Analysis of citation patterns of journals

citationsweb of sciencecases

The library received a query from a group of academic researchers who wished to investigate what factors and relationships are crucial when publishing in key journals within a research field.

The library received a query from a group of academic researchers who wished to investigate what factors and relationships are crucial when publishing in key journals within a research field.

Taking one particular key journal as their starting point, the researchers collected data for that journal and even tried to analyse data from Web of Science (WOS) in BibExcel, but without success. The researchers had a theory that the journal only included articles which cited the journal's editors.

After a presentation on WOS at the department by a member of the library staff, the head of the group contacted the library and expressed an interest in using our know-how in WOS and BibExcel.

Solution

We held a number of preliminary meetings with the researchers, during which we discussed various issues and possible solutions (in the form of assorted bibliometric analyses). Among other things, we discussed the group's request to look specifically at the importance of including citations by the journal's editors for inclusion of an article in the journal. Since editors are often key researchers in a field, their work is, of course, cited. Thus the researchers' theory could easily be confirmed by bibliometric analyses, but on a misleading basis.

We agreed to start by carrying out a number of experiments to test the applicability of WOS and BibExcel. The library's approach was as follows:

We picked one journal and retrieved citation data from WOS for the period 1981-2007. After major "cleansing", we made a co-citation chart (cited authors and cited journals), counted the frequency of authors of articles in the set of data and submitted this chart to the group of researchers.  

Evaluation

The immediate results were positive. The researcher group was satisfied and we succeeded in testing the applicability of WOS and BibExcel. We concluded that there was potential for making useful charts showing relationships in a particular journal. However, this introductory work ought to have led to an analysis of other journals in order to ascertain whether citation practice varies among different journals – especially American and European journals.

The project was never completed, as the contact person in the group of researchers went abroad on a sabbatical and the work was postponed. Thus we lack knowledge about how our co-citation analysis and chart can be used to support academic researchers in practice. For example, to assess whether being able to document that journal editors are generally cited in journal articles is even worthwhile.

 


  • 25.01.2013 Oprettet af Ditte Schjødt Svensson