Methods to account for citation inflation in research evaluation

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dc.contributor Aalto-yliopisto fi
dc.contributor Aalto University en Petersen, Alexander M. Pan, Raj K. Pammolli, Fabio Fortunato, Santo 2019-06-03T14:20:40Z 2019-06-03T14:20:40Z 2019-09-01
dc.identifier.citation Petersen , A M , Pan , R K , Pammolli , F & Fortunato , S 2019 , ' Methods to account for citation inflation in research evaluation ' Research Policy , vol. 48 , pp. 1855-1865 . en
dc.identifier.issn 0048-7333
dc.identifier.issn 1873-7625
dc.identifier.other PURE UUID: ff6168f0-73a0-440f-a258-f2d76ffaf827
dc.identifier.other PURE ITEMURL:
dc.identifier.other PURE LINK:
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dc.description.abstract Quantitative research evaluation requires measures that are transparent, relatively simple, and free of disciplinary and temporal bias. We document and provide a solution to a hitherto unaddressed temporal bias – citation inflation – which arises from the basic fact that scientific publication is steadily growing at roughly 4% per year. Moreover, because the total production of citations grows by a factor of 2 every 12 years, this means that the real value of a citation depends on when it was produced. Consequently, failing to convert nominal citation values into real citation values produces significant mis-measurement of scientific impact. To address this problem, we develop a citation deflator method, outline the steps to generalize and implement it using the Web of Science portal, and analyze a large set of researchers from biology and physics to demonstrate how two common evaluation metrics – total citations and h-index – can differ by a remarkable amount depending on whether the underlying citation counts are deflated or not. In particular, our results show that the scientific impact of prior generations is likely to be significantly underestimated when citations are not deflated, often by 100% or more of the nominal value. Thus, our study points to the need for a systemic overhaul of the counting methods used evaluating citation impact – especially in the case of researchers, journals, and institutions – which can span several decades and thus several doubling periods. en
dc.format.extent 1855-1865
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso en en
dc.relation.ispartofseries Research Policy en
dc.relation.ispartofseries Volume 48 en
dc.rights openAccess en
dc.subject.other Strategy and Management en
dc.subject.other Management Science and Operations Research en
dc.subject.other Management of Technology and Innovation en
dc.subject.other 113 Computer and information sciences en
dc.title Methods to account for citation inflation in research evaluation en
dc.type A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä fi
dc.description.version Peer reviewed en
dc.contributor.department University of California Merced
dc.contributor.department Department of Computer Science
dc.contributor.department Polytechnic University of Milan
dc.contributor.department Indiana University Bloomington
dc.subject.keyword Career evaluation
dc.subject.keyword Citation analysis
dc.subject.keyword Measurement error
dc.subject.keyword Science policy
dc.subject.keyword Strategy and Management
dc.subject.keyword Management Science and Operations Research
dc.subject.keyword Management of Technology and Innovation
dc.subject.keyword 113 Computer and information sciences
dc.identifier.urn URN:NBN:fi:aalto-201906033500
dc.identifier.doi 10.1016/j.respol.2019.04.009
dc.type.version publishedVersion

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