Ci­ta­tions

The Freeman - - OPINION -

Here's a piece of good news, par­tic­u­larly for the sci­en­tific and aca­demic com­mu­nity. The Univer­sity of the Philip­pines, the coun­try's na­tional univer­sity and pre­miere aca­demic in­sti­tu­tion, has achieved 7th place glob­ally in terms of re­search ci­ta­tions in the clin­i­cal, pre-clin­i­cal, and health sub­ject. UP earned a near per­fect score of 98.8 points in the most re­cent Times Higher Ed­u­ca­tion (THE) World Univer­sity Rank­ings by Sub­ject. I'll tell you later why I'm par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in this mat­ter on re­search ci­ta­tions.

Mean­while, in the over­all rank­ing for the clin­i­cal, pre­clin­i­cal, and health sub­ject, UP moved into the re­spectable 126-150 band from its 210-250 po­si­tion. The top three po­si­tions for the sub­ject went to the Univer­sity of Ox­ford, Univer­sity of Cam­bridge, and Har­vard Univer­sity which even scored lower than UP in terms of re­search ci­ta­tions, 92.7, 87.4, and 88.5, re­spec­tively.

Of the es­ti­mated over 26,000 uni­ver­si­ties in the world, THE World Univer­sity Rank­ings list the top 1,000. THE eval­u­ates re­search-in­ten­sive uni­ver­si­ties across all of their core mis­sions; teach­ing, re­search, knowl­edge trans­fer, and in­ter­na­tional out­look.

Also last year, in­for­ma­tion and an­a­lyt­ics com­pany El­se­vier had noted that re­search pa­pers on medicine from UP were cited 336 per­cent more fre­quently than the world av­er­age. This strong ci­ta­tion per­for­mance pushed UP in world and re­gional rank­ings.

So what is very im­por­tant about ci­ta­tion per­for­mance? Many teach­ers and schol­ars usu­ally take pride in the num­ber of re­searches they have com­pleted and pub­lished. The pride is even greater when their work lands in high-im­pact re­search jour­nals.

There used to be a time that just at­tain­ing a mas­ter's de­gree or a post­grad­u­ate doc­toral de­gree (PhD) is al­ready a badge of ex­per­tise earn­ing high re­spect. That is not so true any­more. With the pro­lif­er­a­tion of schools of­fer­ing post­grad­u­ate de­grees, this has led to what is termed as “cre­den­tial­ism” and “ed­u­ca­tional in­fla­tion.”

Maybe it's quite un­fair to say that stan­dards have be­come low. But the fact is, re­ly­ing on one's aca­demic de­gree or any for­mal cre­den­tial just no longer works es­pe­cially in the com­pet­i­tive global en­vi­ron­ment.

So now some uni­ver­si­ties abroad re­quire that be­fore their post­grad­u­ate stu­dents earn their de­gree, they must not only present a the­sis be­fore a panel of pre­s­e­lected ex­perts, they must also have their the­sis pre­sented in an ap­proved re­search con­fer­ence or pub­lished in a rec­og­nized re­search jour­nal.

How­ever, for pro­fes­sors, sci­en­tists, and even an­a­lysts who may or may not hold any aca­demic or post­grad­u­ate de­gree, the bar can be higher. The real deal in their field is the pub­li­ca­tion of one's re­search ar­ti­cle or es­say in a high-im­pact re­search or schol­arly jour­nal.

But for the re­ally well-re­garded pro­fes­sors and schol­ars, their most ster­ling achieve­ment is of­ten mea­sured in the num­ber of times their es­says or re­search works have been cited in other re­search ar­ti­cles, books, or other sources. This is what is called ci­ta­tion met­ric.

In UP Cebu, our col­league with the most num­ber of schol­arly ci­ta­tions is En­vi­ron­men­tal Science pro­fes­sor Dr. Ritche­lita Gala­p­ate whose works have been cited by at least 323 sources, ac­cord­ing to Google Scholar. At the Univer­sity of San Car­los, the works of pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus and now Na­tional Artist Re­sil Mo­jares have been cited by over 520 other authors, ac­cord­ing to my own count in Google Scholar's list.

It's a con­so­la­tion for the not-so-cited authors, how­ever, to point out that the truly foun­da­tional dis­cov­er­ies of the modern world, like Ein­stein's spe­cial the­ory of rel­a­tiv­ity, got fewer ci­ta­tions than are ex­pected. Or that they are con­sid­ered too im­por­tant and uni­ver­sally-ac­cepted that they fig­ure into our text­books and pa­pers with­out be­ing cited at all.

So it is the qual­ity of ci­ta­tion, not the num­ber of ci­ta­tions that is truly im­por­tant. This is also be­cause of the fact that ci­ta­tion rates de­pend on how pro­lific the re­search work is in a par­tic­u­lar dis­ci­pline and the num­ber of au­thor­i­ties work­ing in that field. But if one's work has not been cited at least once, then one should think twice about its im­por­tance.

The point about the whole thing on ci­ta­tion is how the works of oth­ers build on your own work. In this man­ner, such prin­ci­ple can also be ap­plied in gen­eral to com­mu­nity and na­tion build­ing. Real vi­sion­ary lead­ers and states­men usu­ally ask them­selves: How will fu­ture lead­ers build on my work to­day? Will they con­sider what I leave be­hind im­por­tant in build­ing the com­mu­nity and na­tion of their time?

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