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The effect on citation inequality of differences in citation practices at the Web of Sciences subject category level


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  • Juan A. Crespo
  • Neus Herranz
  • Yunrongs Li
  • Javier Ruiz-Castillo


This paper studies the impact of differences in citation practices at the sub-field, or Web of Science subject category level using the model introduced in Crespo et al. (2012) according to which the number of citations received by an article depends on its underlying scientific influence and the field to which it belongs. We use the same Thomson Reuters dataset of about 4.4 million articles published in 1998-2003 with a fiveyear citation window used in Crespo et al. (2013) to analyze a classification system consisting of 22 broad fields. The main results are the following four. Firstly, as expected, when the classification system goes from 22 broad fields to 219 sub-fields the effect on citation inequality of differences in citation practices increases from approximately 14% at the field level to 18% at the sub-field level. Secondly, we estimate a set of exchange rates (ERs) to express the citation counts of articles in a wide quantile interval into the equivalent counts in the all-sciences case. For example, in the fractional case we find that in 187 out of 219 sub-fields the ERs are reliable in the sense that the coefficient of variation is smaller than or equal to 0.10. ERs are estimated over the [660, 978] interval that, on average, covers about 62% of all citations. Thirdly, in the fractional case the normalization of the raw data using the ERs (or sub-field mean citations) as normalization factors reduces the importance of the differences in citation practices from 18% to 3.8% (3.4%) of overall citation inequality. Fourthly, the results in the fractional case are essentially replicated when we adopt the multiplicative approach

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía in its series Economics Working Papers with number we1303.

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Date of creation: Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we1303

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Cited by:
  1. Javier Ruiz-Castillo & Rodrigo Costas, 2014. "The skewness of scientific productivity," Economics Working Papers, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía we1402, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  2. Javier Ruiz-Castillo & Ludo Waltman, 2014. "Field-normalized citation impact indicators using algorithmically constructed classification systems of science," Economics Working Papers, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía we1403, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  3. Javier Ruiz-Castillo Ucelay & Antonio Perianes-Rodríguez, 2014. "Within and across department variability in individual productivity : the case of economics," Economics Working Papers, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía we1404, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.


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