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Field-normalized citation impact indicators and the choice of an appropriate counting method

Ludo Waltman and Nees Jan van Eck

Journal of Informetrics, 2015, vol. 9, issue 4, 872-894

Abstract: Bibliometric studies often rely on field-normalized citation impact indicators in order to make comparisons between scientific fields. We discuss the connection between field normalization and the choice of a counting method for handling publications with multiple co-authors. Our focus is on the choice between full counting and fractional counting. Based on an extensive theoretical and empirical analysis, we argue that properly field-normalized results cannot be obtained when full counting is used. Fractional counting does provide results that are properly field normalized. We therefore recommend the use of fractional counting in bibliometric studies that require field normalization, especially in studies at the level of countries and research organizations. We also compare different variants of fractional counting. In general, it seems best to use either the author-level or the address-level variant of fractional counting.

Keywords: Citation analysis; Counting method; Field normalization; Fractional counting; Full counting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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Handle: RePEc:eee:infome:v:9:y:2015:i:4:p:872-894