mean and median number of citations per article?

Stephen J Bensman notsjb at LSU.EDU
Thu Sep 3 17:00:36 EDT 2009

Probably you would have to develop this data on your own.  You seem to
be interested in clinical medicine, so get together a good sample
journals narrowly classified in clinical medicine and covered in the SCI
JCR.  You can use the LC schedules to form your set.  The JCR does not
have a subject category for clinical medicine.  Then retrieve impact
factors from the JCR.  Nowadays, you can retrieve two-year impact
factor, five-year impact factor, and article influence score.  Careful
of the latter two, because they have a 5-year framework and the JCR has
a 2-year framework for title changes, which can screw up your citation
measures beyond this framework.  That's the easy part.  Then work up a
sample of articles on clinical trials, and calculate their mean and
median citation rate over your chosen time-period.  You can then compare
this to your journal means.  As for the zero class, lot's of luck.  That
is one of the hardest damn things in the world to estimate, sometimes
requiring computer runs lasting for days.  There is a good reason why
zero was the last number to be discovered.

Wish I could offer you more than a lot of grunt work.  But, as Nietzsche
said, that, which does not kill you, strengthens you.
Stephen J. Bensman
LSU Libraries
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA   70803
notsjb at

-----Original Message-----
From: ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics
[mailto:SIGMETRICS at LISTSERV.UTK.EDU] On Behalf Of Karen A. Robinson
Sent: Thursday, September 03, 2009 2:50 PM
Subject: [SIGMETRICS] mean and median number of citations per article?

I'm looking for the mean and median number of citations per article. 
Ideally, for overall and also for clinical trials in specific. I've seen

a number of different figures but thought someone on this list would 
know of the definitive source for this information. Also of interest 
would be the number or proportion of articles that remain uncited. I 
recall seeing a figure, I think from Garfield, that gave this at 25%.

thanks in advance for your suggestions and advice,
Karen A. Robinson
Internal Medicine and Health Sciences Informatics, Medicine
Johns Hopkins University
1830 East Monument Street, Room 8069
Baltimore, MD 21287
410-502-9216 (voice)
410-955-0825 (fax)
krobin at

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