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    How fractional counting affects the Impact Factor: Normalization in terms of differences in citation potentials among fields of science

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    The ISI-Impact Factors suffer from a number of drawbacks, among them the statistics-why should one use the mean and not the median?-and the incomparability among fields of science because of systematic differences in citation behavior among fields. Can these drawbacks be counteracted by counting citation weights fractionally instead of using whole numbers in the numerators? (i) Fractional citation counts are normalized in terms of the citing sources and thus would take into account differences in citation behavior among fields of science. (ii) Differences in the resulting distributions can be tested statistically for their significance at different levels of aggregation. (iii) Fractional counting can be generalized to any document set including journals or groups of journals, and thus the significance of differences among both small and large sets can be tested. A list of fractionally counted Impact Factors for 2008 is available online at http://www.leydesdorff.net/weightedif/weightedif.xls. The in-between group variance among the thirteen fields of science identified in the U.S. Science and Engineering Indicators is not statistically significant after this normalization. Although citation behavior differs largely between disciplines, the reflection of these differences in fractionally counted citation distributions could not be used as a reliable instrument for the classification.

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    Description

    Title : How fractional counting affects the Impact Factor: Normalization in terms of differences in citation potentials among fields of science
    Author(s) : Loet Leydesdorff, Lutz Bornmann
    Abstract : The ISI-Impact Factors suffer from a number of drawbacks, among them the statistics-why should one use the mean and not the median?-and the incomparability among fields of science because of systematic differences in citation behavior among fields. Can these drawbacks be counteracted by counting citation weights fractionally instead of using whole numbers in the numerators? (i) Fractional citation counts are normalized in terms of the citing sources and thus would take into account differences in citation behavior among fields of science. (ii) Differences in the resulting distributions can be tested statistically for their significance at different levels of aggregation. (iii) Fractional counting can be generalized to any document set including journals or groups of journals, and thus the significance of differences among both small and large sets can be tested. A list of fractionally counted Impact Factors for 2008 is available online at http://www.leydesdorff.net/weightedif/weightedif.xls. The in-between group variance among the thirteen fields of science identified in the U.S. Science and Engineering Indicators is not statistically significant after this normalization. Although citation behavior differs largely between disciplines, the reflection of these differences in fractionally counted citation distributions could not be used as a reliable instrument for the classification.
    Subject : unspecified
    Area : Other
    Language : English
    Year : 2010

    Affiliations University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
    Journal : Journal of the American Society for Information Science
    Volume : 62
    Issue : 2
    Pages : 217-229
    Url : http://arxiv.org/abs/1007.4749

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    Loet's Peer Evaluation activity

    Downloads 11
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    Collected by 1
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    • Lupicinio Iñiguez-Rueda, Professor, Departament de Psicologia Social, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona.
    • Josmel Pacheco-Mendoza, Research Fellow, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.
    • Aalam Wassef, Publisher, Founder of Peer Evaluation, Galerie Conradi.
    • Juan Muñoz-Justicia, Professor, Departament de Psicologia Social, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona.
    • Clement Levallois, Post Doctorate, Rotterdam School of Management, E-humanities group of the KNAW, Erasmus Studio, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Gephi Consortium.

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