Sometimes you need to find out quickly whether one of your papers has cited a particular researcher given only the name of that researcher. Is there a tool for that? Assume you have used the bibtex format so far to manage your references, but your bibtex files contain much more than what you've actually cited. You have no Zotero or Mendely and don't want to mess with them unless really necessary. You have your own webpage with lots of paper copies, and you have profiles at Google Scholar, ResearcherId, and Orcid.

Google Scholar and ResearcherID can tell you who cites you. As opposed to that, you wish to determine whether you cite someone else (or not). To start with, a binary answer (yes/no) would do. You would like to run such a query several times, one researcher at a time. Ideally, the query would give you some (or even all) of your papers which cite the given researcher, but it's not a must.

Surely you can do that by putting all your texts together, converting them all to text or html, and then searching there. This is tedious and error-prone, though. Is there any online (or offline) service for that, perhaps? The database in which the search is done must be a (possibly large) underapproximation of the papers you have written so far.

  • 1
    Just to clarify, is this a problem for you because of having a large number of papers whose bibliographies would have to be individually looked at (even taking into account that you'd only need to look at those papers relevant to that particular researcher's work) or because you're in one of the science fields in which papers tend to have many authors each and your bibliographies might only list the first two or three of the authors? Dec 28, 2017 at 6:56
  • @DaveLRenfro The first.
    – Leon Meier
    Dec 28, 2017 at 10:17
  • I'd like to attempt an answer, but could you please edit your question to explain WHY you want to do this? That would help people try to offer solutions to your root issue.
    – Tripartio
    Dec 28, 2017 at 11:43
  • Are you really interested in finding references from ALL the articles you have ever written, from ALL the artilces you have ever published (not the same thing as the prior group), or only those artilces indexed in Google Scholar, or only those articles in Web of Science, or only those articles in _______ (fill in the blank: other indexing service)? These are all different sets of articles, with different possible solutions, so please clarify exactly what you want. As I mentioned in my prior comment, explaining WHY you want to do this would help clarify matters.
    – Tripartio
    Dec 28, 2017 at 11:46
  • @Tripartio Text adapted.
    – Leon Meier
    Dec 28, 2017 at 11:57

3 Answers 3


If you are fine with looking at only Web of Science indexed articles then yes, this is easily possible using Web of Science.

  1. Do a "Cited Reference Search" and search for the name of the researcher you are interested in
  2. Select the publication of that researcher and hit "Finish Search", you now end up with a list of every paper citing the previously selected papers of that researcher
  3. Do a basic author search of your own name, you end up with a list of your own papers.
  4. Go to "Search History" and select these two searches and combine the two sets with the "AND" operator.

There's another way to do this using Web of Science. It will take some time and work to set up (depending on how many publications you have) but the process of checking can be automated afterwards. You have to create a list of all papers you cited which includes the author names of the cited papers.

  1. Search for your publications on Web of science
  2. For each publication open the details, on the right it shows the number of "Cited references", click on that number you end up with a list of papers you cited
  3. Export this list to endnote (you have to do this for every page)
  4. Eliminate duplicates in Endnote.

You now have an Endnote database with all the publications you cited which can easily be searched for authors.

  • Oh my gosh; that's a multi-step process. Does not look quick. But, thanks anyways; I'll try it out.
    – Leon Meier
    Dec 28, 2017 at 13:28
  • Well, i don't know how many you want to compare, if it's only a handful this is quite fast to do. Keep in mind you only need to do step 3 once and step 4 can be done extremly fast (like 3 seconds each) for several other researchers. The bonus is that you can also look into what paper exactly cited those researchers. If it's hundreds of researchers you want to look at then yes, this might get tricky and you need a list of all the papers you cited to do that, which might take a while to set up but then you can search automated.
    – user64845
    Dec 28, 2017 at 13:33
  • Added a different method to do this.
    – user64845
    Dec 28, 2017 at 13:44
  • There is a much simpler way to do this in WoS - run your search to identify your own papers, mark them, and "add to marked list". Then open up the marked list, tick "Cited References" in the export list, untick everything else (if you want), and export in your desired format. (There is a limit of 500 source papers here, but you're unlikely to hit that). The result will be details of every paper cited by one of your papers - not deduplicated unfortunately, but doing that should be simple. Dec 28, 2017 at 15:24
  • ...although the WoS export for cited refs lists lead authors only, boo! However, you can do it in Scopus: run search, select all items, then "view references" (it's in the "..." drop-down above the search results). This gives you a normal search-result type list, which you can export (with all names, thank goodness!) or filter within Scopus by anything including author names. Dec 28, 2017 at 15:35

Tools like recoll can be used to search a collection of documents for keywords. This will do the job as long as the author's name actually appears in one of your papers. However, it won't catch "et al." citations.


If you really want to search all the articles that you have written, then you shouldn't depend on an external service like Google Scholar or Web of Science to do that for you: you should assemble it yourself. Such indexes would only include the subset of your published articles that meet their indexing criteria. Moreover, I don't think that either of these services guarantee that they index the full text of all your articles that they index (they might have many, but probably not all).

So, there are at least two ways you could search your personal collection of your own articles:

  • I recommend that you add the full citations with the full text (PDF or word processor document) of all your articles to a reference manager like Zotero or Mendeley. Then you should assemble all your articles in one folder or collection, and then search the name of the authors you are seeking within that folder only. I recommend this solution because there are benefits to assembling your own articles into one folder beyond just this one assignment of identifying authors whom you have cited.
  • Another alternative is to put the full text of all your articles into one folder in your computer and then use a full text search tool to search that folder. I don't have any particular tool to recommend, but I know that there are a lot of free ones available.
  • Note that (up to copyright restrictions) you can put all you papers online and enter them into services such as google scholar.
    – Leon Meier
    Dec 28, 2017 at 12:18
  • Not really. If you you've published with a publisher that doesn't let Google Scholar index the full text, and doesn't let you publish a green open access version at an online location that Google Scholar can easily index it (e.g. it only allows posting on your "personal" website), then no, Google Scholar will not index the full text of all your articles. I believe that such restrictions are by design: I think this is why publishers willingly cooperate with a crippled Google Scholar.
    – Tripartio
    Dec 28, 2017 at 12:21
  • @Tripatio Sorry, I didn't get you. Assuming you entered your publications into your google-scholar profile and linked your personal webpage copies, will google scholar index these copies on your personal webpage or not?
    – Leon Meier
    Dec 28, 2017 at 12:24
  • You can't link articles to Google Scholar that it hasn't already indexed. Google Scholar has to first find the article and index it, and then you can add it to your personal profile. Google finds most articles, but I've had trouble with at least one of my articles in the green open access grey zone, even after following their instructions at scholar.google.com/intl/en/scholar/inclusion.html. In any case, even if you did get all your articles onto Google Scholar, I don't know how to search for specific keywords only within articles in a personal profile.
    – Tripartio
    Dec 28, 2017 at 12:42
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    If the journal you published in requires you to use "et al." in the references you might not find the author you are interested in even if you cited their work...
    – user64845
    Dec 28, 2017 at 13:22

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