Professor Lapping's otherwise insightful analysis of citations as an index of research excellence (Laurie Taylor, THES , March 8) misses one important point - the willingness of researchers to cite their own work and no one else's that is so crucial to developing a high citation impact.
In my studies (Grymme-Reiper, 1997; 1998a; b; 2000; 2001), I have developed an index of self-citation: the Chutzpah Scale. It extends from 1 (own work never cited, usually because there isn't any) to 5* (only own work ever cited).
I am sorry to have to inform Professor Lapping that his department of cultural and media studies is stuck on 3b (mostly other people's work cited, with a few self-citations).
The good news is that there are pockets of excellence in cultural and media studies. Dr Piercemuller's publications, though few and far between, are comfortably 5* on the Chutzpah Scale (Grymme-Reiper, 2002, a-f).
Department of RAE studies
City University of Poppleton