ABS&Comment:Editors & Impact

Gretchen Whitney gwhitney at UTKUX.UTCC.UTK.EDU
Mon Jun 21 15:35:44 EDT 1999

TITLE:          Gaining scientific recognition by position: Does editorship
increase citation rates?
AUTHOR: Lange LL, Frensch PA
                          44: (3) 459-486 MAR-APR 1999

Document type: Article  Language: English       Cited References: 40
Times Cited: 0

We investigated three rival hypotheses concerning scientific communication
and recognition: the performance hypothesis and two alternative assumptions,
the reputation hypothesis and the resource hypothesis. The performance
hypothesis reflects the norm of universalism in the sense given by Merton,
the reputation hypothesis predicts a Matthew Effect  (scientists receive
communications and recognition on the basis of their reputation), and the
resource hypothesis assumes that communication with other scientists is used
as a form of asset to defend one's own research results.

Using bibliometric methods, we assessed whether assuming an important
scientific position enhances scientific impact and prestige. Specifically,
we explored whether a person's assumption of editorship responsibilities of
a psychology journal increases the frequency with which that person is cited
in the Social Sciences Citation Index. The data base consisted of ten
psychology journals, seven premier American and three German journals,
covering the years 1981 to 1995. Citation rates for the years prior to,
during, and following periods of editorship were compared for three groups:
editors cited in the journal they edited, editors cited in a journal they
did not edit, and non-editors. The results showed that during their
editorship, editors showed an increased citation rate in the journal edited;
this result was found for American journals, but not for German journals.
These findings indicate that, for American journals, assuming editorship
responsibilities for a major psychology journal increases one's scientific
impact, at least as reflected by a measure of citation rate. A careful
examination of ages of the non-editors' citations reveals that the
post-editorship citation rates of editors and comparable non-editors do not
differ significantly. The reputation hypothesis (Matthew Effect) is
therefore preferred for interpreting the results, because it shows the
cumulative nature of prestige-oriented citations. The results contradict the
convention of using citation rates as pure performance measures.

KeyWords Plus:

Lange LL, Max Planck Inst Human Dev, Berlin, Germany.
Max Planck Inst Human Dev, Berlin, Germany.



This is a very interesting study and contains an extensive bibliography
including one of my most important essays on evaluation of faculty:
83.pdf   and
However, I doubt that the results would be the same in the hard sciences.
Hopefully someone will test that by replicating the study in chemistry,
physics. or biology.

Eugene Garfield, Ph.D.
Chairman Emeritus, ISI, 3501 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Publisher, THE SCIENTIST, 3600 Market St,
Philadelphia, PA 19104 (www.the-scientist.com)
Tel: 215-243-2205 // Fax: 215-387-1266
email:  garfield at codex.cis.upenn.edu
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