Subject: Fwd: [Fwd: How citation distortions create unfounded authority: analysis of a citation network] by SA Greenberg (Harvard Med Sch) BMJ 2009;339:b2680

Eugene Garfield eugene.garfield at THOMSONREUTERS.COM
Fri Jul 24 16:21:31 EDT 2009

sagreenberg at email address




Objective To understand belief in a specific scientific

claim by studying the pattern of citations among papers

stating it.

Design A complete citation network was constructed from

all PubMed indexed English literature papers addressing

the belief that β amyloid, a protein accumulated in the

brain in Alzheimer's disease, is produced by and injures

skeletal muscle of patients with inclusion body myositis.

Social network theory and graph theory were used to

analyse this network.

Main outcome measures Citation bias, amplification, and

invention, and their effects on determining authority.


Conclusion Citation is both an impartial scholarly method

and a powerful form of social communication. Through

distortions in its social use that include bias,

amplification, and invention, citation can be used to

generate information cascades resulting in unfounded

authority of claims. Construction and analysis of a claim

specific citation network may clarify the nature of a

published belief system and expose distorted methods of

social citation.



When responding, please attach my original message
Eugene Garfield, PhD. email:  garfield at 
home page:
Tel: 215-243-2205 Fax 215-387-1266
President, The Scientist LLC.  
400 Market St., Suite 1250 Phila. PA 19106- 

Chairman Emeritus, ISI 
3501 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3302
Past President, American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) 


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: b2680.pdf
Type: application/octet-stream
Size: 1553664 bytes
Desc: b2680.pdf
URL: <>

More information about the SIGMETRICS mailing list