Quantitative evaluation of alternative field normalization procedures

Thumbnail Image
Publication date
Defense date
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Google Scholar
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Wide differences in publication and citation practices make impossible the direct comparison of raw citation counts across scientific disciplines. Recent research has studied new and traditional normalization procedures aimed at suppressing as much as possible these disproportions in citation numbers among scientific domains. Using the recently introduced IDCP (Inequality due to Differences in Citation Practices) method, this paper rigorously tests the performance of six cited-side normalization procedures based on the Thomson Reuters classification system consisting of 172 sub-fields. We use six yearly datasets from 1980 to 2004, with widely varying citation windows from the publication year to May 2011. The main findings are the following three. Firstly, as observed in previous research, within each year the shapes of sub-field citation distributions are strikingly similar. This paves the way for several normalization procedures to perform reasonably well in reducing the effect on citation inequality of differences in citation practices. Secondly, independently ofthe year of publication and the length of the citation window, the effect of such differences represents about 13% of total citation inequality. Thirdly, a recently introduced two-parameter normalization scheme outperforms the other normalization procedures over the entire period, reducing citation disproportions to a level very close to the minimum achievable given the data and the classification system. However, the traditional procedure of using sub-field mean citations as normalization factors yields also good results.
Bibliographic citation
Yunrong Li, Filippo Radicchi, Claudio Castellano and Javier Ruiz-Castillo, “Quantitative Evaluation of Alternative Field Normalization Procedures”, Journal of Informetrics, 2013, v. 7, n. 3, pp. 476-755