Science, 189(4200):397 August 1975
Letter to the Editor

Citation Analysis Studies

Eugene Garfield, Ph.D.


Citation analysis reflects the real world of science, not a fantasyland where all scientists’ work is equally valuable, where there is no scientific elite and no mediocrity, or where scientific results are directly proportional to money spent.

It is ironic that Nicholas Wade, in his otherwise excellent article on citation analysis (News and Comment, 2 May, p. 429), neglected to cite any of the relevant literature. It is equally ironic—and significant that subsequent critics of citation analysis (Letters, 13 June, p. 1064) ignore the wealth of published information on citation analysis (1), in which each of their points has already been assessed.

Those who read this literature will find that Citation analysis is not without its pit-falls, but that anomalies or abuses have a very small effect. Statistical routines have been developed to deal with derogatory and self-citations, multiple authorships, the stature of the journal in which an article appears, and unusual techniques papers. In addition, a confidence statement appropriate to statistical indicators is usually included in citation analyses.

Original, informed criticism of Citation analysis is welcome.

Institute for Scientific Information.
325 Chestnut Street.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106

European Brunch. Institute for Scientific
Information, 18 North Common Road.
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1.  back to text  D. J. de Solla Price, Science 149, 510 (1965);
    A.E.Bayer and J. Folger Social. Educ. 39. 382 (1966);
    Margolis. Science 155. 1213 (1967);
    C. R.Myers. Am. Psychol. 25. 1041 (1970);
    A. M. Hall.  The Use and Value of Citations A State of the Art Report
     (Report R7O/4. Institution of Electrical Engineers London. 1970);
    W. O. Hagstrom, Sociol. Educ. 44. 375 (1971);
    J. P. Martino, IEEE  (Inst. Electr. Electron. Eng. ) Trans Eng.Manage EM-18, 146 (1971);
    A. J. Meadows and J. G. 0. O'Connor, Sci Stud. I. 95(1971);
    J. R. Cole and  S. Cole. Social Stratification in Science (Univ. of Chicago Press. Chicago. 1973);
    A. J. Meadows. Communication in Science,  Butterworths, London, 1974);
    J. R. Cole and S. Cole, Science 183 32 (1974);
    H. Small and B. C. Griffith. Sci. Stud. 4. 17(1974):
    B. C. Griffith, S. Dey, J. Stonehill. ibid., p. 339.
    A. Virgo, thesis  Graduate Library School, University of Chicago (1974).