Citation Metrics in Psychological Science


Radosic, N., & Diener, E. (2021). Citation metrics in psychological science. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 1-11. doi:


We present norms for faculty citation counts based on 811 faculty members at 30 PhD-granting psychology departments in the United States across the range of the National Research Council rankings. The metrics were highly skewed, with most scientists having a low to moderate number of citations of their work and a few scientists having extremely high numbers. However, the median per-year citation count was 149, showing widespread scientific contributions across scholars. Some individuals in lower ranked departments are more highly cited than the average scholar in higher ranked departments, with enormous variation in citation counts in both the low- and high-ranking departments. Citation counts overall have risen in recent years, and the citations of early-career scholars are increasing at a faster
rate than their senior colleagues did at the same point in their careers. We found that citation counts at the beginning of scientists’ careers substantially predict lifetime citation success. Young scholars’ citation counts are associated with obtaining positions at higher ranked universities. Finally, we found no significant differences for subfields of psychology. In sum, although a few highly productive scientists have a very large influence, trends reveal that contributions to
psychological science are growing over time, widespread, and not limited to a few stars and elite departments.

Keywords: academic career trajectory, academic psychology, application: education, citation counts, intragroup processes

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