Citation analysis measures the impact of a published work (e.g. book or article), researcher, or institution based on the number of times the work, person, or institution has been cited by others. You can use citation analysis to measure your own scholarly impact, which is helpful for convincing employers and funding agencies that your work is important. You can also use citation analysis to identify important work in your field.
Different citation analysis tools are more or less effective for different disciplines - depending on the publishing and citing norms in the field. For a general overview of citation analysis tools and how to use them, please see the Impact Factors and Citation Analysis LibGuide.
Article/book impact: The value of particular works, such as journal articles, conference proceedings, and books, can be measured by the number times they are cited by other works and alternative metrics such as tweets, blog posts, likes, bookmarks, etc.
Journal impact: The importance of particular academic journals can be measured by the number of times their articles are cited and where they are cited.
Researcher impact: The success of particular researchers can be measured by the number of works they publish and the number of times their works are cited.
Institutional impact: The prestige of a department or area of research within an institution can be measured by the collective impact of its individual researchers compared to those at other institutions.
Best practice in calculating scholarly impact requires using multiple tools. In their study of the work of Library and Information Science faculty, Meho and Yang (2007) found surprisingly little overlap in the citations produced by Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar - only 58.2 percent of these citations appeared in both Web of Science and Scopus.
To see how widely the h-index can vary across citation tools, take a look at how Scopus, Web of Science, and HPoP calculate h-index for two anonymous scholars at different stages of their career.
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As a discipline, sociology has several features that influence which citation metric are most useful for measuring scholarly impact:
This means that for sociology, the ideal index will consider: (1) the age of the article, and by extension, the age of the author, (2) both books and articles as sources and objects of citations, and (3) sources from a variety of disciplines.
While Web of Science (WoS) is often a go-to tool for measuring a scholar's impact, Harzing's Publish or Perish has several advantages over WoS for sociologists:
Image from http://harzing.com/resources/publish-or-perish.
|HPoP is powered by Google Scholar, which has more comprehensive journal coverage for Sociology than Web of Science (Kousha and Thelwall 2007).||HPoP does not cover as many chemistry, biology, and physics journal than Web of Science. But, this weakness is less important for sociologists, who are not regularly cited by these disciplines.|
|Coverage of books in Web of Science is limited - as of November 2014, the index covered only 38 percent of books published in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (Thomson Reuters 2016). HPoP is therefore a stronger tool for a field where books are an important form of scholarship.||
HPoP tends to overestimate the number of publications an author has because it includes book reviews, grey literature, notes, and articles in newsletters. If the author appears in someone else's acknowledgments or in a list of reviewer for a particular journal, he/she also receives credit for these "citations". Calculating an accurate h-index through HPoP may require more cleaning than indices calculated with other tools.
Who Should Use It?
Might be less useful for:
Kousha, Kayvan and Mike Thelwall. "Google Scholar Citations and Google Web/URL Citations: A Multi-Discipline Exploratory Analysis." Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 58(7): 1055-1065.
Meho, Lokman I. and Kiduk Yang. "Imact of Data Sources on Citation Counts and Rankings of LIS Faculty: Web of Science Versus Scopus and Google Scholar." Jurnal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 58(13): 2105-2125.