19 July 2012

Article-level citation data: why and how?

At a conference I attended a few weeks ago, Anna Dickinson from the REF team at HEFCE gave an overview of the REF for a group of librarians supporting research.  One of the key points she made was that none of the sub-panels assessing submissions for REF will be using journal title-level citation data (e.g. Impact Factors or similar) to assess submitted research outputs, but that 11 of the 36 sub-panels will be provided with information about article-level citation data, including contextual data for that subject area.

So, a journal article submitted to one of the 11 sub-panels will be supplied to the members of that sub-panel with details of how many times that particular journal article has been cited in the literature, and the number of citations that a "top" journal article in that subject area might expect to receive.

If you want to find out what the article-level citation data for a specific journal article is, then you will need to use Scopus, the citation data provider for REF.  Search for the article of interest in Scopus, and you will see the "Cited by" information in a box on the right hand side of the page.

For more information about the use of citation data in the REF, including information about which panels are using this data and how the contextual citation data will be calculated (not yet available at the time of writing), see the REF 2014 web page.

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