In order to improve the quality of systematic researches, various tools have been developed by well-known scientific institutes sporadically. Dr. Nader Ale Ebrahim has collected these sporadic tools under one roof in a collection named “Research Tool Box”. The toolbox contains over 720 tools so far, classified in 4 main categories: Literature-review, Writing a paper, Targeting suitable journals, as well as Enhancing visibility and impact factor.
Sunday, 19 February 2017
Using citation analysis to measure research impact | Editage Insights
Using citation analysis to measure research impact
landscape of science and research is rapidly evolving. Gone are the
days when all members of a university department would celebrate the
successful publication of a colleague’s paper.1 Earlier,
scientists would simply consider the number of papers they had published
as a measure of their academic standing. Today, the focus is
increasingly shifting from whether a researcher has published a paper to
where he/she has published it and the impact that piece of research has
on the scientific community and the world at large.2
can you measure the quality of a research paper? More importantly, how
can you determine whether your research is making an impact and is
considered important? An objective way is through citation analysis.
count citations in the first place? The list of references directing
readers to prior relevant research is considered a fundamental part of
any research paper.3 A
reference or citation is a form of acknowledgment that one research
paper gives to another. Research is additive—scientists build on past
work to discover new knowledge. To identify gaps in existing research
and choose a research topic, researchers read the relevant published
research and use this existing material as a foundation for arguments
made in their own research papers.
11 reasons to cite previous work
To direct readers to an authentic source of relevant information
To help other researchers trace the genealogy of your ideas
To acknowledge pioneers and peers
To direct readers to previously used methods, and equipment
To criticize or correct previous work
To substantiate your claims and arguments with evidence
To show that you have considered various opinions in framing your arguments
To highlight the originality of your work in the context of previous work
To guide other researchers in their work
To build your credibility as an author
Finally, because not citing sources can amount to plagiarism4
What are the various citation-based metrics?
Citation analyses can be grouped according to some broad types based on who/what is being evaluated.
Journals are ranked by counting the number of times their papers are
cited in other journals. Journal-level metrics are generally meant to
serve as an indicator of journal prestige. The most well known of these
is the journal impact factor, from Journal Citation Reports®(a
product of Thomson Reuters). The journal impact factor is calculated as
the average number of citations all articles in a journal receive over a
specific period of time.5
Various citation metrics are now used for this purpose. Researchers are
ranked by counting the number of times their individual papers are
cited in other published studies. These metrics are also used to
evaluate researchers for hiring, tenure, and grant decisions. A
researcher-level metric that is gaining popularity is the h index,6 which
is calculated by considering a combination of the number of papers
published by a researcher and the number of citations these papers have
Article-level citation counts may provide an accurate evaluation of the
quality and impact of a specific piece of work, regardless of the
author. Unfortunately though, such metrics are rarely considered because
obtaining these data is tedious and time-consuming.7
Ranking universities and countries:
There are databases that rank universities and countries by considering
their overall research output through criteria such as citable
documents, citations per document, and total citations. These metrics
help determine which universities and countries have the most and/or
best scientific output. For example, Scimago Research Group (http://www.scimago.es/ ) releases annual reports of institution- and country-wise rankings.
How can citation analysis help you?
today are faced with increasing pressure to get published. Academic
departments are expected to meet specific levels of publication output.
Clearly, there is a lot at stake in the assessment of research quality
for both individuals and institutions. Given this, governments, funding
agencies, and tenure and promotion committees are looking toward simple
and objective methods to assess increasing research volumes in the least
possible time. To this end, they are turning more and more to citation
analysis for objective parameters of impact assessment.
Pitfalls of citation analysis
When using citation analysis, it is important to bear in mind some of its limitations3,7:
overlooks the disparity in discipline-wise citation rates, that is, the
fact that citation patterns differ among disciplines and over time.
ignores the fact that certain manuscript types such as letters and case
reports offer inadequate scope for citation and typically have short
reference lists. The
sentiment of the citation is not considered; that is a negative
citation (one used to refute a prior claim) is given as much merit as a
positive citation (one used to further the claim being made). So even a
paper that has been cited simply to discredit it can work to the
author’s advantage in citation analysis.
does not account for author contribution on papers with multiple
authors: such citations are as meritorious as those to single-author
papers. Citation analysis attributes equal importance to all authors of a
paper, regardless of their individual contribution.
sole reliance on citation data provides an incomplete understanding of
research. Although citation analysis may be simple to apply, it should
be used with caution to avoid it coming under disrepute through
uncritical use.3 Ideally,
citation analysis should be performed to supplement, not replace, a
robust system of expert review to determine the actual quality and
impact of published research.8
Future of citation analysis
the shift to online interfaces by more and more journals and
repositories, digital information is now available at a few clicks. With
the advent of linking tools and digital archives of research papers,
scientific literature is more easily retrievable than ever before.
Therefore, it is only to be expected that the population of researchers
turning to citation data will continue to grow. In such a scenario,
researchers cannot afford to undermine the importance of citation
next time you are preparing for a promotion or applying for a new
position, consider using citation analysis as a means to bolster your
eligibility. Use the citation count feature offered by online databases
like Web of Science to compile your citation data and employ multiple
citation metrics to highlight your research output.
Dodson MV (2008). Research paper citation record keeping: It is not for wimps. Journal of Animal Science, 86: 2795-2796.