Make citations count

May 14, 2004

Nancy Rothwell (Opinion, April 30) suggests that the time is ripe to compare various metrics, such as citation counts, with research assessment exercise results.

In fact, studies have already been carried out that have compared citation counts with the 1996 and 2001 RAE results in the fields of archaeology, genetics, psychology and library and information manage-ment.

The results have all been consistent: there is a statistically significant correlation between total citation counts for the members of academic staff in a department and the RAE score obtained by that department.

It would certainly be useful to extend such research to all subject areas to see if this correlation is maintained in all areas of academic study.

Charles Oppenheim
Professor of information science
Loughborough University

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