Re: [SIGMETRICS] On Metrics and Metaphysics

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2008 08:40:27 -0400

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On 22-Oct-08, at 7:33 AM, Loet Leydesdorff wrote:

> It seems to me that the expectation of the citation frequency is among
> other
> things a function of the local density of the citation network. A problem,
> however, remains how to define the locale: a journal, a theme, a patent
> class? "Quick and dirty" skips these problems, in my opinion. I agree that
> it may be pragmatical and shows that a solution is possible in principle.

With open access, it is no longer univariate (i.e., not just citation
counts) and
it is definitely no longer journal-centric (author and article metrics, not
JIFs, though journal JIFs can be among the metrics used). The point is that
metrics need to be plural, diverse, and validated and weighted by field and

To repeat: The "quick and dirty" example I gave was not meant to be used,
but to show that solutions (many solutions) are possible in principle, and
that their main features are that they are (1) multivariate, (2) field or
subfield-based, (3) require prior (joint) validation, field by field,
against an
already validated or face-valid criterion (such as peer evaluation), and,
 important, they are (4) conditional on the provision of a full Open Access
database on which to base them -- a condition that does not yet exist, but
one for which we are now fighting (using the potential of multiple Open
metrics as an incentive).

> The problem seems to me in the inference from aggregated citing behavior
> to
> an expectation of being cited. The analyst transposed the
> citation-transaction matrix (Wouters, 1999).

The matrix I have in mind is not a citation matrix, but a matrix consisting
of a
rich and diverse set of metrics, including downloads, chronometrics
(growth/decay of citations, downloads), co-citation metrics, co-authorship
metrics, funding metrics, student metrics. patent metrics, link metrics,
hub/authority metrics, endogamy/exogamy metrics, years of publication,
total publications, tag metrics, comment metrics, semiometrics, and more --
all these harvested from the Open Access Research Web, once all articles
are OA, citation-linked, and download-metered.

The difference between this plurimetric world and the world of univariate
citations will be like the difference between night and day. But we are
still in
the night...

Stevan Harnad
Received on Wed Oct 22 2008 - 13:42:46 BST

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