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The evaluation of citation distributions

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  • Javier Ruiz-Castillo

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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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Suggested Citation

  • Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2012. "The evaluation of citation distributions," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 291-310, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:series:v:3:y:2012:i:1:p:291-310
    DOI: 10.1007/s13209-011-0074-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Foster, James E & Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1991. "Subgroup Consistent Poverty Indices," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 687-709, May.
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    4. Albarrán, Pedro & Ortuño, Ignacio & Ruiz-Castillo, Javier, 2011. "High- and low-impact citation measures: Empirical applications," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 122-145.
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    10. Pedro Albarrán & Ignacio Ortuño & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2011. "Average-based versus high- and low-impact indicators for the evaluation of scientific distributions," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(4), pages 325-339, October.
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    14. Albarrán, Pedro & Crespo, Juan A. & Ortuño, Ignacio & Ruiz-Castillo, Javier, 2009. "A comparison of the scientific performance of the U. S. and the European Union at the turn of the XXI century," UC3M Working papers. Economics we095534, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Abramo, Giovanni & D’Angelo, Ciriaco Andrea & Soldatenkova, Anastasiia, 2017. "An investigation on the skewness patterns and fractal nature of research productivity distributions at field and discipline level," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 324-335.
    2. Neus Herranz & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2013. "The end of the “European Paradox”," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 95(1), pages 453-464, April.
    3. Neus Herranz & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2012. "Multiplicative and fractional strategies when journals are assigned to several subfields," Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 63(11), pages 2195-2205, November.
    4. Campanario, Juan Miguel, 2015. "Providing impact: The distribution of JCR journals according to references they contribute to the 2-year and 5-year journal impact factors," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 398-407.
    5. Bouyssou, Denis & Marchant, Thierry, 2016. "Ranking authors using fractional counting of citations: An axiomatic approach," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 183-199.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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