Every database does its own article level metrics. Web of Science is the standard database used at USC, although Scopus and Google Scholar have become more prevalent in academia.
At the article level, most are concerned with "citation count." It is the sum of the number of times the article has been cited in other works. This number can vary based on a number of factors:
- Does the database count self-citations? Often an author will cite some of their own previous work to help provide background information. Self-citations can skew citation counts quite drastically.
- How many journals does the database index? Web of Science, for example, does not index every journal published. They focus on the top 10,000+ journals in the field. So if Web of Science does not index the journal, it does not register in the citation count.
- What type of sources does the database index? Some databases also include conference proceedings, books, review articles, reference sources, etc. Citation counts will vary based on what sources are indexed.
For Web of Science, citation counts are located in the right hand side of each record.