ABS: Wouters, The Citation Culture

Gretchen Whitney gwhitney at UTKUX.UTCC.UTK.EDU
Tue Jan 18 17:56:46 EST 2000

 "The Citation Culture" by Paul Wouters of the The
 Royal Netherlands Academy
 of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam.

 The follwing brief introduction was prepared by Eugene Garfield.

  In 1999 Paul Wouters published his doctoral dissertation which was
distributed to many of his colleagues. This is undoubtedly one of the most
significant works to be produced in this field since its advent over forty
years ago. The work will be published by Stanford University Press in
approximately one year. In the meantime Paul has kindly prepared a brief
summary and the contents page. It does not include a list of his many
tables and illustrations. I do not agree with many of Paul's conclusions
but his scholarship is remarkable. He spent many weeks at ISI going
through correpondence. He has published many articles not the least of
which was his contribution to the symposium on the "History of Science
Information Systems" which was held in Pittsburgh in November 1998 and
published jointly by ASIS and The Chemical Heritage Foundation of
Philadelphia. Eugene Garfield

 Paul Wouters, "The Citation Culture", Stanford
 University Press
 (forthcoming--late 2000 or 2001)


  The need for greater accountability of scientific researchers has
created a number of new professions. The scientometrician is one of these
experts. They measure science scientifically, often on behalf of science
policy officals. The professional scientometrician emerged in the sixties.
Their creation is intimately linked to the invention of the Science
Citation Index (SCI) by Eugene Garfield and his collaborators in
Philadelphia (USA).

  The Citation Culture argues that the development of scientometrics can
best be understood if we analyze this field as both indicator and
embodiment of a recently emerged subculture in science: The Citation
Culture. This subculture has unwittingly and subtly changed core concepts
of modern science such as scientific quality and influence. Because of the
citation culture, being cited has profoundly changed its meaning over the
last two decades, with a number of consequences for scientists. It has
moreover contributed to the transformation of the very essence of science
policy, notwithstanding scientometrics's apparent lack of outstanding
successes. This study tries to explore the possible meaning of the
citation culture for the systematic generation of knowledge.

  Today, a scientific publication is easily recognized by its references
to other scientific articles or books. Citing behavior seems to vary
according to personal traits. Nevertheless, the overall citing properties
of the publications within a certain field share the same characteristics.
The sciences and humanities host many types of specialty-specific citing
culture, each slightly different from the other. The historical
development of scientific publishing since the nineteenth century has
provided for a fairly stable ensemble of citing cultures in science.

  The gradual development of regular citing behavior in scientific
publishing created a new resource for research as well as policy: citation
data. It did not take long before these data began to be used. With
hindsight, it seems an almost inevitable outcome of some straightforward
reasoning. If researchers cite the work they find useful, often cited
(``highly cited'') work is apparently more useful to scientists than work
which receives hardly any citations at all. Hence, the number of times an
article is cited, seems to be an accurate measure of its impact, influence
or quality. The same is true of the collected articles of one particular
scientist, research group, journal or even institution. The more they are
cited, the greater their influence. Sloppy work will not often be cited,
except in heated controversies --- or so the reasoning goes. Therefore,
citation frequency seems a good way of objectively measuring scientific
usefulness, quality, or impact.

 Whatever one's view on the import of being cited, citation frequency is
generally supposed to measure something that already exists. This is based
on an implicit realist perspective with respect to the process of
scientific communication: the indicator is seen as a more or less direct
upshot of scientists' activities. Therefore, citation analysis --- the art
of measuring numbers of citations --- provides a window onto the
communication processes between scientists.

 This book questions these realist interpretations measuring science by
citations. The citation culture is not a simple aggregate or derivative of
citing culture in science. The citation as used in scientometric analysis
and science and technology indicators is not identical to the reference
produced at the scientist's desk. In other words, the citation is the
product of the citation indexer, not of the scientist. The Science
Citation Index is moreover not merely a bibliographic instrument. It also
creates a new picture of science via bibliographic references found in
scientific literature. In this way, the SCI provides a fundamentally new
representation of science. By focussing on the seemingly most
insignificant entity in scientific communication, the inventors of the SCI
have created a completely novel set of signs and of a new symbolic
universe. The Citation Culture therefore not only tells how the SCI was
created, but also tries to explore its ramifications. It discusses the
main properties of the new representation of science as well as its impact
on science studies, science policy, and on science itself. Last but not
least the book discusses the implications of this perspective for the
theoretical foundations of scientometric analyses in general and the
search for a citation theory in particular.

 Paul Wouters
 The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
 PO Box 95110
 1090 HC Amsterdam
 The Netherlands
 T 3120 4628654
 F 3120 6658013
 WWW www.niwi.knaw.nl

 Contents Page of THe Citation Culture

 {1.2}Citing cultures}{2}
 {1.3}Unintended consequences of being cited}{3}
 {1.4}An objective representation of science}{5}
 {1.4.2}The {SCI}}{5}
 {1.5}The quest for a citation theory}{8}
 {1.6}The reference and the citation}{10}
 {1.7}The citation representation of science}{12}
 {1.8}Representing scientometrics}{14}

 {2}The creation of the Science Citation Index}{17}
 {2.1}Mixed reception}{17}
 {2.2}Enthusiasm for citation}{22}
 {2.3}The citation introduced to science}{30}

 {3}The building of the Science Citation Index}{59}
 {3.1}Building the index}{59}
 {3.2}Translating the citation concept}{73}

 {4}The science of science}{79}
 {4.1}Welcoming the \emph {SCI}}{79}
 {4.3}The science of science in Russia, the Ukraine,
     and the Soviet Union}{84}
 {4.4}Western science of science}{93}
 {4.5}``Please reply with more data''}{96}
 {4.6}The citation sociologically used}{97}
 {4.7}The citation sociologically explained}{103}

 {5}The signs of science}{107}
 {5.2}Basic properties of the citation}{108}
 {5.3}Producing citations}{110}
 {5.4}Building upon the citation}{115}
 {5.5}Other signs of science: co-word analysis}{126}
 {5.6}A maze of indicators}{128}

 {6}Rating science}{131}
 {6.2}Early Dutch science policy}{135}
 {6.3}Scientometrics within a funding body}{137}
 {6.4}Emerging Dutch science studies}{139}
 {6.5}Science studies for policy}{141}
 {6.6}Indicators for policy}{143}

 {7.2}Collection and organization of the data}{168}
 {7.3}General features}{169}
 {7.4}Has Price's dream come true?}{172}
 {7.5}Who's Who in scientometrics?}{177}
 {7.6}Does scientometrics have its own
 {7.7}What is scientometrics' position?}{191}
 {7.8}Has scientometrics developed a specific

 {8}Representing science}{195}
 {8.2}Summary of the results so far}{195}
 {8.3}A hybrid specialty}{198}
 {8.4}Indicators as translators}{198}
 {8.5}Paradigmatic versus formalized
 {8.6}Indicator theories}{210}
 {8.7}The rise of the formalized}{212}

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