, Volume 109, Issue 3, pp 1965–1978 | Cite as

The scholarly communication of economic knowledge: a citation analysis of Google Scholar

  • Yutao Sun
  • Belle Selene Xia


Citation counts can be used as a proxy to study the scholarly communication of knowledge and the impact of research in academia. Previous research has addressed several important factors of citation counts. In this study, we aim to investigate whether there exist quantitative patterns behind citations, and thus provide a detailed analysis of the factors behind successful research. The study involves conducting quantitative analyses on how various features, such as the author’s quality, the journal’s impact factor, and the publishing year, of a published scientific article affect the number of citations. We carried out full-text searches in Google Scholar to obtain our data set on citation counts. The data set is then set up into panels and used to conduct the proposed analyses by employing a negative binomial regression. Our results show that attributes such as the author’s quality and the journal’s impact factor do have important contributions to its citations. In addition, an article’s citation count does not only depend on its own properties as mentioned above but also depends on the quality, as measured by the number of citations, of its cited articles. That is, the number of citations of a paper seems to be affected by the number of citations of articles that the particular paper cites. This study provides statistical characteristics of how different features of an article affect the number of citations. In addition, it provides statistical evidence that the number of citations of a scientific article depends on the number of citations of the articles it cites.


Bibliometrics Citation analysis Economics 



The authors would like to thank all the researchers and professors at KU Leuven who have shared their valuable comments with us. The research results presented in this study are based on the thesis work done at KU Leuven on citation analysis. The authors would also like to acknowledge the helpful and constructive comments presented by the anonymous reviewers, which has resulted in a major revision of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EconomicsNortheast Normal UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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