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Model-based evaluation of scientific impact indicators

  • Medo, Matúš Physics Department, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Cimini, Giulio IMT School for Advanced Studies, Lucca, Italy - Istituto dei Sistemi Complessi (ISC)-CNR, Rome, Italy
Published in:
  • Physical Review E. - 2016, vol. 94, no. 3, p. 032312
English Using bibliometric data artificially generated through a model of citation dynamics calibrated on empirical data, we compare several indicators for the scientific impact of individual researchers. The use of such a controlled setup has the advantage of avoiding the biases present in real databases, and it allows us to assess which aspects of the model dynamics and which traits of individual researchers a particular indicator actually reflects. We find that the simple average citation count of the authored papers performs well in capturing the intrinsic scientific ability of researchers, regardless of the length of their career. On the other hand, when productivity complements ability in the evaluation process, the notorious h and g indices reveal their potential, yet their normalized variants do not always yield a fair comparison between researchers at different career stages. Notably, the use of logarithmic units for citation counts allows us to build simple indicators with performance equal to that of h and g. Our analysis may provide useful hints for a proper use of bibliometric indicators. Additionally, our framework can be extended by including other aspects of the scientific production process and citation dynamics, with the potential to become a standard tool for the assessment of impact metrics.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Physique
  • English
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