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To include or not: the role of review papers in citation-based analysis


  • Mei Hsiu-Ching Ho

    () (National Taiwan University of Science and Technology)

  • John S. Liu

    () (National Taiwan University of Science and Technology)

  • Kerr C.-T. Chang

    () (Ingrasys Technology Inc.)


Abstract Citation information helps researchers observe the evolution of the knowledge. In scientific publications, a review paper discusses a professional field and thus tends to have more citations than general papers do. This study investigated whether specific characteristics of review papers induce different results in citation-based analysis. From the Scopus database, we collected scientific publications in a specific research field, e-tourism, to examine the role of review papers in citation-based analysis. The dataset includes 1421 publications covering the period from the 1988–2015. Empirical statistics show that review papers’ specific citation patterns influence citation analysis. First, in the main path analysis, the result expresses review papers’ integrative role in linking papers from diverse perspectives toward a clear mainstream topic. Second, in a well-defined research context, review papers introduce bias in citation-based clustering analysis because the specific high citation pattern in review papers obfuscates the grouping process. When using citation information in analysis, scholars must consider the purpose of the study and treat review papers distinctly to avoid bias when using certain analysis methods and datasets.

Suggested Citation

  • Mei Hsiu-Ching Ho & John S. Liu & Kerr C.-T. Chang, 2017. "To include or not: the role of review papers in citation-based analysis," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 110(1), pages 65-76, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:110:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-016-2158-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-016-2158-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

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