What’s wrong with citation analysis?
Other than your papers not being cited enough, what’s wrong with measuring scientific influence based on citation count? Citation analysis-based decisions concerning grants, promotions, etc. have become popular because, among other things, they’re considered “unbiased.” After all, such analysis gives numbers even non-professionals can understand, helping them make the best and most accurate decisions.
The written above is polite fiction. Why? First of all, citation analysis can only work with written, actual citations, but being influenced by something doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to refer to it. One of the basic assumptions behind citation analysis is that all, or at least most, of influences are cited in articles. It doesn’t work that way. MacRoberts and MacRoberts (2010) define influence as “When it is evident in the text that an author makes use of another’s work either directly or through secondary sources he or she has been influenced by that work.” According to a series of studies they conducted, only about 30% of influences are cited.