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University citation distributions

Antonio Perianes Rodríguez and Javier Ruiz-Castillo ()

UC3M Working papers. Economics from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía

Abstract: In this paper we investigate the characteristics of the citation distributions of the 500 universities inthe 2013 edition of the CWTS Leiden Ranking. We use a WoS dataset consisting of 3.6 million articles published in 2003-2008 with a five-year citation window, and classified into 5,119 clusters. The mainfindings are the following four. Firstly, The universality claim, according to which all university citation distributions, appropriately normalized, follow a single functional form, is not supported by the data. Secondly, nevertheless, the 500 university citation distributions are all highly skewed and very similar.Broadly speaking, university citation distributions appear to behave as if they differ by a relatively constant scale factor over a large, intermediate part of their support. Thirdly, citation impact differences between universities account for 3.85% of overall citation inequality. However, these differences are greatly reduced when university citation distributions are normalized using their MNCS values as normalization factors. Finally, the above results have important practical consequences. On one hand, we only need a single explanatory model for the single type of high skewness characterizing all university citation distributions. On the other hand, the similarity of university citation distributions goes a long way in explaining the similarity of the university rankings obtained with the MNCS and the top 10% indicator.

Date: 2015-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-sog
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Journal Article: University citation distributions (2016) Downloads
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