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Tools to measure how a particular researcher or journal is cited.
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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What is Citation Analysis?

Citation Analysis involves using quantative data derived from the use of citations (bibliographies, works cited, or reference pages in books, articles, or other publications) to analyze the scholarly impact of a researcher, a group of researchers, or a publication.

Citation analysis can be as simple as counting the number of times a person or group has been cited by others, a ratio of their citations to their output, or some other mathematical function that relates their citation counts to other measures.

Caveats about Citation Analysis

Citation analysis is a quantitative measurement that cannot give a full picture of a researcher or journal's scholarly impact.

For individuals, many factors may influence their citation rates and measurements, including:

  • What format the researcher publishes in (books, journal articles, patents, white papers, etc.)
  • The discipline of the researcher and its citation practices
  • The type of publications produced (creative writing, review articles, book reviews, etc.)
  • Whether self-citation is taken into consideration

For journals, additional considerations may affect the impact factor:

  • Language of publication
  • Type of articles published (letters to the editor, review articles, etc.)
  • Publication schedule
  • Number of articles published per year, especially changes in number of articles due to publication changes

Citation analysis should always be used with other quantitative and qualitative measures when evaluating the scholarly worth of a journal or researcher.

Some further reading is available here:

  • Citation Statistics (Joint Committee on Quantitative Assessment of Research)
    "This is a report about the use and misuse of citation data in the assessment of scientific research. [...] There is a belief that citation statistics are inherently more accurate because they substitute simple numbers for complex judgments, and hence overcome the possible subjectivity of peer review. But this belief is unfounded."
  • Show Me the Data
    A critique of the Impact Factor and its use.

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