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Boletín de la Sociedad Argentina de Botánica

versión On-line ISSN 1851-2372


CRISCI, Jorge V.  y  KATINAS, Liliana. Bibliographic citations in the evaluation of the scientific activity: meaning, consequences and an alternative conceptual framework. Bol. Soc. Argent. Bot. [online]. 2020, vol.55, n.3, pp.1-10. ISSN 1851-2372.

Background and aims: In the evaluation of scientific activity, metrics are applied based on the number of bibliographic citations received by articles from a journal or from a scientist. The objectives of this work are to establish the meaning of a bibliographic citation, discuss the consequences of the use of metrics based on bibliographic citations as a synonym of scientific quality including its effect in the field of Botany, and propose an alternative conceptual framework for evaluating the scientific activity. Results: A series of factors prevent the statistical support of these metrics: size of the potential audience, the variation in publication and citation practices between the different disciplines, the long-tail statistical distribution of citations, the journal and language of publication, and that an observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is put on it when used for control purposes. The consequences of using citations to evaluate are: inhibition of creativity, reification of the scientific achievement, assess the product based on the number of its consumers, the journals with the highest number of citations become a power factor, devaluation of topics with local or regional value, science becomes an industrialized activity, metrics replace judgment, and generating bibliographic citations is part of the objectives of a scientific article. Conclusions: The origin and validity of these metrics are the consequence of a market society, that is, a way of life organized on the basis of market reasoning and morality and where human and social relations are mere consumer relations.

Palabras clave : Bibliographic citation, conceptual framework, evaluation of science quality, metrics..

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