Re: Open Access Book-Impact and "Demotic" Metrics and book-to-book citation lack of immediacy

From: <eugene.garfield_at_THOMSONREUTERS.COM>
Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2008 21:33:25 -0500

One final word--the time delay in the appearance of book to book
citations will probably be significantly different. If there were 50
books written on or near a particular topic I would be surprised that
there were more than a few books per year citing the target book. So how
predictive can that be if you have to wait a decade or more to find out.
Let's hope that I am wrong and that like Hot Papers, Hot books will be
cited within a relatively short period of time. However, it takes a lot
more time and effort to write a book than it does to write an article. I
suspect that Hot books will be reviewed frequently within the first two
or three years and before the content of the book has an impact on
scholarly journal articles. Some hot topics will of course turn up in
non-scholarly journals and periodicals and detected in Google searches.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
Behalf Of Stevan Harnad
Sent: Monday, November 03, 2008 7:50 PM
Subject: Re: Open Access Book-Impact and "Demotic" Metrics

On Mon, Nov 3, 2008 at 5:04 PM, <>

> Dear Stevan: In a recent article Peter Jacso estimated that there are
> 100,000,000 "orphan" cited references in the WebofScience.

Dear Gene, I presume that "orphan" citations means citations BY works
that are indexed in WoS TO works that are not indexed in WoS (many of
them books).

> That number is
> similar to the one I estimated for the number of cited references to
> and other non journal references. While I applaud the goal of
> book-to-book citation indexes I question whether that will really
change the
> metrics for most books, especially well cited ones.

I suspect you are right, overall (and I've made much the same bet
myself). (Compare a book/book citation count to a journal-article/book
citation count, and they will turn out to be highly correlated in most
fields, depending on how book-based a field is.) But that's why I
think it's a better idea to use a whole battery of metrics, rather
than just one or a few. All metrics need validation, against what they
are meant to predict, field by field, and then it is just a matter of
calibrating their weights: In some fields book/book citation counts
may have the same predictive power as article/book (or even
article/article) citation counts, and in other fields they may have
some independent predictive power of their own.

> What is the average number of books that will cite the average
scholarly book.?

That depends on the field, but of course it is not the absolute number
of citations that matters, but the predictive power of the variance,
for example, in predicting RAE peer rankings within a field.

> On the other hand the number of citations to books in journal articles
> often if not always be much larger than book-to-book citations.

That again depends on the field. In the humanities, some scholars have
told me with great conviction that only books matter, not journal
articles. (They probably did not have book *citations* in mind, just
book "influence" and usage, as well as book reviews. But there too I
would bet that book citations are highly correlated with influence and
usage, as long as we compare only within the same field or subfield,
like with like. It is still an empirical question, though, as you say,
whether in those same fields article/article and/or article/book
citations would not prove just as predictive as book/book citations.

> I think that the citation indexes been vastly underutilized. In my
> experience it has been quite easy to measure the citation impact of
> significant books using the WOS files, especially if one is careful
to look
> for the variations in citing the book title.

You are right that the existing WOS article/book citation counts have
been underutilized and should be tested against article/article
citation counts, as well as whatever criterion they are used to
predict, field by field.

> I am surprised at how few have
> been the studies of these metrics. Even when we have the book citation
> scholars should also be aware of the many imporant book reviews that
> published. Tens of thousands of these reviews are indexed as sources
in the
> SSCI and AHCI.

Book review counts will no doubt be useful -- though text-mining and
semiometrics might be even more useful there.

> It is of course distressing to hear social scientists repeat the myth
> you can't measure the citation impact of a book because they are not
> as sources in the ISI indexes.

Agreed (but that does not mean it would not be useful to collect
book/book citations too, by the means I suggested: self-archiving book
metadata plus reference lists!)

Best wishes,


> From: Stevan Harnad
> Sent: Friday, October 10, 2008 10:32 AM
> Subject: Open Access Book-Impact and "Demotic" Metrics
> SUMMARY: Unlike with OA's primary target, journal articles, the
deposit of
> the full-texts of books in Open Access Repositories cannot be
mandated, only
> encouraged. However, the deposit of book metadata + plus +
> reference-lists can and should be mandated. That will create the
metric that
> the book-based disciplines need most: a book citation index. ISI's Web
> Science only covers citations of books by (indexed) journal articles,
> book-based disciplines' biggest need
> is book-to-bookcitations. Citebase could provide that, once the book
> reference metadata are being deposited in the IRs too, rather than
> article postprints. (Google Books and Google Scholar are already
providing a
> first approximation to book citation count.) Analogues of "download"
> for books are also potentially obtainable from book vendors, beginning
> with Amazon Sales Rank. In the Humanities it also matters for credit
> impact how much the non-academic (hence non-citing) public is reading
> books ("Demotic Metrics"). IRs can not only (1) add
> deposit to their OA Deposit Mandates, but they can (2) harvest Amazon
> book-sales metrics for their book metadata deposits, to add to their
> stats. IRs can also already harvestGoogle Books (and Google Scholar)
> book-citation counts today, as a first step toward constructing a
> distributed, universal OA book-citation index. The Dublin humanities
> conference was also concerned about other kinds of online works, and
how to
> measure and credit their impact: Metrics don't stop with citation
counts and
> download counts. Among the many "Demotic metrics" that can also be
> are link-counts, tag-counts, blog-mentions, and web mentions. This
> to books/authors, as well as to data, to courseware and to other
> identifiable online resources. We should hasten the progress of book
> metrics, and that will in turn accelerate the growth in OA's primary
> content: journal articles, as well as increasing support for
> and funder OA Deposit Mandates.
Received on Tue Nov 04 2008 - 04:21:57 GMT

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