Communication Studies, Department of


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Published in Measuring Scholarly Metrics, edited by Gordon R. Mitchell (Lincoln, NE: Oldfather Press, 2011). Copyright © 2011 Rachel Stohr. Distributed under Creative Commons license.


The unprecedented challenges of “information overload” in the digital age have prompted academic institutions to develop new approaches to gauge scholarly authority and productivity, and disseminate research. The goal of this chapter is to consider the strengths and weaknesses of one such metric, and to speculate on the implications of its continued use for the academy, the communication studies discipline, and society. Specifically, I explore Web of Science citation patterns, a contemporary metric of scholarly authority that measures scholarly impact and influence via number of author and/or article citations over time. This report is comprised of four sections: (1) a history of the metric, (2) the major strengths and weaknesses of the metric, (3) a judgment regarding the degree to which the metric measures what it purports to measure, and (4) a position on whether or not the metric is an appropriate tool with which to evaluate scholarship in the communication studies discipline.

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