Cost/benefit per article/citation

Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2005 22:26:18 +0100 (BST)

On Sun, 17 Apr 2005, Mike Kurtz wrote:

> I am away so I cannot work this out, but the cost per refereed paper in
> astronomy is between 0.5 and 1 Million \$US. This just takes the number
> of refereed pubs and divides into the 6-7 G\$ cost of the field per year.
> It is \$1M if you only take the main joutrnals.
>
> If each article references 20 papers (a good guess, I can do beter
> when home) then > the value of each cite is _at_5-50 thousand \$ NOT \$500.

Dear Mike,

Thanks so much. That's a very interesting and useful calculation, but
not quite what I meant! You are there giving the *cost* per article (or
article and citation (for those whose salaries and/or research funding
covary with article and citation counts).

Hal Varian (many thanks Hal!) construed my query in the direction I had
intended, and replied with the 4 references below. A 20 year old study
across fields by Diamond found the marginal value of a citation to vary
from \$50 to \$1300, depending on the discipline and its annual number of
annual articles per author, and depending also on whether it is for the
1st citation (above 0) or the Nth.
http://www.garfield.library.upenn.edu/essays/v11p354y1988.pdf

It would be wonderful to have a more recent estimate of the marginal
dollar value per citation (to the author and/or the author's institution),
across disciplines, now that we are in the online age! (That would help
me translate the OA citation advantage into the only language that
everyone seems to understand: dollars!)
http://opcit.eprints.org/oacitation-biblio.html

Chrs, S
PS (Even for the cost per article (or citation), I would rather divide the
number of articles published annually by astro journals into the total
annual revenue of astor journals. There I think the average cost is
about \$2000 per article (of which only about 25% is for implementing
peer review, which I think is the only essential cost: the rest could be
scrapped, the journal doing and certifying the outcome of the peer
review, and all archiving and access-provision offloaded onto that
author's institution (and funder).)

Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2005 16:19:09 UT
From: hal_at_sims.berkeley.edu
Subject: value of a citation

There's a reasonable amount of work in this area. Here are a few JSTOR
references.

Title: Economists' Salaries and Lifetime Productivity
Author(s): Lawrence W. Kenny; Roger E. Studley
Source: Southern Economic Journal, Vol. 62, No. 2. (Oct., 1995),
pp. 382-393.

Title: What is a Citation Worth?
http://www.garfield.library.upenn.edu/essays/v11p354y1988.pdf
Author(s): Arthur M. Diamond Jr.
Source: The Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 21, No. 2. (Spring,
1986), pp. 200-215.
Abstract: A robust finding in all studies is that citations are a
positive and significant determinant of earnings over
almost all of the observed range of citation levels. The
marginal value of a citation (when the level of citations
is zero) varies between \$50 and \$1,300. Some
differences in marginal values may be due to differences
in citation practices among disciplines while others may
be due to differences among the studies in the control
variables included in the salary regressions. Finally, no
gain in explanatory power results from the inclusion in
the salary regression of the costly nonfirst-author
citation measure.

Title: Estimates of the Returns to Quality and Coauthorship in
Author(s): Raymond D. Sauer
Source: The Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 96, No. 4. (Aug.,
1988), pp. 855-866.
Abstract: Salaries of academic economists are studied to determine
if individuals receive differential returns to publishing
articles of varying quality and to coauthored versus
single-authored articles. Estimates based on detailed data
and a flexible nonlinear least-squares procedure indicate
that substantial returns to quality exist and that an
individual's return from a coauthored paper with n authors
is approximately 1/n times that of a single-authored
paper.

Title: Scholarship, Citations and Salaries: Economic Rewards in
Economics
Author(s): Daniel S. Hamermesh; George E. Johnson; Burton A.
Weisbrod
Source: Southern Economic Journal, Vol. 49, No. 2. (Oct., 1982),
pp. 472-481.