Looking deeper into academic citations through network analysis: popularity, influence and impact

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Journal Article
Universal Access in the Information Society, 2018, 17 (3), pp. 541 - 548
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10.1007%2Fs10209-017-0565-5.pdfPublished Version887.69 kB
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© 2017, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany. Google Scholar (GS) has progressively emerged as a tool which “provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources.” As a free tool that provides citation metrics, GS has opened the academic word to a much larger audience, according to an open information philosophy. GS’ profiles are largely used not only to have a quick look at the authors and their works but, more and more often, as a “de facto” metric to quickly evaluate the research impact. This process looks unstoppable and discussing about its fairness, advantages and disadvantages, as well as about social implications is out of the scope of this paper. We rather prefer to (1) briefly discuss the changes and the innovation that GS has introduced and to (2) propose possible improvements for analysis on academic citations. Our methods are aimed at considering a GS profile in its proper context, providing a social perspective on academic citations: Although maintaining a fundamentally quantitative focus, novel approaches, based on complex network analysis, distinguish between a research impact on the authors’ research network and a more general impact on the scientific community.
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