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Undertaking Citation Analysis By Contextualization: Introduction

Traditional Citation Analysis

Citation analysis has long been a fundamental tool for understanding academic works' impact, influence, and interconnections. Traditional citation analysis focuses on the number of times a paper is cited. Besides, other metrics such as h-index and journal impact factor, researchers also use citation-based rankings to evaluate the scholarly impact of individuals, journals, or institutions.

Citation Context Analysis

Citation context analysis is to analyze the textual context of citations within academic papers. Understanding the context of a citation helps researchers evaluate the relevance and significance of the cited publication within the broader scholarly conversation.

In this guide, we are going to introduce several tools to see how their papers are being cited by the specific context in which the citations occur. With the help of these tools, we can know why a particular paper was cited and how it influenced the citing work.





Web of Science is a comprehensive research database that provides access to a vast collection of scholarly literature across diverse disciplines. It releases citation classifications that help users understand why others have cited an article. These classifications include Background, Basis, Discuss, Support, and Differ

  • Background - previously published research that provides context for the current study within a scholarly area
  • Basis - report the data sets, methods, concepts, and ideas used directly or as a foundation for the author's work
  • Support - have similar results to the current study, potentially due to similarities in methodology or replication of results
  • Differ - have differing results compared to the current study
  • Discuss - references are mentioned because the current study is going into a more detailed discussion

Sort by citation use

Web of Science also allows you to sort search results by citation classification to see which results were most frequently cited for the selected purpose.


scite helps you understand an article by extracting its citations and determining whether it has received support, mentions, or contrasting references from other publications. 

Highlights of Scite

  • Identify key arguments from over 1.2 billion citation statements and sort papers based on support or contrast.
  • Perform Reference Check to easily see if any references in a document have been disputed or retracted.
  • Creating dashboard to better evaluate and keep track of groups of articles or your reference manager library.
  • Launch the extension to allow users to view how works are cited when reading an online article.

More features of the citation context analysis can be provided from the other guide "AI Research Tools for Literature Reviews".

Semantic Scholar is an artificial intelligence-powered academic search engine that provides researchers with advanced tools and features to explore scholarly literature. In addition to providing the total number of citations, Semantic Scholar can also identify:

  • Highly Influential Citations - include works that have received a large number of citations and are frequently referenced by other researchers.  
  • Background Citations - provide foundational knowledge and context for a research study.
  • Methods Citations - refer to references that describe the research methodologies, techniques, or experimental approaches used in a study.
  • Results Citations - refer to the findings, results, or conclusions of a research study. 

No login is required to use Semantic Scholar, however a personal account is needed when saving papers and receiving custom alerts.


Scholarly is an AI-powered article summarizer to read and process the references within the text. Unlike Semantic Scholar and Scite which focus on how others cite the target paper, Scholarcy explores how the target paper is citing others. It breaks down papers into sections like key concepts, tables, figures, methods, results, limitations, funding, ethics, and references for analysis, focusing on how the target paper cites others.

You can find the analysis results under the “Comparative analysis” section. The Comparative analysis can highlight:

  • ‍‍How the study differs from previous research
  • How the study builds on previous research
  • Counterpoints the study has made compared to earlier claims/research
  • Confirmations of earlier findings




Overall, you are suggested to use different tools we introduced above for analyzing papers of your interest during your literature review. Here is the table for comparing these tools for citation context analysis:

Tools Citation Types Other Features Reference
Semantic Scholar 1. Cites Background
2. Cites Method
3. Cites Results
Identifies Highly Influential Citations webpage
scite 1. Mentioning cite
2. Supporting cite
3. Contrasting cite
1. Detects retracted and withdrawn papers
2. Allows citation statement searches
Web of Science 1. Background
2. Basis
3. Discussion
4. Support
5. Differ
Sorts search results by citation classification webpage
Scholarcy 1. Builds on previous work
2. Differs from previous work
3. Confirms previous work
4. Counterpoints previous work
Analyzes references used in a paper instead of cited references