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The measurement of low- and high-impact in citation distributions: technical results

  • Pedro Albarran
  • Ignacio Ortuno
  • Javier Ruiz-Castillo

This paper introduces a novel methodology for comparing the citation distributions of research units working in the same homogeneous field. Given a critical citation level (CCL), we suggest using two real valued indicators to describe the shape of any distribution: a highimpact and a low-impact measure defined over the set of articles with citations above or below the CCL. The key to this methodology is the identification of a citation distribution with an income distribution. Once this step is taken, it is easy to realize that the measurement of lowimpact coincides with the measurement of economic poverty. In turn, it is equally natural to identify the measurement of high-impact with the measurement of a certain notion of economic affluence. On the other hand, it is seen that the ranking of citation distributions according to a family of low-impact measures, originally suggested by Foster et al. (1984) for the measurement of economic poverty, is essentially characterized by a number of desirable axioms. Appropriately redefined, these same axioms lead to the selection of an equally convenient class of decomposable high-impact measures. These two families are shown to satisfy other interesting properties that make them potentially useful in empirical applications, including the comparison of research units working in different fields.

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Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía in its series Economics Working Papers with number we095735.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we095735
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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, vol. 3(4), pages 273-289.
  2. Katz, J. Sylvan, 1999. "The self-similar science system1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 501-517, June.
  3. Woeginger, Gerhard J., 2008. "An axiomatic characterization of the Hirsch-index," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 224-232, September.
  4. Thon, Dominique, 1979. "On Measuring Poverty," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 25(4), pages 429-39, December.
  5. Clark, Stephen & Hemming, Richard & Ulph, David, 1981. "On Indices for the Measurement of Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(362), pages 515-26, June.
  6. Foster, James E & Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1991. "Subgroup Consistent Poverty Indices," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 687-709, May.
  7. Pyatt, Graham, 1987. "Measuring Welfare, Poverty and Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(386), pages 459-67, June.
  8. Dasgupta, Partha & Sen, Amartya & Starrett, David, 1973. "Notes on the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 180-187, April.
  9. J Sylvan Katz, 2000. "Scale-independent indicators and research evaluation," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(1), pages 23-36, February.
  10. Chakravarty, Satya R., 1983. "A new index of poverty," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 307-313, December.
  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, vol. 14(3), pages 131-149, June.
  12. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-31, March.
  13. Jenkins, Stephen P & Lambert, Peter J, 1997. "Three 'I's of Poverty Curves, with an Analysis of UK Poverty Trends," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(3), pages 317-27, July.
  14. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
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