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Impact Factor and Citation Metrics: What do they Really Mean?. Session 1206 Room 203A January 30, 2009 Debbie Chaves, Wilfrid Laurier University Brian Cameron, Ryerson University. Outline. Measurement of the Business of Science Background on various methods Where things can go wrong

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impact factor and citation metrics what do they really mean

Impact Factor and Citation Metrics: What do they Really Mean?

Session 1206 Room 203A

January 30, 2009

Debbie Chaves, Wilfrid Laurier University

Brian Cameron, Ryerson University

outline
Outline
  • Measurement of the Business of Science
  • Background on various methods
  • Where things can go wrong
  • What that means for librarians
why measure

Why Measure?

  • Security of knowledge
  • Predictability
  • Comparison analysis
  • Subject and domain dependent
  • Quantifiability fallacy
historical background on impact factor
Historical Background on Impact Factor

Eugene Garfield, "Citation Indexes for Science: A New Dimension in Documentation through Association of Ideas," Science 122, 3159 (July 15, 1955): 108

what is an impact factor
What is an Impact Factor

year 2008 citations to 2006 + 2007 articles

articles published in 2006 + 2007

ratio of articles published to articles cited during a rolling two-year window

A/B

A = citations in 2008 : articles cited in 2006-7

B = citable items published in 2006-7

use of impact factors
Use of Impact Factors

Collection development

Choosing journals for publication

Journal assessment/marketing by publishers

Evaluation of scholarly research & individual performance, for purposes of tenure and promotion, and funding

Evaluation of departments, institutions, and nations

problems with if
Problems with IF

Two-year window

# of journals published in discipline

ISI coverage

Language

Publication type

Not representative

Journal size

other issues
Other Issues

Citation errors

Citation clubs

Citation bartering

manipulation
Manipulation

Review articles

Case studies

Editorial interference

h index
h-index

Hirsch, J. E. (2005). "An index to quantify an individual\'s scientific research output". PNAS102 (46): 16569–16572.

h index1
h-index

h-index, developed by Jorge Hirsch

A scientist has index h if h of [their] Np papers have at least h citations each, and the other (Np - h) papers have at most h citations each.

criticisms of the h index
Criticisms of the h-index

Comparisons

Age

Insensitive

Context

Limitations of citation databases

# of authors

from h to g
From h to g

Given a set of articles ranked in decreasing order of the number of citations that they received, the g-index is the (unique) largest number such that the top g articles received on average at least g citations.

what do the numbers really mean
What do the numbers really mean?
  • Author inaccuracies
  • ISI calculation inaccuracies
  • What does an H-index of 1 really mean?
citation game playing how to make it work for you

Citation Game-Playing – How to make it Work for YOU!

  • Become famous so everyone gives you authorship on their paper
  • HEP in ArXve submission timing
  • Ride the bias – multiple authors: choose the middle
  • Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica: 1 articles cited all the papers published in the last 2 years for IF=1.439 compared to 0.655
  • Find and ride the trend – Martin Fleischmann was once the most highly cited chemist in Britain
chemistry department scopus h index

Chemistry Department Scopus H-Index

09-Feb-08

Position

h-index

patents

total number of papers

first-year publication

last-year publication

Publications/year

president

5

0

13

1984

2008

0.54

Created Feb 9, 2008 with the faculty at that time. Dependent on information included in SCOPUS.

dean science

15

0

51

1988

2008

2.55

assistant

5

0

14

1999

2007

1.75

assistant

5

0

6

1998

2007

0.67

assistant

15

2

48

1998

2007

5.33

assistant

6

0

13

1998

2007

1.44

assistant

7

0

12

1998

2007

1.33

assistant

9

0

14

2000

2005

2.80

CAS

3

0

4

1999

2002

1.33

CAS

10

33

25

1979

2007

0.89

professor

8

0

36

1967

2007

0.90

associate

7

0

17

1992

2005

1.31

CAS

0

0

2

2007

2008

2.00

CAS

17

0

24

1984

2001

1.41

Average

8

2.50

19.93

1992.21

2006.14

1.73

what does this mean for librarians
What does this mean for Librarians?
  • Must be familiar and knowledgeable about the current calculations of Science Worthiness
  • International students are aware
  • Administrations and granting agencies will ask for these statistics but may not be aware of their limitations
  • Avoid the citation culture
take home message
Take Home Message

Avoid Disregard Syndrome 

Practice Citation Vigilance

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