Library:Citation Analysis & Impact Factors/What is Citation Analysis

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What is Citation Analysis

Citation Analysis is the examination of the frequency and patterns of citations to books, journal articles, individual journals, conference proceedings, etc. Citation analysis began in the sciences in the 1960s and spread to the social sciences and humanities in the 1970s. Citation analysis includes but is not limited to citation counts, statistical analysis (e.g. h-factor), and data visualization.

Citation Metrics are used to evaluate

the impact of an individual researcher

  • Citation metrics are commonly used as one measure in academic job applications as well as tenure and promotion applications
  • Must not be conflated with quality of research

the impact of an individual journal article, book, etc.

  • Can help with selecting key works in a field.

the impact of an individual journal

  • May be helpful in choosing a journal in which to publish

the impact of a department or university

  • Included in the calculation of widely-published university ranking lists.
  • Can be a factor in funding, for example, the UK's Research Excellence Framework.

Citation Metrics Shortcomings

  • Can be susceptible to self- or endogenous-citation practices. Examples
  • May not favour interdisciplinary work, new journals, or Canadian journals
  • Comparisons across disciplines are not valid. Disciplinary publishing and citation practices vary, so the top journal in once discipline may have an impact factor of 36 while the top journal in different discipline may have an impact factor of 8.