Speaking of disciplines and normalization...

Pikas, Christina K. Christina.Pikas at JHUAPL.EDU
Wed Oct 22 11:07:04 EDT 2008

See this news piece in Nature?
Published online 20 October 2008 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2008.1169
Is physics better than biology?
Citation statistics now comparable across disciplines.
Philip Ball
Is the physics department at your university performing better than the
biology department? Answering such questions objectively has been hard,
because citation statistics and other bibliometric indicators can't be
directly compared across disciplines. But now a team in Italy has found
a way to do just that......

The full article isn't available at PNAS yet, but I *think* this ArXiv
paper is the pre-print. Offered without commentary - I'll let you all
react with shock and dismay (unless this has already appeared here, in
which case, oops!)  :)

Universality of citation distributions: towards an objective measure of
scientific impact
Authors: Filippo Radicchi, Santo Fortunato, Claudio Castellano
(Submitted on 5 Jun 2008)

    Abstract: We study the distributions of citations received by a
single publication within several disciplines, spanning all fields of
science. We show that the probability that a paper is cited $c$ times
has large variations between different disciplines, but all
distributions are rescaled on a universal curve when the relative
indicator $c/c_0$ is considered, where $c_0$ is the average number of
citations per paper for the discipline. In addition we show that the
same universal behavior occurs when citation distributions of papers
published in the same field, but in different years, are compared. These
findings provide a strong validation of $c/c_0$ as an unbiased indicator
for citation performance across disciplines and years. Based on this
indicator, we introduce a generalization of the h-index suitable for
comparing scientists working in different fields. 

Comments:  14 pages, 5 figures
Subjects:  Physics and Society (physics.soc-ph); Data Analysis,
Statistics and Probability (physics.data-an)
Cite as:  arXiv:0806.0974v1 [physics.soc-ph]


Christina K. Pikas, MLS 
R.E. Gibson Library & Information Center
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory 
Voice  240.228.4812 (Washington), 443.778.4812 (Baltimore) 
Fax 443.778.5353 

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