To evaluate the usefulness of a full-text database as a source for assessing obliteration by incorporation (OBI), 3,707 article records including the catchphrases “bounded rationality” and/or “boundedly rational” (connected with the work of H. A. Simon) in the article text were retrieved from JSTOR, a full-text database with broad disciplinary coverage. Two subsets were analyzed—a 10 % systematic sample of all records and a set of all articles in Economics journals (with the addition of the Journal of Economic Theory). A majority of articles in the 10 % sample came from Economics and Management journals, while Psychology was poorly represented. In the 10 % sample, based on the percentage of true implicit citations between 1992 and 2009 in the 80 % of records that had a catchphrase in the body of the article, rather than just in the reference list, annual OBI ranged from 0 to 70 % (mean 33 %) with no discernible trend. The Economics articles showed a narrower range of OBI—fluctuating around 40 % implicit citations over the same time period. In both data sets, a large proportion of indirect citations were to sources that themselves cited a relevant work by Simon. Over 90 % of the articles in both the 10 % sample and the economics journal set would not have been retrieved with a database record search because they lacked the catchphrase in the record fields.
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And some frequently cited works are apparently never formally published—working papers and (frequently encountered in this study) “mimeos.” This phenomenon, while of interest, is not pursued in the present study.
An early version of this paper, without the Economics data and related discussion, was presented at ISSI 2013 (see McCain 2013).
A systematic sample begins by determining the percent of items to be chosen, in this case 10 % or 370 of the 3,707. Beginning with a random position number between 1 and 10, every 10th record is chosen for analysis. The results are considered equivalent to a simple random sample for most purposes.
I thank Roger McCain for this explanation of McKelvey and Palfrey’s work.
In contrast, a catch phrase search in Web of Science produced 161 articles in psychology journals (1980–2012) with the phrase in a searchable database field; a similar search in PsycINFO yielded 447 database records (1978–2012), and a search of the PsyARTICLES database (full text of journals published by the American Psychological Association) produced 333 articles published between 1984 and 2013. A report on full-text OBI in journals published by the American Psychological Association (PsyARTICLES database) is in preparation.
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Some results from this study were presented at Metrics 2012: Workshop on Informetric and Scientometric Research (SIG MET) at the 2012 ASIST Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD and at ISSI 2013 in Vienna, Austria. I thank the workshop and conference participants for helpful comments and suggestions. I thank Dr. Roger A. McCain, Professor, School of Economics, Drexel University for providing insights into the role of game theory and Simon’s notions of bounded rationality in Economics. I remain responsible for errors and omissions.
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McCain, K.W. Assessing obliteration by incorporation in a full-text database: JSTOR, Economics, and the concept of “bounded rationality”. Scientometrics 101, 1445–1459 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-014-1237-3
- Obliteration by incorporation
- Full-text databases
- Citation-in-context analysis