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High- and Low-Impact Citation Measures: Empirical Applications

  • Albarrán, Pedro
  • Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio
  • Ruiz-Castillo, Javier

This paper contains the first empirical applications of a novel methodology for comparing the citation distributions of research units working in the same homogeneous field. The paper considers a situation in which the world citation distribution in 22 scientific fields is partitioned into three geographical areas: the U.S., the European Union (EU ), and the rest of the world (RW ). Given a critical citation level (CCL), we suggest using two real valued indicators to describe the shape of each area’s distribution: a high- and a low-impact measure defined over the set of articles with citations below or above the CCL. It is found that, when the CCL is fixed at the 80 percentile of the world citation distribution, the U.S. performs dramatically better than the EU and the RW according to both indicators in all scientific fields. This superiority generally increases as we move from the incidence to the intensity and the citation inequality aspects of the phenomena in question. Surprisingly, changes observed when the CCL is increased from the 80th to the 95th percentile are of a relatively small order of magnitude. Finally, it is found that international co-authorship increases the high-impact and reduces the low-impact level in the three geographical areas. This is especially the case for the EU and the RW when they cooperate with the U.S.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7886.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7886
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  1. 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.
  2. Katz, J. Sylvan & Martin, Ben R., 1997. "What is research collaboration?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-18, March.
  3. 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, vol. 14(3), pages 131-149, June.
  4. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-31, March.
  5. Albarrán, Pedro & Ortuño, Ignacio & Ruiz-Castillo, Javier, 2011. "The measurement of low- and high-impact in citation distributions: Technical results," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 48-63.
  6. Foster, James E & Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1991. "Subgroup Consistent Poverty Indices," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 687-709, May.
  7. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  8. Pedro Albarrán & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2009. "References made and citations received by scientific articles," Economics Working Papers we094581, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
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