Citation Analysis and Theory

Citation Analysis and Theory

James Tsung Juang Wang
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch442
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Citation describes a relationship between two scholarly authors or among several scholarly authors. The relationship may be studied by citation analysis, now usually called citationology, for the purpose of determining comparisons, contrasts, or, most importantly, influences between and among authors. The nature of the relationship has two aspects: intellectual and social. The intellectual dimension is concerned with the access and retrieval of information and the development of research and ideas. The social dimension is mainly concerned with evaluating the scholarly performance of an author, and as such may be instrumental toward that author achieving tenure, promotion, and funding within the academic community. Actually, the two conceptual aspects of citation might be said to be so intertwined that it would be impossible to separate the intellectual aspect from the social aspect. As Merton (1942 /1973) argues, the ethos of science assumes that knowledge is communal and freely shared, so it is, in effect, not only by discovering knowledge but also by sharing that discovery that a scientist builds a reputation within the scientific community. Citations are both markers of intellectual accomplishment and the extent to which that knowledge has been shared with others and has been influential. Thus the intellectual and social components of the concept of citation are virtually inseparable. The purpose of this article is, first, to illuminate the important features and controversies relating to both the social and the intellectual components of citation, and, then, to investigate the possibility of the establishment of a somewhat belated generally acceptable theory of citation.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Normative Citation: The practice of scholarly citation intended to honour the ethos of science by identifying and sharing information to aid future retrieval and research.

Co-Citation Analysis: The study of pairs of citations, mainly for the identification of shared interests or themes.

Social Citation: The practice of scholarly citation intended to construct and ascribe a symbolic meaning to cited materials, for the purpose of advancing the citer’s argument.

Garfield Impact Factor (GF): An index developed by Garfield (1955) to assign a numerical value to a scholar’s achievement by counting the number of publications attributable to him or her.

Citation: A statement in a text that refers to an earlier text, presumably one that has influenced the citing text.

Citation Analysis: The study of the relationship between and among the authors of texts, mainly for the purpose of identifying relevance and influence.

Hirsch Index (H-Index): An index developed by Hirsch (2005) to assign a numerical value to a scholar’s achievement by factoring both the number of publications and the number of citations attributable to him or her.

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