About Citation Analysis:
Citation Behavior

Because citation counts, in this context, are treated as a type of research data, things that affect accuracy are also important.  One issue is the problem of distinguishing between authors with the same last names and initials.  In addition, bibliographies in the published literature are notorioius for containing numerous errors.


Why do authors cite a specific source?
In addition to studies that correlate citation counts with a variety of factors, some studies work with authors and bibliographies directly to identify reasons that a paper is cited. 

Some reasons mentioned include:  giving credit to pioneers in a field, or credit to the contributions of contemporaries, and citing the original paper in which an idea or concept was first published. 

Other reasons are to identify a method, authenticate a fact, or to provide background reading. Works are also cited to correct or criticize previous research, correct the author’s previous work, or dispute the claims of others.  Researchers tend to cite people they know.  

The literature of citation analysis reports that approximately 90% of articles published in academic journals are never cited.  How would you explain this observation?

Other Uses for Citation Information

In addition to use as a tool for assessing journal articles, citation relationships can be very useful in researching a topic.  First, it may be possible to locate important papers by looking at those with the most citations.  Some citation databases provide online access to the bibliographies of articles, as well as links to later articles that cite a specific paper.  These networks can be surprisingly helpful at finding relevant information, some of which is missed by subject searching.

Citation data for articles can also be aggregated and used as a tool for evaluating journals.

NEXT: Exercise & Conclusions