10 thoughts on “Gender Gap in Citation

  1. I had always thought that well-done citations counts didn’t include self-citations. Is that not so? Of course, self-citation might indirectly lead to higher “real” citation, if people learn of your other work when they read a paper, but that’s fairly indirect. (Maybe this is addressed- I can’t access the article.)

  2. I thought they counted. Hmm. Advice on how to improve your citation numbers says to self cite. I’ll look it up.

  3. I think Web of Science counts self-citations among the citations an article has unless one asks them not to.

  4. OK, They do count in the total but that total is then usually broken down into citations by self and by others. That’s interesting. Also, as you suspect there’s then a downstream effect. See this from the article, “At least one study shows that self-citations are important not only in boosting a scholar’s overall citation rate, but that self-citations have an exponential affect—drawing a corresponding increase in citations from others down the line. A 2007 article on that study in the journal Scientometrics called “Does Self-Citation Pay?” analyzed 65,000 papers by Norwegian scientists and determined that 11 percent of the articles’ author citations were self-citations. One self-citation, the study found, increases the number of citations from others by about one after one year and by about three after five years. “These results carry important policy implications for the use of citations to evaluate performance and distribute resources in science,” the article says.”

  5. Thanks for the further information, Sam and Anne- that’s interesting to know, especially on the “downstream” effect.

  6. I self cite and I do it to get people to read other papers of mine that they might not know about or might not think were connected to the one they were reading. I have never thought of it as self-promotional in the sense of directly trying to raise my citation numbers. I have used it to advertise my lesser known, under appreciated papers in my better placed works. This makes me think that’s an effective strategy!

  7. I agree w/ that, Sam. And, in my case, it’s often a way to say something like, “I realize that someone might raise objection X here. I deal with that issue in my other paper, Y, and so won’t deal with it here.” That way, interested readers can know where to look, and you don’t need to waste time summing up.

  8. H index also includes self-citations.

    I think in some sciences it’s very difficult to exclude all self-citations, because so many papers have a huge string of authors. Would you have to exclude any citation of a paper whose authors include any of the authors of the citing paper? (That’s not an elegant sentence, but you see the problem.)

    I don’t think this is really a big issue in philosophy, though, is it? I know some bloggers have recently been touting citation counts as a more objective way to assess the impact or success of philosophers, but I don’t believe that’s catching on. Am I wrong?

  9. There are really two separate, but connected, issues. In places in which departments are required to establish performance metrics, sometimes citation rates are used, even in Philosophy. But the second issue is the extent to which work by women gets uptake, gets noticed and discussed. Often work by women, even in very good journals, just disappears. That’s why the downstream effects of self citation matter. If self citation leads to more citation by others them maybe that’s a way to get more work by women discussed. Although maybe that effect is gendered too and self citation by women won’t have the same good downstream effects. That would be interesting to test!

  10. On the subject of “selfies” in a different domain, I’ve been repeatedly struck by how many male academics have Wikipedia pages that can only have been written by themselves. My understanding is that Wikipedia has a rule against this, but I imagine it is quite difficult to enforce. Anyway, it’s another form of self-promotion that seems to show striking gender differences.

    [as to self-citation: it’s a bit surprising to me that there are gender differentials, as my own experience has been that it is unavoidable. If you are consistently interested in a particular kind of problem and take it on from various angles, the more you write the more you will be referring readers to previous engagements with it just for the sake of convenience and limitations of space. i.e., here I am looking at the elephant’s tail, but elsewhere I do address the elephant’s trunk (me 2004)]

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