your author profiles (even those created for you) to:
  • Be able to quickly gather accurate research metrics
  • Ensure publications are correctly attributed to you
  • Ensure publications are correctly attributed to Deakin
  • Ensure your work is seen in its best light by reviewers who may use these database products as part of their assessment.

Find out more about Author Profiles.

How to: Instructions for Law databases


  1. Search title in “”
  2. Use Advanced Search – Choose “Anywhere” or “Document text – FT*” for a full-text search. (Not “NOFT”)


  1. Search title in “”
  2. Use the category Title, Abstract, Keywords & Full Text


  1. Search title in “”
  2. Use both “Simple Search” and “Advanced Search”
  3. To search all databases,
    • click on “Change Databases”
    • open “Select by Database” name
    • click on “Select All”
    • double-check that “AGIS Plus Text” is selected
  4. In Advanced Search, choose All Fields and Full Text.

Web of Science

  1. Search title in “”
  2. Basic Search
  3. Also perform a Cited Reference Search
  4. Also perform an Advanced Search in the form: TI=(”Title”)

Lexis Advance

  1. Search title in “”
  2. Choose Everything

Lexis Advance US

  1. Search title in “”
  2. Choose Everything
  3. Results as they first appear are limited to Cases and are likely to be 0. After searching, go to Select Category (top left) and select Secondary Sources.

Lexis Practical Guidance

  1. Search title in “”
  2. Choose Everything

LexisNexis Capital Monitor

  1. Select Advanced Search
  2. In Search For, search title in “”
  3. Select All for each of the five options (Media, Legislation, etc.)


  1. Use Advanced Search
  2. Choose Entire Document


  1. Search title in “”
  2. Default option is full-text search of all databases.


  1. Search title in “”
  2. Select Title, Abstract, Keywords.
    • If result is No documents were found, check whether there are secondary results, and if so Click here.
    • In Secondary Results, click Cited By.
    • This approach has resulted in more results than an initial search of All Fields.

Westlaw Australia

  1. Search title in “”. Default Search is Free Text.
  2. For KeyCite reports, click to exclude case reports, etc. Include only the KeyCite report (which will include the citation).

Thomson Reuters Westlaw

  1. Search title in “”
  2. Default Search is All Content.
  • Check Secondary Sources in the menu on the left.
  • Sometimes Westlaw does not show all results. Be sure to click Show all if available.

Westlaw UK

  1. Search title in “”
  2. Default Search is Document Free Text.
  • NB: If multiple sources are included for references in the results (e.g. transcripts of argument, decisions, etc.), the highlighted results are those that contain the search terms. Non-highlighted documents do not contain the search results.


  1. Search title in “”
  2. Choose Search All Databases.

Google Scholar

  1. Search title in “

The h-index is the number of publications (h) which have been cited at least (h) times each. For example, a researcher who has an h-index of 10, has at least 10 publications which have each been cited at least 10 times.

For Law researchers, the easiest way to find your H-Index is to create a Google Scholar author profile and include all of your publications.

  1. Go to Google Scholar

  2. Click on 'My Citations'

  3. Login to your personal Google account (or create one if you don't already have one). Google recommends you use a personal account (not your employers account) so you can keep your profile

  4. Complete the form (you need to include your university email address for inclusion in Google Scholar search results) and click 'Next Step'

  5. Google scholar will provide you a list of publications which it thinks belong to you:

    • Click on 'See all Articles' to select individual articles. Scroll through the list and deselect any publications which are not yours

    • If any of your publications are missing, click 'Search articles' to perform a search in Google Scholar to add each of your remaining articles. Click Add to select articles.

  6. Choose whether you want Google to automatically add new publications to your profile or whether you want to do so manually

    • Allowing Google to automatically add new publications can save you time but may erroneously add publications that aren't yours (especially if you have a common name). You also always have the option of manually searching for and adding publications to your profile.

  7. Review your profile, upload a photo, and go to your university email to click on the verification link. Once you are satisfied with your profile, make it public so it appears in Google Scholar search results

  8. Your H-Index will appear in the author details to the right of your profile.

Caution: Google Scholar

Citations tracked by Google Scholar are not controlled for quality in the same way as Scopus or Web of Science. Metrics from Google Scholar may appear higher and may include errors. However, it can provide better indexing of journal articles and citations in disciplines such as the humanities and social sciences, than the traditional citation databases.

The Deakin BusLaw Faculty publishes an agreed ranking of journal and book publisher quality, which contains journal rankings relevant for both the Deakin Business School (DBS) and Deakin Law School (DLS).

Specific journal rankings relevant to the Law discipline are also available at: