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Patent “Sightings”: A Comparative Analysis of Patent Citation Search Tools Using Case Studies from the Engineering Literature

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Fifty Shades of Grey Literature

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1214.1 - 26.1214.13



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Paper Authors

author page

Michael J White Queen's University Orcid 16x16

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Patent “Sightings”: A Comparative Analysis of Patent Citation Search Tools Using Case Studies from the Engineering LiteratureCitation searching is a well-known and widely used technique for locating relevant articles vianetworks of cited references. Specialized citation databases such as Google Scholar, Scopus andWeb of Science facilitate citation searching by indexing hundreds of millions of references froma vast body of journal and conference literature. In recent years, many other discipline-specificdatabases have added citation indexing and search tools. Academic researchers also use citationmetrics such as the Impact Factor (IF) and h-index in order to assess the value and impact oftheir publications. The techniques used in citation searching and the calculation of citationmetrics can also be applied, with appropriate care, to the patent literature.Searching citations in patents and cited patents can retrieve new and relevant information on aninfinite number of engineering topics. It can also reveal connections between the journalliterature and patents and expose knowledge gaps for further exploration. Universities areincreasingly interested in assessing the value and impact of patents awarded to their faculty. Asmall but growing number of universities led by the University of Maryland and Texas A&Mnow give credit for patents in faculty tenure and promotion reviews.This paper explores the tools and strategies for searching cited patents and non-patent literature(NPL) references cited in patents using examples from the engineering literature. The authordiscusses patent citation practices and how citations appear in patent documents and databases.Strategies for searching patent and NPL citations in patents in selected databases are comparedand discussed, noting their respective advantages and limitations. The author also explains thepotential benefits and pitfalls of applying popular citation metrics to faculty patents anduniversity patent portfolios.

White, M. J. (2015, June), Patent “Sightings”: A Comparative Analysis of Patent Citation Search Tools Using Case Studies from the Engineering Literature Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24551

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