Revision of Impact Factors

Michael Koenig michael.koenig at LIU.EDU
Fri Sep 15 15:53:57 EDT 2000


  I would like to echo Eric Ackerman's comments.  I recollect  (I"m afraid
that I don't have a full bibliographic reference, shame on me) a study done
in the late 1970s when I was at Mitre, done by Terence Kuch, then also at
Mitre, in which he looked at peer ratings of professional expertise, and
found that the best correlation he could find with a high peer rating was a
high self citation rate.

best,   Mike Koenig
-----Original Message-----
From: eackerma <eackerma at UTKUX.UTCC.UTK.EDU>
Date: Friday, September 15, 2000 2:23 PM
Subject: [SIGMETRICS] Revision of Impact Factors

>While I find the current discussion of ISI's Impact Factor quite
>I'm afraid that I will have to take issue with the (apparently) widely
>accepted notion that all self-citations should be omitted from any impact
>considerations.  In particular the often unspoken, non-explicit assumption
>that any self-citation is automatically suspect as being primarily for
>self-aggrandisement. Self-citations seem to be automatically treated as if
>they somehow taint the scholarly record with inflated citation counts.
>Otherwise, why exclude them? Yet from what I have been able to find in the
>published literature, no one has found any empirical evidence to support
>notion. Various rates of self-citations have been found, but little or no
>empirical linkage with nefarious efforts to artificially inflate the
>record. Much supposition and speculation, but little evidence.
>What the automatic exclusion of self-citations *does* appear to do however
>to unfairly penalize researchers publishing in newer or currently
>unfashionable fields, which tend to have by nature fewer researchers
>hence less extensive literature to draw on as a source for
>Also unfairly penalized are the researchers who built careers systemaically

>exporing a topic and writing a series of papers that build upon each other
>form a body of relatively coherent knowledge, just as science (and other
>scholarship) is supposed to do.
>Therefore, until there are published studies in the literature that
>empirically demonstrate the necessity for doing so, removing all
>self-citations from the record before conducting a bibliometric evaluation
>research performance seems to be an unnecessary activity. It only seems to
>more work to the task of citation analysis for no good reason, while
>penalizing researchers in newer, highly specialized, or currently unpopular
>Eric Ackermann
>School of Information Sciences
>University of Tennessee-Knoxville
>eackerma at

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