Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Who is citing me?

Citations measure the number of times a publication written by you has been cited by others. The more an item has been cited the more 'important' it is thought to be within the literature.

There are some qualifications. Articles should be published in a substantial scholarly journal. Citation counts also work for other forms of literature such as books and book chapters. Generally it takes 1 - 3 years before a published piece of research is cited by others, the time it takes for an author to research and write an article, book or book chapter.

Citation counts are higher in the Sciences than the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities. Having a citation count at all might be considered and achievement. Some publications attract citation counts in the 100's. For example,

  • Kuhlthau, C.C., 1993. Seeking meaning: a process approach to Library and Information Services. Norwood, NJ : Ablex. has been cited over 222 times.

  • Holland, M. 1997. Diffusion of innovation theories and their relevance to understanding the role of librarians when introducing users to networked information. The Electronic Library 5 (15), 389-394. has been cited once.

Citations can be measured using the ISI Citation Indexes (Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index; Arts and Humanities Citation Index). There is a two stage process of finding your publication in the database, then finding who has cited it. There is a guide to Citation Searching on the Library website.

Should be noted that citation analysis and is far more complex than the simple process dercibed here. However, citations are drawing attention because some form of citation analysis will be part of the next iteration of Research Assessment Exercise [RAE] / Research Excellence Framework [REF].


Research Excellence Framework - HEFCE
Citations and Scientific Indexing - article in Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology
The use of bibliometrics to measure research quality in UK higher education institutions - Universities UK

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