Who ROLSI authors cite, and who cites ROLSI authors

Thomson-Reuters Web of Science generates a great deal of statistical information about journals, and one pair of stats might be of interest to ROLSI readers. Who (or rather which journals) do ROLSI authors cite? and who returns the favour?

This graphical image, taken from the Web of Science data on ROLSI, needs some decoding, but it illustrates some interesting points.

citingIgnore the length of the coloured arcs. Just consider the clockwise sequence of journal titles: the journal which ROLSI authors most cite is J. of Pragmatics, followed by Language in Society, then Social Psychology Quarterly, and so on round the circle. There is a caveat! The circle disguises the brute fact that the journal that ROLSI authors most cite is…. ROLSI! And by a very long way, as this simpler graph shows:


These are journals we’ve cited 10 times or more (ever!). After citations of work in ROLSI, the rate halves twice: once for J. of Pragmatics, and again for the next four journals. Thereafter there’s not much difference in who we cite. But note that among the next set, eight are actually CA books, not journals; and, pleasingly, one of them is Sacks’ Lectures on Conversation.

Who cites ROLSI?

The next graph shows where our influence lies.

cited byAgain, these are journals which have (ever) cited ROLSI 10 times or more. Note that ROLSI authors like to reference other work in ROLSI; that’s just the corollary of the cited-by data above. Next are the familiar neighbours who write in J of Pragmatics, or in Discourse Studies. In fact the range of journals which cite us throws up no surprises, other perhaps than the welcome sight of seeing the British Journal of Social Psychology make it into the top dozen.

And as a last graph:

jointJust taking those journals with which we have a reciprocal relationship (so not including, for example, Aphasiology, which we cite (a bit) but don’t cite us), you can see that apart from Language in Society, the balance is very much that they are citing us more than we are citing them.

Can we conclude anything robust from all this?

Perhaps one shouldn’t read too much into all this. After all, the numbers are low, and one article that cites a specialist journal many times will have a possibly misleadling effect on the data. But overall, I think we can say a couple of things:

a) ROLSI authors find evidence, scholarly warrant and inspiration from other ROLSI authors. That is a good thing. But we must beware too enclosed and insular a frame of reference.

b) Where we can make direct comparison, we see (as in the blue graph above) that our near neighbours cite us far more than we them. Again that is good and bad: good, in that it’s nice to be wanted; and less good, insofar as we may be missing out on useful articles that would be helpful to us.