10. Citation analysis
2 Citation Index
3 Nature of citations
Reasons for citations
- Paying homage to pioneers;
- Giving credit for related work;
- Identifying methodology, equipment etc;
- Providing background reading;
- Correcting one’s own work;
- Correcting the work of others;
- Criticizing previous work;
- Substantiating claims;
- Alerting researchers to forthcoming work;
- Providing leads to poorly disseminated, poorly indexed, or uncited work;
- Authenticating data and classes of fact – physical constants etc;
- Identifying original publications in which the idea or concept was discussed;
- Identifying original publications or other work describing an eponymous concept or term;
- Disclaiming work or ideas of others;
- Disputing priority claims of others.
- Finding out relative use of different types of documents: Citation analysis can be used to identify relative use of different kind of documents such as books, periodicals, technical reports, conference proceedings, and theses etc. For instance, in several of the studies reported in literature, it has been observed that citations to articles in journals constitute a major proportion of total cited items among all types of literature sources. Similarly, one can also analyze and identify the language of the cited papers.
- To trace the historical development of a field: Citation studies have been used for creating historical descriptions for scientific fields. Employing network of scholarly communications one can establish the history of the field.
- To guide a reader: Each citation is a message from the author of a document to his readers. By reading the cited document, the reader can obtain more information on a point or check the authenticity of a particular view, finding or method etc.
- For compilation of reading lists or bibliographies: Citations are an excellent tool for the compilation of reading lists or bibliographies, specially in an emerging field of knowledge or in subjects where areas are not clearly demarcated and the literature is scattered. In such fields, perhaps citations are the only source of information which may be of help for compiling reading lists or bibliographies. The quality of such a list would be excellent as references provided in it have been evaluated by the researchers, who are expert of the discipline.
- For preparing ranked list of journals: Based on the assumption that citations are indicative of the literature use patterns, these provide methodology to rank scientific journals according to their relative degree of importance. Librarians are using it as an authentic tool for streamlining their serials acquisition policy by adding and discarding the most and less cited journals respectively. It also helps the librarian in other aspects of library management like binding policy and locating most used periodicals at a place convenient to the readers.
- Finding useful life of documents: Material acquired in the library becomes out-of-date with the passage of time. This is known as obsolescence of the published material i.e. slow reduction in the use of the published material. Analysis of citations by age of the cited documents can indicate the useful life of documents specially earlier volumes of periodicals. This is based on the assumption that a document would be cited if it is used.
- Finding out relatedness and interdependence of subjects: Citation analysis can act as an important tool in establishing important clues about the relatedness and interdependence of one field on another field by identifying how journals of one field cite the journals of other fields.
- To study the scatter of literature: Citation analysis helps in identifying how the literature of one discipline is scattered in the journals of other disciplines. How often the literature related to technology or applied science cite the literature of basic sciences or vice-versa. The technique can also be used to identify the countries and impact factor of journals which are being cited in the literature.
- Citation analysis as a tool in research evaluation: Citation analysis is an important tool in evaluative bibliometrics. Citation counts may be used directly as a measure of utilization or influence of a single publication or all publications of an individual, a grant contract, department, university, funding agency, or country. This is based on comparison of citation counts of one research group to number of citations received by similar documents by the other research group. It is then assumed that the document with higher relative numbers of citation counts have more impact than those with lower citation counts. During the last two decades several studies have been published in the international journal Scientometrics on the citation analysis of scientific research institutions, research groups and individual scientists. Based on the citation counts, impact factors of journals, authors, institutions, countries etc. are computed; also, h-index is computed based on the citation counts; Thus in research evaluation citation counts are the basic tool!
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