SIGMETRICS Digest - 14 Sep 2000 to 15 Sep 2000 (#2000-131)

Sinisa Maricic smaritch at ROCKETMAIL.COM
Sun Sep 17 14:04:47 EDT 2000

--- Automatic digest processor <LISTSERV at> wrote: >
There are 2 messages totalling 117 lines in this issue.
> Topics of the day:
>   1. Revision of Impact Factors (2)
> Date:    Fri, 15 Sep 2000 13:39:25 -0400
> From:    eackerma <eackerma at UTKUX.UTCC.UTK.EDU>
> Subject: Revision of Impact Factors
> While I find the current discussion of ISI's Impact Factor quite
> interesting,
> 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........................
> 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 of
> research performance seems to be an unnecessary activity. It only
> seems to add
> more work to the task of citation analysis for no good reason,
> while unfairly
> penalizing researchers in newer, highly specialized, or currently
> unpopular
> fields.
> Eric Ackermann
> School of Information Sciences
> University of Tennessee-Knoxville
> eackerma at
> ------------------------------

In response to the beginning and the end of Eric Ackerman's message,
I would comment as follows.

The selfcitations are of two kinds. (i) When authors cite their own
published work, irrespective of the source journals, and (ii) when
there are citations to the same journal in articles published in it.

Let me call (i) "authors selfcitations", and (ii) "journal

(i) In case of authors selfcitations one must certainly allow for
autors' necessity to "keep track" of her/his earlier publications.
But certainly there must be a limit to it. (Incidentally - is there
any analysis about the context type of authors selfcitations?) As far
as something in one's last paper has to be backed by explanations
already given in earlir publications - the authors selfcitations are
clearly indispensible.

However, once decided to use citation counting to  e v a l u a t e
individual   s c i e n t i f i c  input to the world knowledge, the
aim is to find out to what extent that individual's work has been
referred to by his/her PEERS in THEIR publications. (Some like to
name this "impact", I don't.) Obviously, the authors selfcitations
should be excluded for evaluative purposes.

(ii) Journal selfcitations are of interest in journals  e v a l u a t
i o n   (studies), a topic of particular importance to which I shall
come in another comment.

Suffice here to say that while journal selfcitations should NOT be
excluded, such data, recorded specifically as kind of a
"claustrophobic" index, ought to be analysed in comparing journals,
bearing in mind, of course, that there are new or exotic fields of
research with a very limited number of source journals.

Yours in discourse,

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