The negative effects of citing with a national orientation in terms of recognition: national and international citations in papers from Germany, the Netherlands, and UK

by   Lutz Bornmann, et al.

Leading nations can be distinguished in terms of whether domestic or international research is cited. We analyzed the research output of three leading European research economies (Germany, the Netherlands, and UK) and ask where their researchers look for the knowledge that underpins their most highly-cited papers. Is one internationally oriented or is citation restricted to national resources? Do the citation patterns reflect a growing differentiation between the domestic and international research enterprise? To evaluate change over time, we include papers published in the countries from three publication years: 2004, 2009, and 2014. The results show that articles co-authored by researchers from one of the three respective countries are less likely to be among the globally most highly-cited articles if they also cite 'domestic' research (i.e. research authored by authors from the same country). To put this another way, less well-cited research is more likely to stand on domestic shoulders and research that becomes more highly-cited is more likely to stand on international shoulders. A possible reason for the results is that researchers "over-cite" the papers from their own country - lacking the focus on quality in citing. The effect is not the same for all countries. The difference, though present, is not statistically significant for the UK's highly-cited papers. It is especially visible for Germany and the Netherlands.


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