1.2 Why citation analysis?

Governments worldwide, all of which have mandates to foster societys best interest, have introduced formal rankings-based research assessment processes. These national research evaluation systems reinforce universities proclivity to systematically rank journals, scholars, and academic institutions.

In general we can distinguish two broad approaches to ranking: stated preference (or peer review) and revealed preference (Tahai & Meyer, 1999). Stated preference involves members of particular academic community ranking journals or universities (and less often academics) on the basis of their own expert judgments.

Revealed preference rankings are based on actual publication behavior and generally measure the citation rates of journals, academics or universities using Thomson ISI's Web of Knowledge. However, any source of citation data can be used. Publish or Perish is ideally suited to measure the impact of academics and journals with Google Scholar data.

If, after reading this book, you would like to learn even more about data sources, data metrics or any other aspect of citation analysis, you might be intrigued to know that there is a entire academic sub-discipline focusing on these topics: bibliometrics. Although bibliometrics is a multi-disciplinary field with relationships to the Sociology of Science and Science & Technology Studies, it is generally classified under Library and Information Sciences.

Journals most likely to publish articles relating to citation analysis are the longstanding Scientometrics (established in 1978) and Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (established in 1950 as American Documentation), as well as the more recently established Journal of Informetrics.