Differences in citation frequency of clinical and basic science papers in cardiovascular research.
Bottom Line: It is also demonstrated that the groups of clinical and basic cardiovascular papers are also heterogeneous concerning citation frequency.It is concluded that none of the existing citation indicators appreciates these differences.At this moment these indicators should not be used for quality assessment of individual scientists and scientific niches with small numbers of scientists.
In this article, a critical analysis is performed on differences in citation frequency of basic and clinical cardiovascular papers. It appears that the latter papers are cited at about 40% higher frequency. The differences between the largest number of citations of the most cited papers are even larger. It is also demonstrated that the groups of clinical and basic cardiovascular papers are also heterogeneous concerning citation frequency. It is concluded that none of the existing citation indicators appreciates these differences. At this moment these indicators should not be used for quality assessment of individual scientists and scientific niches with small numbers of scientists.
Mentions: Circulation is the top journal in the category ‘Cardiac & cardiovascular system’ in the Web of Science database of Thomson Reuters. Figure 8 shows the cumulative citation of papers published by Circulation during the years 1955–1995 with 10 year intervals and the year 2000 as well. In the database the type of paper ‘article’ was selected in the general search mode. Next, the cumulative number of citations was scored from 1955 till 2007. Thus, a paper published in 1955 had a citation window of 53 years, whereas a paper published in 2000 had only a citation window of 8 years. It is obvious that there are far more publishing scientists nowadays than in 1955. Notwithstanding this, it came as a surprise to us that an average article published in 2000 is already as frequently cited after 4 years as an average paper published in 1955 or 1965 after 53 or 43 years. It can also be appreciated from Fig. 8 that there was a huge increase in citations frequency between 1965 and 1975. These data are not presented to make the statement that older scientists are at a disadvantage. When the presumption is accepted that Circulation was and is the top journal in the category ‘Cardiac and cardiovascular System’ over the last 60 years, the numerical increase over the years makes clear that the number of citations that can be obtained is a function of the number of contemporary scientists. Then, it logically follows that this is also true for different topics covered by a journal. This is exactly what is shown in Figs. 3, 4, 5, 6 and Table 1.Fig. 8