, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 129–139 | Cite as

In matters of quantitative studies of science the fault of theorists is offering too little and asking too much

  • A. F. J. van Raan


In this paper we take position in the ‘citation theory’ debate. First we revisit relevant earlier work of our group and try to assemble the findings. We criticise the constructivist fashion in sociology of science concerning citation practices. With statistical arguments we show the strong limitations of any ‘citation theory’ at the ‘citer side’. We emphasize that citations should be conceived of as ‘binding properties’ of an individual publication, from which many types of structuring follow. As keywords also have such binding properties at the same time, and as there are empirically established relations between the citation domain and the word domain, it is useless to develop a model concerning citations only. We envisage an interesting development, both theoretically and empirically, of what we would like to call ‘bibliometric chemistry’.


Citation Analysis Scientific Performance Matthew Effect Sceptical Theorist Citation Practice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. F. J. van Raan
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS)University of LeidenLeiden(The Netherlands)

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