Learning II: The Mystery of the Lost Citation Counts

Something hit me recently. I am considered a real klutz (it goes with “blind as a bat”). You would think I should have seen it coming. It felt as if one of those ACME anvils landed on my head.

One of our school’s administrators had to coordinate and submit citation counts of some academic staff. Now, there was a little condition though. She required the total times cited of academic journals that were tiered. And the counts must come from no other source but Social Science Citation Index.

To cut a long story short (and boy, it was a long story), the inevitable happened. I got a call from a professor. “No way is my count so low.” So I ended going to see him at his office so he could show me “evidences” of a higher citation count. Being an ardent supporter of the reputable and stalwart citation index, I could not believe my eyes when he showed me printed copies of articles citing his work which did not appear in Web of Science.

Red-faced, I cross-checked, cross-checked again. I double checked the list of journal abbreviations and the journal “Canadian Journal of XYZ” was listed as “CAN J XYZ”. Did an Author and Title search and there it was – the article citing our professor’s work. Why wasn’t it appearing in Cited Reference search?

The reply I received from our esteemed vendor of the citation index was that the particular journal, although listed, was not indexed. But if I were to run a Cited Work search for “CAN*”, I should be able to get some results. I ran the search as he suggested. Yup, it worked with the truncation.

CLUNK! Ouch! That hurt!

Did a quick check on the Cited Work just now. Yup, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Look out for that anvil.

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