Citation Characteristics and Intellectual Acceptance of Scholarly Monographs

Rong Tang

Abstract

The present study investigates citations to 750 randomly selected scholarly monographs in disciplines of religion, history, psychology, economics, mathematics, and physics. The objective of the study is to understand distributions of citations to scholarly monographs in various disciplines, to explore disciplinary difference in the citing of books, and to compare citations to monographs with previous results on citations to journal articles. The data revealed interesting citation patterns and aging effects that are in several aspects different from citation data based on the journal literature. While the distribution trend of monographic uncitedness is similar to that of journals across the disciplines, the noncitation ratios are much lower than what has been reported about journal citations. Half-life measures of scientific monographs are greater than those in the humanities and social sciences; this contradicts previous findings. Citation frequency and Price's Index vary from discipline to discipline, and the most significant linear contract occurred between disciplines of religion, history, and economics as one group and psychology, mathematics, and physics as another. When using periods of intellectual acceptance as the unit of analysis, significant disciplinary differences emerged both in terms of citation frequency and the number of books cited. Significant differences also appeared between earlier periods of intellectual acceptance that are within the first 10 years following the original publication year and longer ages of survival that are beyond 10 years.

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