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Comparison of citation and usage indicators: the case of oncology journals

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It is the objective of this article to examine in which aspects journal usage data differ from citation data. This comparison is conducted both at journal level and on a paper by paper basis. At journal level, we define a so-called usage impact factor and a usage half-life in analogy to the corresponding Thomson’s citation indicators. The usage data were provided from Science Direct, subject category “oncology”. Citation indicators were obtained from JCR, article citations were retrieved from SCI and Scopus. Our study shows that downloads and citations have different obsolescence patterns. While the average cited half-life was 5.6 years, we computed a mean usage half-life of 1.7 years for the year 2006. We identified a strong correlation between the citation frequencies and the number of downloads for our journal sample. The relationship was lower when performing the analysis on a paper by paper basis because of existing variances in the citation-download-ratio among articles. Also the correlation between the usage impact factor and Thomson’s journal impact factor was “only” moderate because of different obsolescence patterns between downloads and citations.

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The authors would like to thank Mr. Niels Weertman from Science Direct for providing the necessary usage data.

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Correspondence to Christian Schloegl.



Table 8 Science Direct oncology journals and their coverage in JCR (2006 data)

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Schloegl, C., Gorraiz, J. Comparison of citation and usage indicators: the case of oncology journals. Scientometrics 82, 567–580 (2010).

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