, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 265-275

Science citation index and chemistry

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Citation data have been collected for a large number of chemists at American universities. The principal objectives are to examine the use of citations as a tool in the study of sociology of chemical research and to determine the feasibility and accurancy of using automatically generated data. Past results in each of these areas, as well as a projection of future uses of citation data, are presented. First, a pilot study is described and some tentative conclusions discussed. The method used minimizes some of the most commonly-expressed criticism of citation data, such as multiple author, self-citations, etc. An effort has been made to establish the accuracy of automatically generated citation data. This project uses as a base for comparison the complete bibliographies of several thousand chemists. Several different citation indices are compared with other indicators commonly employed in discussions of the characteristics of the field of chemistry. The results generally support the idea that citations are meaningful. However, they also reveal some problems which require that great care be exercised in the use of citation data. The use of citation data to “observe” a chemistry subfield over time also is illustrated.