- Field-normalized impact factors (IFs): A comparison of rescaling and fractionally counted IFs
- Journal of the American Society for information Science and Technology
- Volume | Issue number
- 64 | 11
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Two methods for comparing impact factors and citation rates across fields of science are tested against each other using citations to the 3,705 journals in the Science Citation Index 2010 (CD-Rom version of SCI) and the 13 field categories used for the Science and Engineering Indicators of the U.S. National Science Board. We compare (a) normalization by counting citations in proportion to the length of the reference list (1/N of references) with (b) rescaling by dividing citation scores by the arithmetic mean of the citation rate of the cluster. Rescaling is analytical and therefore independent of the quality of the attribution to the sets, whereas fractional counting provides an empirical strategy for normalization among sets (by evaluating the between-group variance). By the fairness test of Radicchi and Castellano (2012a), rescaling outperforms fractional counting of citations for reasons that we consider.
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