SV: [SIGMETRICS] identification of review articles

Olle Persson olle.persson at SOC.UMU.SE
Fri May 7 05:36:18 EDT 2010

...and if you look at ARIST which is supposed to contain reviews it is full of articles, and there is no correlation with the n of references and the doc type...


-----Ursprungligt meddelande-----
Från: ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics [mailto:SIGMETRICS at LISTSERV.UTK.EDU] För Ludo Waltman
Skickat: den 7 maj 2010 10:37
Ämne: Re: [SIGMETRICS] identification of review articles

Dear Linda,

Some time ago I performed an (unpublished) analysis of the accuracy of  
the identification of reviews in Web of Science. At least in some  
fields (subject categories) the distinction between ordinary articles  
and reviews is inaccurate. Consider the field of management. The  
attached Figure 1 shows the distribution of publications in the field  
of management based on their number of references. Ordinary articles  
are indicated in blue and reviews in red. As can be seen, in the field  
of management almost all publications with more than 100 references  
are classified as reviews, while almost no publications with less than  
100 references are classified as reviews. It is of course extremely  
unlikely that this is a correct classification. One would expect the  
proportion of reviews to be a gradually increasing function of the  
number of references. Instead, the figure shows a sudden increase at  
100 references. Similar observations can be made for other fields,  
although management seems to be a quite extreme case. Pharmacology &  
pharmacy is an example of a field with a much more gradually  
increasing proportion of reviews (see the attached Figure 2). So in  
this field the distinction between ordinary articles and reviews may  
be more accurate.

Best regards,

Ludo Waltman

Ludo Waltman MSc

Centre for Science and Technology Studies
Leiden University
P.O. Box 905
2300 AX Leiden
The Netherlands

Willem Einthoven Building, Room B5-35
Tel:      +31 (0)71 527 5806
Fax:      +31 (0)71 527 3911
E-mail:   waltmanlr at

Quoting Linda Butler <linda.butler at ANU.EDU.AU>:

> Adminstrative info for SIGMETRICS (for example unsubscribe):
> I'm hoping someone on the list may be able to help with this query ...
> Until now, I have often used separate field-normalised benchmarks   
> for articles and reviews.  However some recent work I have   
> undertaken has made me question the wisdom of this.  My   
> understanding is that Scopus and WoS both classify a publication as   
> a 'review' if it contains more than 100 references. I hadn't thought  
>  too closely about this methodology until I recently came across  
> some  articles that both Scopus and WoS have classified as reviews,  
> but  which appear to be standard research articles (though with lots  
> of  references).  I'm now beginning to wonder whether I should  
> continue  to used separate benchmarks for articles and reviews.  If  
> it is only  one or two papers that crop up in a macro level  
> analysis, then I  won't be too concerned.  But if there is a  
> question mark over the  accuracy of this method for identifying  
> reviews, and the problem is  more common than, then I will need to  
> rethink my methodology.
> Does anyone know of any empirical studies that have examined the   
> accuracy of this method for classifying a publication as a review?
> Or even if you don't know of any studies, have you come across   
> similar concerns in any analyses you have undertaken?
> with thanks
> Linda Butler

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