5.0047 Citations (more) (3/75)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 14 May 91 22:17:51 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0047. Tuesday, 14 May 1991.

(1) Date: Tue, 14 May 91 16:46:01 IST (22 lines)
From: "David M. Schaps" <F21004@BARILVM>
Subject: Re: 5.0034 Citation in the Humanities

(2) Date: Tue, 14 May 91 13:22:07 -0400 (23 lines)
From: dgd@cs.bu.edu
Subject: 5.0031 Copyright

(3) Date: Tue, 14 May 91 13:37 CDT (30 lines)
Subject: Humanities citations

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Tue, 14 May 91 16:46:01 IST
From: "David M. Schaps" <F21004@BARILVM>
Subject: Re: 5.0034 Citation in the Humanities (2nd Batch) (2/126)

My colleague Ranon Katzoff points out what is certainly the reason for
the alarming (98%) rate of "non-citation" of articles in the "arts and
humanities": the survey in question was compiled from citation-lists.
Such lists, routine in the exact sciences (and often a more influential
determinant of professional advancement than volume of publication),
are pretty much non-existent in the arts and humanities; there is
simply no list that catalogues all the references in the Classical
Quarterly, Journal of Hellenic Studies, etc. Thus the 98% rate means
that only two per cent of articles on "arts and humanities" are cited
in SCIENTIFIC, as opposed to humanistic journals and books -- which is
not so surprising at all.
It might be pointed out, however, that this "non-fact" was
quoted from an editorial -- a fact which should warn us that we may
see it used against us again!
David Schaps
Department of Classics
Bar Ilan University
Ramat Gan, Israel
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------35----
Date: Tue, 14 May 91 13:22:07 -0400
From: dgd@cs.bu.edu
Subject: 5.0031 Copyright (2/189)

I read Neel Smith's comments on the Xanadu scheme with a little
distress, since the comment was based on a fundamental
misunderstanding of the mechanisms proposed by Nelson. The Xanadu
proposal is that authors are paid for that portion of their work that
others read (or at least that they download from the server). This
seems a reasonable approach. Citing yourself a lot will only help if
people are moved to follow the citations and read the text at the
other end of the link. This means that people will be rewarded to the
extent that they are read. Only that bad work that is important (or
controversial enough) to merit lots of refutation and exposure create
a fiscal reward for their authors. (And this is how it should be --
such work sometimes turns out to be right).

I don't expect Xanadu Electronic Publishing to take off, but that
has to do with my appraisal of its business chances. I expect that it
would be far better (even though it lacks content markup) than the
publisher-devised solution we will most likely end up with.

(3) --------------------------------------------------------------33----
Date: Tue, 14 May 91 13:37 CDT
Subject: Humanities citations

In respone to the recent posting of statistics about citations in
various fields, I wonder at the basis on which the stats were arrived
at. For example, in my field (Religious Studies), I know of no index
of citations. I have assurrances from others in other Humanities
fields of similar situations. What "index" could have been used
to determine the percentage of articles cited? And what good is
citation frequency anyway. For example, within the last few years,
there was a certain "discovery" of "cold fusion" announced by a couple
of chemists (who shall, for mercy's sake, remain unnamed here), and
I suspect that their names were among the most frequently cited in
natural sciences within the year or so of their "discovery". But surely
no scientist would regard their work as the more significant on account
of their notoriety. Or again, here in Canada there is a certain
psychologist who recently announced "evidence" to the effect that
the various major racial groups have inherent differences in native
intelligence and values formation. He has generated quite a firestorm
of controversy, and surely must be among the most frequently
mentioned social scientists in Canada at least, but I suspect that
most social scientists would not on that account regard his work
as terribly important. Sufficient for now on what is called in some
quarters as "bibliometrics" in "measuring" worth of scholarship.
Surely, the only measure that counts is the value, the carefulness,
the thoroughness, the innovation, the perceived methodological clarity
and the impact of work. And this may all take some time to make itself
felt. Larry Hurtado, Institute for the Humanities, Univ. of Manitoba,
Winnipeg, Manitoba. R3T 2N2