Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016: Overview of highly cited business and economics research papers

Back in July of 2016 I posted a piece about the latest Google Scholar Metrics for academic journals. This provided a ranking of the top ten most cited research papers in the areas of Business, Economics and Management.

Motivated by a recent communication with Veda Storey who is the Tull Professor of Computer Information Systems and a Professor of Computer Science at Georgia State University, here is a ranking that uses data up to the end of 2016 i.e., December 31st 2016 (see Table 1).
Table 1

This new ranking is different from the July ranking in that it uses the latest Google Scholar citation data at the time (Dec 31st) of compiling. While the Google Scholar Metrics ranking is also based on Google Scholar citation data, it comes out just once year, in June.

Google Scholar is not perfect. Just like other citation sources, such as Scopus and Web of Science, the data can be subject to citing errors in a source paper and errors in how the citations are read and copied. However, Google Scholar is increasingly recognized as being better than Scopus and Web Science in terms of openness and scope though. It is more open in that it is free to use. Google Scholar is also more open in that it accesses and uses citations from a greater range of academic sources, in a greater range of languages. Furthermore, Google Scholar covers ISI listed journals and many other journals, as well citations in dissertations, working papers, policy papers, conference papers, books and book chapters. In contrast, Web of Science has poor use of non-English sources and only uses citations in articles published in journals listed by International Scientific Indexing (ISI).

In a review of Google Scholar as a data source for citation analysis (Harzing and van der Wal, 2008) it is suggested that despite the differences in openness and scope, any rankings of papers or scholars using these different citation sources does not vary significantly. Google Scholar is a very solid, convenient and open alternative to Scopus and Web of Science. And regardless of which tool is used, in general, if a scholar has high citations, it is very likely their work has had some impact. Whereas, if a scholar has low citations they are unlikely to have had an impact yet, subject to caveats about the size of the academic field and the language of publication.

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