Measurement of Low- and High-Impact in Citation Distributions: Technical Results Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2011

start page

  • 48

end page

  • 63


  • 1


  • 5

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1751-1577

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1875-5879


  • This paper introduces a novel methodology for comparing the citation distributions of research units of a certain size working in the same homogeneous field. Given a critical citation level (CCL), we suggest
    using two real valued indicators to describe the shape of any
    distribution: a high-impact and a low-impact measure defined over the
    set of articles with citations above or below the CCL. The key to this
    methodology is the identification of a citation distribution with an
    income distribution. Once this step is taken, it is easy to realize that
    the measurement of low-impact coincides with the measurement of
    economic poverty. In turn, it is equally natural to identify the
    measurement of high-impact with the measurement of a certain notion of
    economic affluence. On the other hand, it is seen that the ranking of
    citation distributions according to a family of low-impact measures is
    essentially characterized by a number of desirable axioms. Appropriately
    redefined, these same axioms lead to the selection of an equally
    convenient class of decomposable high-impact measures. These two
    families are shown to satisfy other interesting properties that make
    them potentially useful in empirical applications, including the
    comparison of research units working in different fields.