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Normative versus Social Constructivist Processes in the Allocation of Citations: A Network-Analytic Model

Stephane Baldi
American Sociological Review
Vol. 63, No. 6 (Dec., 1998), pp. 829-846
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2657504
Page Count: 18
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Normative versus Social Constructivist Processes in the Allocation of Citations: A Network-Analytic Model
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Abstract

I assess competing arguments on the determinants of scientists' citation patterns by developing a new approach to the multivariate study of citations that builds upon a network-analytic model. Using data on articles about celestial masers, an astrophysics research area, logistic regressions with robust standard errors examine the extent to which characteristics of both potentially citing and potentially cited papers influence the probability that a citation exists between the papers. The results identify significant positive effects of cited article cognitive content and cited article quality, providing support for a normative interpretation of the allocation of citations in which citations reflect payment of intellectual debt. In contrast, indicators of an author's position within the stratification structure of science fail to significantly improve the fit of the model, and thus provide no support for the social constructivist claim that citations are rhetorical tools of persuasion. Furthermore, the lack of effects of social ties between citing and cited authors provides little support for the argument that authors who know one another are more likely to cite one another's work. Overall, these results suggest that authors are likely to cite those articles most relevant to their work in terms of intellectual content, and seem little concerned with the characteristics of authors who write them.

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