JCR Total Cites Flaw Example

Loet Leydesdorff loet at LEYDESDORFF.NET
Fri Feb 22 15:11:40 EST 2008

Dear Stephen, 
This is not so difficult: You go to the WoS, Cited Reference Search, and
type in "ANIM LEARN BEHAV" as the journal abbreviation. This leads today to
a total cites of 1,958. 
You can do the same with the CD-Rom version of the JCR. The JCR 2006, for
example, gives you 1,803. On the webversion of the JCR, one can search with
Best wishes, 

Loet Leydesdorff 
Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR), 
Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam. 
Tel.: +31-20- 525 6598; fax: +31-20- 525 3681 
 <mailto:loet at leydesdorff.net> loet at leydesdorff.net ;
<http://www.leydesdorff.net/> http://www.leydesdorff.net/ 



From: ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics
[mailto:SIGMETRICS at listserv.utk.edu] On Behalf Of Stephen J Bensman
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 8:11 PM
To: SIGMETRICS at listserv.utk.edu
Subject: [SIGMETRICS] JCR Total Cites Flaw Example

Vis-à-vis what I wrote on the flaws of the JCR definition of bibliographic
entity, I am posting the following concrete example


In 2003 the journal Animal Learning & Behavior, which is published by the
Psychonomic Society, changed its title.  This title was published since
1973, and 30 volumes had been published at the time of the change.  Its new
title was Learning & Behavior, whose volume numbering began thus: Vol. 31,
no. (Feb. 2003)-.  As can be seen, the volume numbering is consecutive for
the two titles, and it remained a journal of the Psychonomic Society.  From
the viewpoint of logic and AACR2 cataloging rules, these two titles form a
single bibliographic entity, which we shall call a “journal.”


However, since these titles are not alphabetically consecutive, the JCR
treats them as two different bibliographic entities, which we shall call
“title segments.”  The JCR citation counts relate only to these title
segments.  In the 2004 JCR Learning & Behavior had 49 total cites and an
impact factor of 1.030.  Since Animal Learning & Behavior fell within the
2-year time limit of the impact factor, it was still covered.  This title
segment had 1,195 total cites and an impact factor of 2.059.  Going forward
now to the 2006 JCR, we find that Learning & Behavior has 241 total cites
and an impact factor of 1.926.  Since Animal Learning & Behavior is now
outside the two-year impact factor limit, it has dropped from JCR coverage,
and it is impossible to retrieve citation data on this title segment through
the JCR.


It is quite obvious from the above that 2006 JCR is giving quite a false
picture of the importance of Learning & Behavior as measured by total cites,
which I have found to be a better surrogate for expert ratings and library
use than the impact factor.  The historical perspective has been lost due to
a logical flaw in the definition of a bibliographic entity.  In any type of
statistical research involving total cites, Learning & Behavior will appear
as a screaming outlier that distorts all results.


Since the fault cannot be corrected through the JCR, it becomes a question
of how do you use Web of Science to recover the lost data.  If there is a
solution to this problem, it should also be applicable to journals not
covered in the JCRs. 



Stephen J. Bensman

LSU Libraries

Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, LA   70803


notsjb at lsu.edu


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