, Volume 114, Issue 2, pp 517–532 | Cite as

Assessing the effect of the United States’ “citation advantage” on other countries’ scientific impact as measured in the Web of Science (WoS) database

  • Yves Gingras
  • Mahdi Khelfaoui


Eugene Garfield, always insisted that citation analysis “can be used wisely or abused” and that it is “up to the scientific community to prevent abuse of the SCI by devoting the necessary attention to its proper and judicious exploitation” (Garfield in Nat 227:669–671, 1970). Dedicated to his memory, this paper aim to assess the significance of a parameter that is seldom taken into account in evaluation studies: the existence of a USA comparative citation (visibility) advantage built in the database and thus affecting countries that collaborate more with the USA than with other countries. We analyze how this USA citation advantage affects the measure of the scientific impact (usually measured through citations received) of major countries. The main conclusion coming out of this study is that, given the strong presence of the USA in the WoS database, the comparative rankings tend, by construction, to give a citation advantage to countries having the closest relation to that country.


Evaluation Database Biased indicators Bibliometrics Rankings 


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Observatoire des sciences et des technologies, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la science et la technologieUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontréalCanada

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