Communication Research: A Citation Analysis of Faculty Publication

The Behavioral and Social Sciences Librarian (Volume 34, Number 3, July-September, 2015) features a Communication faculty citation analysis at the University of Houston that has implications for students and scholars as well as academic librarians making collection building decisions.  The editor of B&SS Librarian is my good colleague Lisa Romero, Communications librarian extraordinaire at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. wbss

Information Use in Communication Research: A Citation Analysis of Faculty Publication at the University of Houston, by Wenli Gao


Citation analysis provides valuable information on researchers’ information use behavior, and helps librarians make evidence-based collection development decisions. However, no citation analysis of faculty publications in the field of communication has been performed to study communication researchers’ information use behavior. This study examined communication faculty publication from 2006 to 2014, analyzing format, age, most frequently cited journals, and their subject areas. Analysis of local holdings provides evidence for the library’s role in support of faculty research, and helps librarians articulate the value of libraries.

“Locals” can see me for my copy of the journal (Penn Libraries does not currently hold a subscription to B&SS Librarian) or use Interlibrary Loan.

Incites Journal Citation Reports (JCR)

Journal Citation Reports, the go-to resource for evaluating and comparing journal performance and reputation from citation data, has a new look called InCites.

The new InCites interface improves JCR‘s usability with the following capabilities:Capture

  • Compare individual titles and subject groups of titles across many years back to 1997
  • Compare individual titles across the Science Citation Index / Social Sciences Citation Index divide
  • New metrics, including 5-year Journal Impact Factor, Eigenfactors, Journal self cites, and Rank-in-Category
  • Graphing and enhanced reporting and output options

If we turn to our field, Incites Journal Citation Reports (JCR)  currently ranks 74 Communication journals by a number of measures including impact factor (the frequency with which the average article in the journal has been cited in a particular year), total cites, and Eigenfactor (number of times articles from the journal published in the past 5 years have been cited in a JCR journal). The top five impact factor journals in 2013 were Communication Research, Research on Language and Social Interaction, Journal of Communication, New Media & Society, and Public Opinion Quarterly. The Eigenfactor Score’s top 5 mix it up a bit: Public Opinion Quarterly leads, followed by Journal of Communication, New Media & Society, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and Journal of Health Communication.

Individual titles from the list of 74 can also be tracked by impact factor stripped of self-cites, 5-year impact factor, immediacy (how quickly articles in the journal are cited), citable items (total number of articles and reviews), citing relationships between journal, Article Influence score ( calculates the relative importance of the journal on a per-article basis, specifically it’s the journal’s Eigenfactor Score divided by the number of articles published by the journal) and others. Pictured below is the Article Influence Score for New Media & Society, which trends upwards post 2010.




The prettiest graphs show journal relationships, that is, citing patterns between journals.  Below is a 2013 Cited Data visualization for Public Understanding of Science displaying cited relationships between the top twenty journals in its network.  You can’t do it here but in the database hovering over the chords divulges the specifics of the citation relationship; hovering over the titles divulges their impact factors; clicking on the arc takes you to that title’s profile page.




Journal Citation Reports is a lot more fun to look at now with it’s new InCites trappings. Definitely worth checking out.