New paper

Bornmann Lutz lutz.bornmann at GESS.ETHZ.CH
Thu Jul 16 03:11:19 EDT 2009

Dear colleague,

Please find attached a recently published paper (pdf-file) that might be
of interest to you:


Bornmann, L. & Daniel, H.-D. (2009). Universality of citation
distributions - A validation of Radicchi et al.'s relative indicator cf
= c/c0 at the micro level using data from chemistry. Journal of the
American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60(8),


Abstract: In a recently published PNAS paper, Radicchi, Fortunato, and
Castellano (2008) propose the relative indicator cf as an unbiased
indicator for citation performance across disciplines (fields, subject
areas). To calculate cf , the citation rate for a single paper is
divided by the average number of citations for all papers in the
discipline in which the single paper has been categorized. cf values are
said to lead to a universality of discipline-specific citation
distributions. Using a comprehensive dataset of an evaluation study on
Angewandte Chemie International Edition (AC-IE), we tested the advantage
of using this indicator in practical application at the micro level, as
compared with (1) simple citation rates, and (2) z-scores, which have
been used in psychological testing for many

years for normalization of test scores. To calculate zscores, the mean
number of citations of the papers within a discipline is subtracted from
the citation rate of a single paper, and the difference is then divided
by the citations' standard deviation for a discipline. Our results
indicate that z-scores are better suited than cf values to produce
universality of discipline-specific citation distributions.

Sincerely yours,

Lutz Bornmann



Dr. Lutz Bornmann
ETH Zurich, D-GESS
Professorship for Social Psychology and Research on Higher Education
Zaehringerstr. 24 / ZAE
CH-8092 Zurich

Phone: 0041 44 632 48 25
Fax: 0041 44 632 12 83 <>  
bornmann at <mailto:bornmann at> 

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