Articles on: Search

How does Citation Statement Search work?

Citation Statements (sometimes known as citances) are the sentences surrounding a citation or reference within a publication.

For example, the following is a citation statement from Neighborhood Change and Crime in the Modern Metropolis Kirk and Laub (2010) to Crack, Cocaine and Heroin: Drug Eras in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 1960-2000 Curtis (2003)

Yet, this accessibility contributed to gentrification in the 1980s. As Curtis (2003) observes, residents displaced from Manhattan in the mid-1980s because of rising rents flocked to nearby Williamsburg. Many boarded-up buildings and abandoned industrial areas, some of which were used as "shooting galleries" and drug stashes, were transformed into lofts and condos for gentrifiers.

With scite Citation Statment Search you are able to search our entire database of citation statements which numbers almost 1 billion citation statements. Using Citation Statement search allows you to search for how anything was mentioned in the scholarly literature from datasets, methods, protocols, assets, and research products to specific results, claims, and arguments.

For example, if you are interested in a particular fact you might search "Rate of chromosome missegregation in HeLa Cells" and get the following results:

Finding the rate of chromosome missegregation in HeLa Cells

How to interpret search results?

The search results are citation statements that were matched to the keywords you searched in order of relevance. The black bold text is the metadata of the citing publication. The blue text is the citation to the cited publication. Other citations are underlined and are the co-citations. All references and citations can be explored by hovering over them or clicking them.

The citation statement is also composed of the following:
- A scite badge indicating how many citations a publication has recieved and how many of those mentions are supporting, contrasting, or mentioning
- A classification indicating if the citation statment is supporting, contrasing, or mentioning the cited publication in blue.
- An indicator showing the section the paper has come from (introduction, methods, results, discussion, or other)
- Various badges showing things like if a publication has been retracted, if it's a preprint, and more.

Why search citation statements?

Here are a few reasons why you might want to search citation statements

I am a student and I am not sure what I should be citing in my research paper

One of the magic things about searching citation statements is that you can find appropriate references while your are writing a paper!

You can do this by simply copying and pasting the sentence you wish to support from your manuscript such as "Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective intervention for depression" into the search.

Now you will be able to see how other authors might have made a similar claim and what publications they have used to support it.

A search result for "Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective intervention for depression"


You should always critically examine every publication you intend to cite, just because another author has cited something to support one of their claims doesn't make it correct. This type of citation making is called out-of-context or miscitation and is common enough in the litearture that you should be cautious whenever you cite something. One way scite can help you do this, is you can read what others are saying about the publication you intend to cite in a scite report. In the example above not only should you read Tolin (2010) but you should see if his publication has been supported by others (see the scite report for Tolin (2010))

I am a researcher and I want to understand how a particular dataset is used

A common challenge for researchers is understanding how a particular dataset is used. Often times a title and abstract do not indicate how a dataset was used or what dataset was used to support their results. As a researcher wanting to employ a dataset that you might be unfamiliar with, you need to read widely on how it's used.

Citation Statement search can help you with this by allowing you to search for mentions of datasets within the literature. For example, we might want to know how the Propbank, a linguistics dataset, was used. By performing a search for Propbank we can see its various uses and, more importantly, critical discussion of it's usage and other more robust or relevant datasets.

Example of paper using the Propbank dataset

I am a pharmaceuticals researcher and I want to know how a particular research asset, reagent, or drug is being discussed in the literature

Another use case for Citation Statment search is stying on top of how research assets you might be developing or referencing are used. Often times, both full-text and publication metadata search are not adequet for capturing mentions of specific assets and presenting them in a way that helps you as a researcher understand how an asset is being used. This results in many hours spent on collecting mentions to specific assets by searching for, purchasing, and reading many potentially irrelevant publications.

With Citation Search you can just search the asset directly and understand how it's used across the literature. In the example below, a search for the drug Ladasten, shows comprehensive results for it's various uses in the literature.

A search for mentions of Ladasten

There are many more use cases such as finding how certain methods were used, understanding a particular research result or claim, and identifying certain facts and figures.

In full-text search like dimensions or google scholar allow you to search within an entire publication. However, the return results don't show you the context in where and why the keywords or phrases where used. The results presented are small snippets of the text where the word occurs or simply the metadata of the publication. These results tend to lack relevance and precision because the keywords a simply matched anywhere in the text and it can be very hard to understand if the search results are going to be useful unless you got in and purchase the full text article.

In contrast, Citation Statement search shows you exactly why and where a keyword or phrase was used by showing the entire citation context including not only fully complete surrounding sentences but also the section (such as methods, results, or discussion) the match occured, whether the returned paper is a preprint, whether it's been retracted, whether it's been supported or contrasted by other works and more. By presenting results in context, you are presented with much more relevant and contextualized search results that can ensure you are not wasting time or money investigating irrelevant research.

Exact matches, Boolean Search, Grouping, and more

You can use quotes around set of terms and you will be able to make an exact search for that specific phrase. We do not currently support exact term search for a specific term.

Example: "Genetic engineering"

We support the following boolean search operators: AND, OR, NOT with brackets defining groups of keywords that can be grouped together.

Example: ("nuclear power" AND fission) NOT fusion

We also support wildcards, fuzzy term operators, and more. For the additional syntax refer to this guide as we support all the functionality presented by elastic search query string parser:

Where can I learn more?

Soon we will have a guide explaining all the use cases and features of citation statement search but in the mean time you can contact us at if you have any questions.

Updated on: 10/22/2021

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