A critical view on citation index

a discussion with ChatGPT


  • P. Saint-Gregoire CAL, 34110 Frontignan, France




This “opinion article” presents the “dialogue”, namely the series of questions addressed to chatGPT and its outputs, on the question of citation index and other metrics associated with scientific publication. The AI is asked to explain basic quantities (citation index, impact factor of journals, h-index, etc) and through different questions, to give outputs on different important problems, mainly related with citation index and its biases. The AI clearly expresses that the citation index alone should not be used for evaluation purposes, and is led to predict that in certain situations a high quality scientific article would be with a low citation index. The AI also replies that the citation index depends on several factors in a complex way, and is probably not defined in an unambiguous way from a mathematical point of view, but it appears unable to explain evolutions in the field of informetrics that occurred following issues with citation index. The article concludes that the citation index is irrelevant as it is not normalized and strongly depends on the publishing journal and databases, and that it is potentially dangerous for science.


Garfield E. The history and meaning of the journal impact factor. jama. 2006 Jan 4;295(1):90-3. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.295.1.90

J.J. van Raan 2005 van Raan, A. Fatal attraction: Conceptual and methodological problems in the ranking of universities by bibliometric methods. Scientometrics 62, 133–143 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-005-0008-6

Aksnes DW, Langfeldt L, Wouters P. Citations, citation indicators, and research quality: An overview of basic concepts and theories. Sage Open. 2019 Feb;9(1):2158244019829575. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244019829575

Hirsch JE. An index to quantify an individual's scientific research output. Proceedings of the National academy of Sciences. 2005 Nov 15;102(46):16569-72. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0507655102

Alexandru T. Balaban, Scientometrics, Vol 92: Issue 2 (2012), https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-012-0637-5

Aksnes, D. W., Langfeldt, L., & Wouters, P. (2019). Citations, Citation Indicators, and Research Quality: An Overview of Basic Concepts and Theories. SAGE Open, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244019829575

Wouters, PF., Thelwall, M., Kousha, K., Waltman, LR., De Rijcke, S., Rushforth, A., & Franssen, T. (2015). The Metric Tide: Literature Review. https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.1.5066.3520

Zhivotovsky L, Krutovsky K. Self-citation can inflate h-index. Scientometrics. 2008 Nov 1;77(2):373-5. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-006-1716-2

Ludo Waltman, Nees Jan van Eck, Thed N. van Leeuwen, Martijn S. Visser, Anthony F.J. van Raan,

Journal of Informetrics, Volume 5, Issue 1 (2011) – https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joi.2010.08.001

Lundberg J. Lifting the crown—citation z-score. Journal of informetrics. 2007 Apr 1;1(2):145-54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joi.2006.09.007

Opthof T, Leydesdorff L. A comment to the paper by Waltman et al., Scientometrics, 87, 467–481, 2011. Scientometrics. 2011 Sep 1;88(3):1011-6. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-011-0424-8

Bornmann, L. and Daniel, H.D., 2007. What do we know about the h index?. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and technology, 58(9), pp.1381-1385. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.20609

Ludo Waltman, Nees Jan van Eck, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Volume 63, Issue2 (2012), https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.21678




How to Cite

Saint-Gregoire, P. (2023). A critical view on citation index: a discussion with ChatGPT. OAJ Materials and Devices, 7. Retrieved from http://caip.co-ac.com/index.php/materialsanddevices/article/view/151