By Waldenström, Daniel (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Di Vaio, Gianfranco (University of Perugia); and Weisdorf, Jacob (University of Copenhagen).
This study analyses determinants of citation success among authors publishing in economic history journals. Bibliometric features, like article length and number of authors, are positively correlated with the citation rate up to a certain point. Remarkably, publishing in top-ranked journals hardly affects citations. In regard to author-specific characteristics, male authors, full professors and authors working economics or history departments, and authors employed in Anglo-Saxon countries, are more likely to get cited than others. As a ‘shortcut’ to citation success, we find that research diffusion, measured by number of presentations and people mentioned in acknowledgement, boosts the citation rate.
As first posting I have selected an impact measurement rather than a thematic paper. This to give a feel that even a somewhat “neutral” topic can be used to entice discussion. Also to comment on the sources and assumptions that the authors used for their “in discipline” study, namely traditional, in print, peer-reviewed journals. This as in this first posting I am trying to make a statement about the much talked about role and future of on-line publications vis a vis “traditional” outlets, while building around two underlying ideas in the above article namely impact and boundary.
The main goal of the “Citation Success” paper is to assess the impact of publishing in top journals for economic historians. They composed a sample made out of 657 citations and 450 authors from 14 outlets in 2007. Comparisons for the same year with NEP-HIS would result in authors and citations many times greater in the on-line report than in the printed journals. Of course, NEP operates a “simple editorial” policy. Early on NEP’s “founding parents” decided not to influence content in anyway but to take contributions at face value and disseminate on the basis of potential interest. Whereas the 14 outlets selected by the authors of the study actively engage peers in shaping a contribution to suit the outlet’s particular audience. Hence my first question, will blogging have any future to shape the future of printed and on-line publications?
As is the case in many other citation analysis studies, major drawback of the paper is failing to consider books. I will leave this aside for the time being. But promise to return in another posting.
I was also interested in how the authors conceived the boundaries of the discipline. The 14 outlets are firmly established in economic history. However, the membership of NEP-HIS and indeed its title (economic, business and financial history) suggest an important overlap with other areas of knowledge (and people outside Economic Departments) where there are learned societies and such as business, accounting and marketing which also have well established outlets (e.g. Business History, Business History Review, Enterprise & Society, Journal of Management History, Journal of Macromarketing, etc). My own anecdotal impression of pandering for membership of NEP-HIS is that growth for economic and business history studies is in business schools and, contrary to the author’s finding, not in history departments (where the interest is fast moving away from economics into other areas of the social science such as gender, social history or the arts such as politics and culture). The second question is: What makes an economic historian and what should be the boundaries of the field?
Apologies then for such a long and self indulging comment. My aim has not been to criticise the authors of this paper but to use the contents as a platform for this blog as well as present some of my views on what I think we need to do for it and indeed the discipline, to prosper.