Number of Citations

One of the most important measures of scientific impact is certainly the number of citations. This parameter can be also misleading sometimes, but to much lesser extent than the Number of publications parameter. Citation is a mentioning of someones work (paper, book chapter, patent, etc) in a paper. In general, whenever we mention some results or achievements made by other scientists in our own work, it is our duty to mention the main source containing those information. Citing someones work in your own work means that you inform readers of your work that certain conclussions, information, data, etc came from another work. 

Citing someones work is very important, because it gives the credit to other people who invested resources in order to perform a research, and because it enables evaluation of the scientific impact. Number of citations also allows derivation of a number of parameters used for classification of scientists, journals and institutions according to their scientific impact.

Some parameters derived based on number of citations:

Two main types of citations?

Self citation (homocitation):
When a scientists refer to some of their own, previously published, results.

Citation by other scientists (heterocitation):
When scientists are cited in papers published by other scientists.

It is very important to understand the difference between the self citation and citation by others. Both types of citations are important, however, it is much harder to receive citations by other scientists than to cite your own paper. For example, the famous Google Scholar service reports only total number of citations (self citations + citations by others). But it tells nothing about who provided those citations. 

For example, two scientists can have the same total number of citations, let’s say 1000. Such information can be misleading, because it says nothing about the type of citations. For example, one of those scientists can have much larger number of self citations (for example 700), while the other one can have much larger number of citations made by other scientists (for example 700 again). Higher scientific impact is made by the scientist who has higher number of citations by other scientists, because his/her research was more significant for other scientists. 

More about this very interesting topic coming soon 🙂