The Impact of Doctoral Research in Information Science and Librarianship

Citation Analysis

This project reveals, once again, that an author's publication record may be quite different from the record of the times and the pattern in which these publications have been cited by other authors. Those with few publications may be heavily cited in the literature, whereas those with many publications may be cited infrequently or not at all.

At the top of the scale are two award-holders, one an academic and the other not, whose records of citations of their published work are outstanding. The ways in which they are outstanding show very interesting differences, primarily perhaps because of the difference in subject areas. Because they are both such outstanding and interesting demonstrations of research impact, analyses of these two persons' citations are presented in detail in the next section.

At the other end of the scale are eight award-holders in the sample population of fifteen for whom several searches in the ISI citation databases, under variant forms of their names, yielded no citations at all. Since most of these persons have so far published little of relevance to their doctoral research (including the one not yet completed), the result is perhaps not surprising. However, the category does include two Senior Lecturers, one Lecturer and the Assistant Professor.

The remaining five award-holders fall somewhere in between in terms of number of citations, though the citation patterns vary.

Perhaps the most interesting, and certainly the most puzzling, is the citation analysis of the Lecturer who came at the top of the list earlier in terms of number of publications. Although just seventeen of this person's impressive output of seventy publications from 1989 to 1996 were considered relevant for this project, this is still a sizeable number. Furthermore, one would expect that the publications of so productive an author would by now have been influenced by a "spill-over effect" resulting in his being cited more or less habitually in the literature of his field. This has not turned out to be the case, however - at least as far as the ISI databases are concerned. The Social Scisearch database includes just three citations to two of this author's relevant publications. Of the two publications, one was cited once in 1994 and the other twice (one a self citation) in the period from 1995 to 1996. One of the two authors citing his work is from an LIS department in the United States (writing in the Journal of Documentation), the other from a Management department in Canada (writing in Organization).

It may be that citations of this productive scholar's works do exist, but that the citing authors have published in journals which tend not to be covered by the ISI indexes. Without prior knowledge of the citations, however, it is not possible to track the journals in which they might have appeared.

The other four award-holders in the "in between" category are two practitioners who completed their Ph.D.s in 1986 and 1991 respectively, the Research Fellow and occasional Lecturer who received her Ph.D. in 1994, and the 1994 graduate still holding her Post-doctoral Research Fellowship.

Of the two practitioners, the more recent (1991) graduate has the higher citation count. Three of her publications have been cited, one four times in 1993-1994 (one a self citation), the second once in 1996, and the third twice (both self citations) in 1992. Of the four citations of her work by other authors (all appearing in Social Scisearch), two are by UK LIS authors (writing in the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology and the Journal of Information Science respectively), the other two by authors in LIS departments in the United States (writing in Library Resources & Technical Services and JASIS respectively).

The earlier Ph.D. graduate, now a computer scientist, may have the stronger citation record in terms of impact. He has had one of his three relevant articles cited twice in the literature, the second citation (in Interacting with Computers in 1993 by a group of authors in Australia and the UK) having been found in both Scisearch and Social Scisearch. The first citation to his article, appearing in Scisearch, was in an paper in Artificial Intelligence in 1991 by a group of authors at the AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ and the Center for Artificial Intelligence in Menlo Park, CA, USA.

The Research Fellow and occasional Lecturer, whose Ph.D. was about media coverage of medical research, has so far been cited twice. One citation was in a letter by a Dutch author to the British Medical Journal in 1995 (appearing in both Scisearch and Social Scisearch), the other a self citation in the same journal in 1996. It would be interesting to follow the progress of this 1994 graduate, however, as several more of her publications currently in press begin to appear in the literature and make their impact.

The 1994 Ph.D. graduate still holding her Post-doctoral Research Fellowship has so far had two of her publications cited, according to Social Scisearch, both of them self citations in a single book review.

Mary Dykstra Lynch and T.D. Wilson©British Library Board 1997