Citation Analysis for the Modern Instructor: An Integrated Review of Emerging Research

Chris Piotrowski, University of West Florida, USA


While online instructors may be versed in conducting e-Research (Hung, 2012; Thelwall, 2009), today’s faculty are probably less familiarized with the rapidly advancing fields of bibliometrics and informetrics. One key feature of research in these areas is Citation Analysis, a rather intricate operational feature available in modern indexes such as Web of Science, Scopus, Google Scholar, and PsycINFO. This paper reviews the recent extant research on bibliometrics within the context of citation analysis. Particular focus is on empirical studies, review essays, and critical commentaries on citation-based metrics across interdisciplinary academic areas. Research that relates to the interface between citation analysis and applications in higher education is discussed. Some of the attributes and limitations of citation operations of contemporary databases that offer citation searching or cited reference data are presented. This review concludes that: a) citation-based results can vary largely and contingent on academic discipline or specialty area, b) databases, that offer citation options, rely on idiosyncratic methods, coverage, and transparency of functions, c) despite initial concerns, research from open access journals is being cited in traditional periodicals, and d) the field of bibliometrics is rather perplex with regard to functionality and research is advancing at an exponential pace. Based on these findings, online instructors would be well served to stay abreast of developments in the field.


Bibliometrics, informetrics, citation analysis, information technology, Open resource and electronic journals

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