The Quality of Citations: Towards Quantifying Qualitative Impact in Social Science Research

28 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2016

See all articles by Paul C. Bauer

Paul C. Bauer

Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES)

Pablo Barbera

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Simon Munzert

University of Mannheim - Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES)

Date Written: June 1, 2016

Abstract

The quantity of citations (“times cited”) has evolved into an influential indicator of scientific impact both in itself and packaged into other metrics (e.g. h-index, impact factor). In this study we contrast the idea of “quantity” with the idea of the “quality” of citations, i.e. the “quality” of impact. We develop and present methods that can be used to move from a superficial assessment of citation quantity to a more nuanced view of the quality of citations. We illustrate these methods using six highly cited study in the fields of political science, economics and sociology. In the future this more nuanced view and the data we are generating should allow for testing various hypotheses linked to the reception of scientific works and the sociology of science more generally. Our study is complemented by opensource code (based on R) that shall be collected in a R package CitationsR that allows other researchers to pursue their own analyses of the quality of impact of one or several studies.

Suggested Citation

Bauer, Paul C. and Barbera, Pablo and Munzert, Simon, The Quality of Citations: Towards Quantifying Qualitative Impact in Social Science Research (June 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2874549 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2874549

Paul C. Bauer (Contact Author)

Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES) ( email )

Germany

Pablo Barbera

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Simon Munzert

University of Mannheim - Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES) ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

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