[Sigmetrics] Citations: Indicators of Quality? The Impact Fallacy; preprint version

Loet Leydesdorff loet at leydesdorff.net
Sat Apr 2 03:52:36 EDT 2016

Citations: Indicators of Quality? The Impact Fallacy

We argue that citation is a composed indicator: short-term citations can be
considered as currency at the research front, whereas long-term citations
can contribute to the codification of knowledge claims into concept symbols.
Knowledge claims at the research front are more likely to be transitory and
are therefore problematic as indicators of quality. Citation impact studies
focus on short-term citation, and therefore tend to measure not epistemic
quality, but involvement in current discourses in which contributions are
positioned by referencing. We explore this argument using three case
studies: (1) citations of the journal Soziale Welt as an example of a venue
that tends not to publish papers at a research front, unlike, for example,
JACS; (2) Robert Merton as a concept symbol across theories of citation; and
(3) the Multi-RPYS ("Multi-Referenced Publication Year Spectroscopy") of the
journals Scientometrics, Gene, and Soziale Welt. We show empirically that
the measurement of "quality" in terms of citations can further be qualified:
short-term citation currency at the research front can be distinguished from
longer-term processes of incorporation and codification of knowledge claims
into bodies of knowledge. The recently introduced Multi-RPYS can be used to
distinguish between short-term and long-term impacts. 


Loet Leydesdorff, Lutz Bornmann, Jordan Comins, and Staša Milojević


** available at http://arxiv.org/abs/1603.08452 

** apologies for cross-postings



Loet Leydesdorff 

Professor, University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)

 <mailto:loet at leydesdorff.net> loet at leydesdorff.net ;
<http://www.leydesdorff.net/> http://www.leydesdorff.net/ 
Honorary Professor,  <http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/> SPRU, University of

Guest Professor  <http://www.zju.edu.cn/english/> Zhejiang Univ., Hangzhou;
Visiting Professor,  <http://www.istic.ac.cn/Eng/brief_en.html> ISTIC,

Visiting Professor,  <http://www.bbk.ac.uk/> Birkbeck, University of London;



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