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The evaluation of citation distributions

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  • Javier Ruiz-Castillo

    ()

Abstract

This paper reviews a number of recent contributions that demonstrate that a blend of welfare economics and statistical analysis is useful in the evaluation of the citations received by scientific papers in the periodical literature. The paper begins by clarifying the role of citation analysis in the evaluation of research. Next, a summary of results about the citation distributions’ basic features at different aggregation levels is offered. These results indicate that citation distributions share the same broad shape, are highly skewed, and are often crowned by a power law. In light of this evidence, a novel methodology for the evaluation of research units is illustrated by comparing the high- and low-citation impact achieved by the U.S., the European Union, and the rest of the world in 22 scientific fields. However, contrary to recent claims, it is shown that mean normalization at the sub-field level does not lead to a universal distribution. Nevertheless, among other topics subject to ongoing research, it appears that this lack of universality does not preclude sensible normalization procedures to compare the citation impact of articles in different scientific fields.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Spanish Economic Association in its journal SERIEs.

Volume (Year): 3 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 291-310

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Handle: RePEc:spr:series:v:3:y:2012:i:1:p:291-310

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Related research

Keywords: Citation analysis; Power law; Research performance; Poverty measurement; European paradox; O31; Y80; Z00;

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References

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  1. Alonso, S. & Cabrerizo, F.J. & Herrera-Viedma, E. & Herrera, F., 2009. "h-Index: A review focused in its variants, computation and standardization for different scientific fields," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 273-289.
  2. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  3. Pedro Albarrán & Juan A. Crespo & Ignacio Ortuño & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2011. "The skewness of science in 219 sub-fields and a number of aggregates," Economics Working Papers we1109, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  4. Giovanni Dosi & Patrick Llerena & Mauro Sylos Labini, 2005. "Science-Technology-Industry Links and the ”European Paradox”: Some Notes on the Dynamics of Scientific and Technological Research in Europe," LEM Papers Series, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy 2005/02, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  5. Quesada, Antonio, 2009. "Monotonicity and the Hirsch index," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 158-160.
  6. Pedro Albarran & Ignacio Ortuno & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2009. "The measurement of low- and high-impact in citation distributions: technical results," Economics Working Papers we095735, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  7. Albarrán, Pedro & Ortuño, Ignacio & Ruiz-Castillo, Javier, 2011. "High- and low-impact citation measures: Empirical applications," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 122-145.
  8. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-31, March.
  9. Matthew O. Jackson & Brian W. Rogers, 2007. "Meeting Strangers and Friends of Friends: How Random Are Social Networks?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 890-915, June.
  10. Woeginger, Gerhard J., 2008. "A symmetry axiom for scientific impact indices," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 298-303.
  11. Moed, H. F. & Burger, W. J. M. & Frankfort, J. G. & Van Raan, A. F. J., 1985. "The use of bibliometric data for the measurement of university research performance," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 131-149, June.
  12. Pedro Albarrán & Joan Crespo & Ignacio Ortuño & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2009. "A comparison of the scientific performance of the U. S. and the European Union at the turn of the XXI century," Economics Working Papers we095534, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  13. Woeginger, Gerhard J., 2008. "An axiomatic characterization of the Hirsch-index," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 224-232, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Neus Herranz & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2011. "Multiplicative and fractional strategies when journals are assigned to several sub-fields," Economics Working Papers we1120, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  2. Herranz, Neus & Ruiz-Castillo, Javier, 2011. "The end of the European Paradox," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 8674, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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