16.1 Introduction

Citation analysis is an increasingly common way to evaluate research impact. However, there seems to be a general lack of understanding of how different data sources and citation metrics might impact on comparisons of academics between disciplines. This chapter analyses the citation records of ten full professors at the University of Melbourne (Australia) in a variety of disciplines to illustrate how different data sources and different citations metrics might lead to very different conclusions.

The ten professors were chosen at random, but they were all established professors in their fields. In many cases they had high level positions such as Head of Department, Director of a major research centre, Associate Dean Research, Dean of a School or Faculty, or Deputy Vice Chancellor. One should therefore not necessarily consider their performance to reflect typical norms scores in their disciplines. There might be many excellent professors with lower research impact scores.

In addition, I do not claim that the academics used as an example in this chapter are fully representative of their disciplines. There are many performance differences even within the same discipline. However, the results presented in this chapter are fairly typical of the results I have gathered in nearly four years of research in citation analysis. This includes anecdotal knowledge gathered in responding to the many requests for assistance in using Publish or Perish, a citation analysis program using Google Scholar data.