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A comparison of the Web of Science with publication-level classification systems of Science

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 propose a new criterion for choosing between a pair of classification systems of science that assign publications (or journals) to a set of clusters. Consider the standard target (citedside) normalization procedure in which cluster mean citations are used as normalization factors. We recommend system A over system B whenever the standard normalization procedure based on system A performs better than the standard normalization procedure based on system B. Performance is assessed in terms of two double tests &-one graphical, and one numerical&- that use both classification systems for evaluation purposes. In addition, a pair of classification systems is compared using a third, independent classification system for evaluation purposes. We illustrate this strategy by comparing a Web of Science journal-level classification system, consisting of 236 journal subject categories, with two publication-level algorithmically constructed classification systems consisting of 1,363 and 5,119 clusters. There are two main findings. Firstly, the second publication-level system is found to dominate the first. Secondly, the publication-level system at the highest granularity level and the Web of Science journal-level system are found to be non-comparable. Nevertheless, we find reasons to recommend the publication-level option.

Date: 2016-01-01
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