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Citation Analysis: Home

Explains how to use Web of Science and Scopus to conduct citation analysis.

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Terms & Definitions

Some commonly used terms in citation analysis:

Cited Reference
- articles that the original article cites

Citing Reference
- articles that cite the original article

Impact Factor
- The journal Impact Factor is the average number of times articles published in a journal in the past two years have been cited

h-index
- Measures the productivity and citation impact of the published work of a researcher, scientist or scholar
- h-index (or Hirsch index) = N
where N = no. of papers with N or more citations

Self-citation
- Self-citations refer to cited references that contain an author name that matches the name of the author of a citing article.

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Citation Analysis

"The starting point of all citation analysis studies is to count the number of times an article or author is cited in the scientific literature. On the general assumption that the number of citations reflects an article's influence, and therefore quality..."

Wade, N. (1975). Citation Analysis: A New Tool for Science Administrators.
Science, 188(4187), 429-432: 429 

 

 

“Citation analysis essentially involves counting the number of times a scientific paper or scientist is cited, and it works on the assumption that influential scientists and important works will be cited more frequently than others.” 

Meho, L. I. (2007). The rise and rise of citation analysis.
Physics World, 20(1), 32-36: 32

“Not everything that can be counted counts.
Not everything that counts can be counted.”

William Bruce Cameron (1963)
Informal sociology: a casual introduction to sociological thinking

It is important to note that as with numbers and statistics, it is often easy to manipulate citation count to show greater impact. Some ways where citations can be artificially inflated include negative citations (pointing out fraudulent research or incorrect results), cronyism (friends/colleagues citing each other), ceremonial citation, self-citation (citing one's own works) and being part of a citation cartel or "citation stacking", where groups of editors and journals work together to increase their impact factor.

Further Reading:
Davis, P. (April 10, 2012). The Emergence of a citation cartel. The Scholarly Kitchen.
Franck, G. (1999). Scientific Communication--A Vanity Fair? Science, 286(5437), 53-55.
Jump, P. (June 21 2013). Journal citation cartels on the rise. Times Higher Education.
Meho, L. I. (2007). The rise and rise of citation analysis Physics World, 20(1), 32-36.

Databases with citation information

The 2 main citation databases:

Dedicated to citation info
Oldest and most established
Covers > 12,000 journals
Multi-disciplinary
Largest abstract and citation database
Covers > 22,000 journals
Multi-disciplinary

Other databases with citation count:

                 

  

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Opinion, commentary and ideas related to Metrics & Analytics from The Scholarly Kitchen blog by the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP).

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