9.3.1 Using ISI to track down citation records in the past

If the tenure/promotion committee is still in doubt, they might want to commission some analyses for acknowledged top academics in the field and look at their citation records the first five years after they published their first article. In most cases, you will find it is much lower than you expected.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to use Google Scholar to track down someone's citations at a particular point in time. Google Scholar and hence Publish or Perish will always present someone's current publication record. However, ISI's Web of Science data allows us to go back in time.

Taking my own case as an example, my current ISI citation record puts me in the top 1% most cited academics in the field of Economics & Business. However, my citations took quite a while to take off. My first publication appeared in 1995. By 2000 I had a dozen publications printed or in press/accepted. However, at the start of 2000 I only had 9 ISI citations (with 20 new citations in 2000 and 27 new citations in 2001). If I had had to make my tenure case after just 5 years I wouldnt have had much to show for in terms of research impact.

Similarly, my own Dean — an accomplished and currently highly-cited academic in Management Accounting — only had 18 ISI citations a decade after publishing her first post-PhD article. Her citations only really started to take off 15 years after completing her PhD.