Citation Analysis & Impact Factors


Citation Analysis & Impact Factors

Introduction

Introduction

It is important to consider citation analysis and impact factors as they relate to your field of study take into account:

  • How is an article or book considered successful in your field?
  • How is a scholar considered successful in your field?
  • Is there a focus on citation analysis/impact factors in your discipline?
  • Is there a correlation between impact factors and promotions/tenure in your department?

Citation Analysis

Citation Analysis

Citation analysis is the examination of citations in scholarly literature in order to determine the impact of:

  • an individual researcher
    • a measure in academic promotions, tenure, etc.
  • a specific article, book, etc.
    • establish seminal works in a field
  • a particular publication
    • helpful in deciding where to publish your work
  • a university or department
    • plays a role in university rankings

Shortcomings

  • cannot be compared across disciplines
  • may overlook Canadian, interdisciplinary and new publications

Impact Factor

Impact Factor

The impact factor, which is based on the citation indexes in the Web of Science and published by Thomson Corporation, is a measure of identifying the predominance or lack thereof of specific journals in particular disciplines. It is calculated by dividing the number of citations in one particular year to articles published in two previous years within one specific journal by the number of articles published in the same previous two years of the same journal. The impact factor of journals, whether open access or not, can be determined provided they are indexed in Web of Science, and can assist authors in deciding in what journal within their discipline to publish.

It should be noted that the impact factor is a quantitative measure and cannot be equated with the quality of individual articles and that not every journal published is indexed in the Web of Science databases. Furthermore, studies have recently questioned the validity of data used to calculated the impact factor since the number of citations refer to a different set of articles as the number of articles to which the citation compare (see Rossner, M., Van Epps, H. and Hill, E. "Show me the data ", Journal of Cell Biology (2007): 179: 1091-1092 http://www.jcb.org/cgi/content/full/179/6/1091).

Tenure

Over the years, there has been a growing concern over the exclusive significance of a journal's impact factor in situations where promotion and tenure is decided. Since this element is likely to remain an important factor for hiring and promotion, numerous open access journals are measured in terms of their impact factor and compare favourably to for-profit and not-for-profit journals of the same caliber.

With changes in scholarly communication the traditional process of tenure and promotion has received greater attention and there have been efforts to recommend different forms of research output in evaluating promotion and tenure, including digital scholarship and other forms of new media.

  • Modern Language Association Report on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion (2007)

 

 

Metrics

Metrics

Scholarly metrics are the means by which to quantitatively measure the impact of a particular author, journal or article. The newer Altmetrics looks at online activity surrounding scholarly content. 

Citation Tracking

  • Looks at the number of times that a particular work, author or journal have been cited in the bibliographies of other works, gives an indication of how they have been received by the academic community.
  • Author and article level citation counts are available on Web of Science, Google Scholar, PLoS, BioMed Central, plus numerous discipline‐specific databases.

H-index

  • A measure of author influence, the number where the number of articles published by an author intersects on a graph with the number of citations for each article.
  • First (and most well-known) of many author metrics. Available on Web of Science and Google Scholar if the scholar has created a user profile.

Journal Impact Factor

  • Measure of the average number of citations made to articles within an academic journal, over the course of a year.
  • Used to understand the level of significance and impact an academic journal has within its field of research.

Altmetrics

  • New metrics that includes social web activity, such as: 
    • Usage, based on the number of downloads 
    • Peer-review – when a scholar is considered to have be an expert 
    • Citations – using traditional methodologies 
    • Alt-metrics – analyzing links, bookmarks and conversations

Source: Canadian Research Knowledge Network

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