Thursday, September 20, 2007

New approach to citation measurement

I was recently asked about a journal's impact factor. Eckerd does not subscribe to Journal Citation Report from Thomson ISI, which presents impact factors in a neat package. I have spent some time, definitely not enough, looking into other measurements and measurement systems. I found an interesting, free, downloadable program by Anne-Wil Harzing, called Publish or Perish, that uses Google Scholar for calculations over Thomson ISI. The program calculates citations per paper, per year, as well as the h-index and g-index (Leo Egghe, Theory and practice of the g-index, Scientometrics, Vol. 69, No 1 [2006], pp. 131-152; Harzing offers a white paper comparing the use of Google Scholar and Thomson databases for calculations. According to Harzing, some of the major advantages to Google Scholar include the capture of articles in non-ISI-indexed journals and capture of book chapters, whereas some of the problems associated with Google Scholar include capture of nonscholarly works and length of time between updates.

I conducted a little experiment with one of our Marine Science professors, Shannon Gowans. Using Web of Science Cited Reference Search from 1999 to 2007, I found she had 68 citations to 9 articles. Using Publish or Perish, I found 154 citations to 10 articles. This is a large difference, and I am curious as to the reasons. I hope to look more into this topic, especially if it will help Eckerd faculty.

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