For a long time, Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) journal citations have been widely used for research performance monitoring of the sciences. For the social sciences, however, the Social Sciences Citation Index ® (SSCI®) can sometimes be insufficient. Broader types of publications (e.g., books and non-ISI journals) and informal scholarly indicators may also be needed. This article investigates whether the Web can help to fill this gap. The authors analyzed 1530 citations from Google™ to 492 research articles from 44 open access social science journals. The articles were published in 2001 in the fields of education, psychology, sociology, and economics. About 19% of the Web citations represented formal impact equivalent to journal citations, and 11% were more informal indicators of impact. The average was about 3 formal and 2 informal impact citations per article. Although the proportions of formal and informal online impact were similar in sociology, psychology, and education, economics showed six times more formal impact than informal impact. The results suggest that new types of citation information and informal scholarly indictors could be extracted from the Web for the social sciences. Since these form only a small proportion of the Web citations, however, Web citation counts should first be processed to remove irrelevant citations. This can be a time-consuming process unless automated.
Library & Information Science Research – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 2007
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