This is one of those weird posts where I look at my own citations and pat myself on the back. The big news is that my h-index has gone up to 15. This means that I’ve had 15 papers which have been cited at least 15 times and my i10 index has gone up to 19 which means that I’ve had 19 papers cited 10 times or more.
I can also look at this historically and notice that I had 316 citations in 2017 which was better than 2016 but worse than 2015. A lot of the spike in my citations in 2014 and 2015 was caused by the fact that I was a very minor author on Facebook, social integration and informal learning at university which for a while was a paper that anyone who wrote anything about Facebook and universities had to cite – but the popularity of this paper is now fading a bit which is impacting on my overall citations a bit.
So what does all this mean? Well I know that a lot of academic papers are never cited and this is certainly true for my stuff. I’ve got loads of stuff that is uncited including something that I think are quite good e.g. Customer Satisfaction With Career Guidance or HR Strategies for Researchers. But, on the other hand the better stuff does generally seem to rise to the top.
So what principles can I distil from taking stock of all of this?
- Unsurprisingly stuff with broader interest like the Facebook paper or the book I did on online research typically get cited more than more focused technical stuff on aspects of career guidance.
- Citations take time. My older pieces typically have higher citation rates than my newer pieces.
- Once in a while you hit the academic zeitgeist. The Facebook paper is a brilliant example of this, but so is Careering Through the Web in a much smaller way. I can’t claim to have planned this – but it is clear that if you are in at the beginning of something that gets much bigger you are going to do well.
- Stuff that is useful to academics gets cited more. This generally means literature reviews and summaries that save people the bother of having to read loads of stuff. My ELGPN evidence guide fits into this category.
Beyond that I’m not sure, but I’d be interested to hear from others about what they have found gets stuff cited. I hope that good writing and interesting thinking play a part. I also suspect that the enthusiasm with which you promote stuff is also likely to be important.
So what do I want you all to be citing next. Well, hovering at or around the bottom of my list of highly cited publications at the moment are the following. If you haven’t seen them before they might just be worth another look.
- Understanding how people choose to pursue taught postgraduate study
- Teachers and careers: The role of school teachers in delivering career and employability learning
- Employability: A review of the literature
- The economic benefits of career guidance
- Delivering NEET policy packages? A decade of NEET policy in England.
Or you can just look at the full back catalogue.
I care about this stuff because I write, at least in part, so that I can be read and so that I can influence the thinking of others. While I’m not really interested in chasing metrics for the sake of it I am interested in thinking about what people read of mine and what doesn’t get read.
Now, I suppose I better get on with writing something new! I can’t put it off any longer!
Citations of your work by other academics is probably one of the weakest measures of how useful and widely read your publications actually are. Unfortunately it is perhaps the only recognised measure. It is of course still a useful measure, but very limited in scope. You could measure how many of your articles have been downloaded from the ICEGS repository. How many web visitors have visited your blog. How many books you have sold. Etc. I think I have cited you in most of my assignments for my OU diploma course in Careers Guidance, and I bet once they have discovered you like I did, most students will become avid readers also. But you can’t measure that easily. Also careers practitioners will make use of your publications and research too (I do!). In my humble opinion, and I’m sure you know this already, it’s the practical use and implementation of findings from research and publications in the real world that really counts, albeit as an academic you are judged on citations by your peers, and other academics can build on their work from yours. Anyway, back to my assignment, and I’ll be looking at that paper on NEETs to see if I can use it in my assignment. Keep up the writing.
[…] Related Article: Taking stock of my publications […]
Yes – good point. I do look at what is being downloaded. Maybe I should do a post on that in the future.