Conservation Biology is not a single field of science: how to judge citation impact properly
Seppänen, J. T. (2018). Conservation Biology is not a single field of science: how to judge citation impact properly. 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. doi: 10.17011/conference/eccb2018/108222
© the Authors, 2018
Conservation Biology is not a single field of science. It is a multitude of very different fields of science. It ranges from continental-scale distribution change simulations using planetary-scale climate data, to understanding how a frog responds to calls, to economic optimization models for society's resource extraction, to teasing apart molecules or atomic isotope ratios to infer past and present, and much more. Yet, items of research - and individual scientists - in all these fields are published in the same platforms, compete for the same scarce attention of peers and of society at large, and the same but even more scarce funding, and the same but mythologically scarce tenures. Somehow, we need ways to compare science of frog calls to science of forestry offset policies, science of bear population genetics, and to everything else. Citation metrics based on co-citation networks are very promising ways to achieve impact comparison between items and people in different fields of science. The first implementation of this  is fatally flawed, as it allowed the diseased concept of "a journal" to be included in the algorithm, but the co-citation network comparison can be implemented on a pure basis of just the research items. I will briefly introduce my Co-citation Percentile Ratio (CPR) algorithm and examples how it ranks research items from different corners of Conservation Biology. Citation analysis at the article and individual level is slowly but certainly delivering the welcome death of the journal impact factor, and promises to be a better way to judge academic importance. However, we need to be careful in adopting the new tools, and not let them grow to monsters worse than the one we just killed. In particular, we need to recognize what "a citation" is, and ideally develop ways to give it more nuanced, richer, but still machine-readable meaning. At present, every citation is considered a source that contributed to the science that was done, when in reality most citations are tools to build the author's narrative . But that does not mean citation analysis is useless, it just means that the inference we draw from it needs to take into account what "a citation" really is.  Hutchins BI, Yuan X, Anderson JM, Santangelo GM (2016) Relative Citation Ratio (RCR): A New Metric That Uses Citation Rates to Measure Influence at the Article Level. PLoS Biology. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002541  MacRoberts MH, MacRoberts BR (2017) The mismeasure of science: Citation analysis. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.23970 ...
PublisherOpen Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä
ConferenceECCB2018: 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. 12th - 15th of June 2018, Jyväskylä, Finland
MetadataShow full item record
- ECCB 2018 
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