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Mathematics - Science Policy

The Citation Merit of Scientific Publications
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Author: Juan A. Crespo et al.

by Juan A. Crespo, Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín, Javier Ruiz-Castillo

We propose a new method to assess the merit of any set of scientific papers in a given field based on the citations they receive. Given a field and a citation impact indicator, such as the mean citation or the -index, the merit of a given set of articles is identified with the probability that a randomly drawn set of articles from a given pool of articles in that field has a lower citation impact according to the indicator in question. The method allows for comparisons between sets of articles of different sizes and fields. Using a dataset acquired from Thomson Scientific that contains the articles published in the periodical literature in the period 1998–2007, we show that the novel approach yields rankings of research units different from those obtained by a direct application of the mean citation or the -index.