Bott, David M. and Hargens, Lowell L. "Are Sociologists' Publications Uncited? Citation Rates

 

Bott, David M. and Hargens, Lowell L. "Are Sociologists' Publications Uncited? Citation Rates
of Journal Articles, Chapters, and Books," The American Sociologist 22 (Summer, 1991), pp.
147-158.

Promoters of the elitist view of science have suggested (see above, Hamilton, Science 1990 and
1991) that sociology articles are worthless because they are not cited. These authors suggest that
Hamilton's measures are wrong. In this study, a longer time period was allowed for referencing
and also journal article, books and articles in books were studies for citation. The results are
startling: "We began by reporting general characteristics of the distribution of citations to the 553
journal articles we studied. Between 1974 and 1985, these articles were cites 7,915 times, for an
average of 14.3 citations per article." (p. 150)

No question, a remarkable disparity. One thing they point to: scholars make errors in citing
others, they are sloppy. Hamilton did not correct for sloppiness (misspellings of names, for
example) and these authors did. They also checked for self-references and that is not the source
of the difference either.