Assessing the Citations of Articles on Intellectual Capital: What Are the “Influencers”?

Assessing the Citations of Articles on Intellectual Capital: What Are the “Influencers”?

Eugenia de Matos Pedro (NECE - Research Center in Business Sciences, University of Beira Interior, Portugal), Helena Alves (NECE - Research Center in Business Sciences, University of Beira Interior, Portugal), and João Leitão (NECE - Research Center in Business Sciences, University of Beira Interior, Portugal & CEG-IST, University of Lisbon, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/IJKM.2020040103
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This article is based on the intellectual capital (IC) literature and identifies factors that can influence the total number of citations from articles related to this subject. Seven hundred seventy-seven empirical articles about IC published between 1960 and 2016 from ISI Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar were validated and used. Through logistic regression, the results reveal that: number of authors (p < 0.05); use of the triad of human, structural (organizational or process), and relational (social or customer) capital (p < 0.05); and the ISI impact factor (p < 0.001) are the factors with greatest influence on the total number of ISI citations from scientific articles on IC. The content analysis also provides insightful implications in the sense that articles with more citations use established conceptualizations of both human and social (or relational) capital, as well as addressing the still unexplored relationships between intellectual capital and organizations' economic or innovative performance.
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According to Reedijk and Moed (2008), journal impact factors and citation measures were initially designed and applied to monitor the journal coverage of the Science Citation Index and they constituted a tool to identify the most important journals in the scientific community. In addition, Bellis (2009) states that citations are a visible intellectual connection in the process of transmitting and re-elaborating scientific knowledge. However, two studies published in journals with the same or similar impact factor will not obtain the same number of citations, due to other determinants still to be explored (Dieks and Chang, 1976). Being quoted is particularly important for academics and for the institutions they work in, as regards both the influence on scientific progress and the reputation of academics and their institutions (van Wesel et al., 2014). For example, the analysis of 131 publications in the period 2006-2007, carried out by the School of Environmental Science and Management at Southern Cross University reveals that the journal’s impact factor, the length and type of text (article or review) and journals’ self-citations affect the citations accumulated up to 2012 (Vanclay, 2013). Therefore, understanding why some studies are more quoted than others can help researchers to write articles that will receive more citations, contributing to an effective influence on the evolutionary path of the different fields of knowledge (van Wesel et al., 2014).

The challenge to raise the impact of research through assessment of the number of citations affects both knowledge management established topics or ‘not so explored’ topics, as is the case of intellectual capital (IC), where multidimensional axes of analysis are increasingly considered. The emergence of new multidimensional axes of analysis of IC, concentrated on levels of individual, organizational, urban, regional (Užienė, 2013) and national (Gogan, 2014; Mačerinskienė and Aleknavičiūtė, 2015) research, besides the more usual application at the organizational level, has meant that the IC concept has seen a gradual expansion of its range of application (Nitkiewicz et al., 2014), corresponding to a substantial increase in the number of publications in journals in the most diverse areas.

Based on the assumptions presented above, the research question (RQ) orienting this analysis is as follows: what are the main variables that can influence the number of citations from research on IC?

To address this, we follow a methodology that aims to: (i) elaborate a data-collecting instrument; (ii) treat the data collected though descriptive statistics and a logistic regression; and (iii) identify the significant variables; which according to understanding of the sample collected, can influence citations from research on IC. It is important to identify what motivates researchers at the time of quoting a given study. Therefore, the fact of having citations per se may not be sufficient to choose a given article to quote in their study, and that choice may be related to other decision variables, as found by other authors (for example, Vanclay, 2013; Beatriz et al., 2013; van Wesel et al., 2014).

Various studies are found on this subject, but above all in areas such as biotechnology and applied microbiology (Frenken et al., 2005); sustainability (Beatriz et al., 2013); environmental science and management (Vanclay, 2013), among others. However, no study is found to deal with publications related to IC. Besides dealing with an unexplored research topic, from this perspective, applied to the subject of IC, this study also covers an extended time period, including a greater diversity of publications and considering a sample of 777 articles published in the 1960 – 2016 period.

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