Discussion paper

DP8716 Sub-field normalization in the multiplicative case: High- and low-impact citation indicators

This paper uses high- and low-impact citation indicators for the evaluation of the citation performance of research units at different aggregate levels. To solve the problem of the assignment of individual articles to multiple sub-fields, it follows a multiplicative strategy according to which each paper is wholly counted as many times as necessary in the several categories to which it is assigned at each aggregation level. To control for wide differences in citation practices at the lowest level of aggregation, we apply a novel sub-field normalization procedure in the multiplicative case. The methodology is applied to a partition of the world into three geographical areas: the U.S., the European Union (EU), and the Rest of the World. The main findings are the following two. (i) Although normalization does not systematically bias the results against any area at lower aggregate levels, it reduces the U.S./EU high-impact gap in the all-sciences case by a non-negligible 14.4%. (ii) The dominance of the U.S. over the EU in the basic and applied research published in the periodical literature is almost universal at all aggregation levels. From the high-impact perspective, for example, the U.S. is ahead of the EU in 77 out of 80 disciplines, and all of 20 fields. For all sciences as a whole, the U.S. high-impact indicator is 61% greater than that of the EU.


Ruiz-Castillo, J and N Herranz (2011), ‘DP8716 Sub-field normalization in the multiplicative case: High- and low-impact citation indicators‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 8716. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp8716