A Citation Analysis of the Impact of Journals on Contemporary Small Enterprise Research
Romero, Claudio, Ratnatunga, Janek, Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice
In all academic disciplines, researchers typically form groups or sub-sets that focus on common questions in common ways (Burt, 1977; Price, 1965). Within these groups, concepts attributable to one researcher may be used by another for testing, extending or refining. Through this process, one researcher's work builds on that of another acknowledging via a citation, the historical link. Thus, when one scholar cites the prior work of another, citations provide a means of documenting this history (Culnan, O'Reilly, & Chatman, 1990). Citation studies come under the broad field of "Bibliometrics"; i.e. the quantitative study of literatures as they are reflected in bibliographies (see White & McCain, 1989, and the literature quoted therein). Therefore, refereed academic journals have played an increasingly important role in the dissemination of scientific information, particularly in the last decade. This is as true in small enterprise research as in any other discipline. Further, the category of the journal in which articles are published can affect an individual's promotion, tenure, and salary as well as his or her brand name and ability to change employment (Liebowitz & Palmer, 1984). Bibliometric distributions can also be used to rank authors and academic departments (Chung, Pak, & Cox, 1992). For these and other reasons listed below, several efforts have been made to judge the various qualities and merits of individual journals by the use of citations appended to journal articles. This is accomplished by measuring the number of acknowledgments between and within disciplines.
A set of published articles and their bibliographic citations, commonly known as a citation analysis, has been used for a number of purposes in various disciplines of the social sciences. For example, citation analysis has been used in the accounting discipline to evaluate accounting faculties and doctoral programs (Robinson & Adler, 1981; Brown & Gardner, 1985; Gamble & O'Doherty, 1985), to compare citation-based evaluations with those obtained by peer judgment of accounting journals (Howard & Nikolai, 1983; Nobes, 1985; Beattie & Ryan, 1989), to assess the reputation and impact of research within the accounting discipline (McRae, 1974; Dyckman & Zeff, 1984; Brown & Gardner, 1985; Beattie & Ryan, 1991), to assess the impact of individual accounting journals (Brown, Gardner, & Vasarhely, 1987), and to determine views on perceived quality of accounting journals among accounting faculties (Brown & Huefner, 1994).
In other fields, citation analysis has been used to compare citation counts to editorial rankings (Quandt, 1976; White & White, 1977), to identify the level of academic research reflected in small enterprise issues identified by government reports (Brockhaus, 1988), to assess the impact of interdisciplinary research (Hamelman & Mazze, 1973) and to assess the influence of consumer market research (Leong, 1989; Cote, Leong, & Cote, 1991). Citation studies have also been done in the fields of management information systems (Culnan, 1986, 1987; Culnan & Swanson, 1986; Gogan, 1992), auditing (Smith & Krogstad, 1984), organizational behaviour (Culnan, et al., 1990), marketing (Heischmidt & Gorden, 1993), and strategic management (Franke, Edlund, & Oster, 1990).(1)
RESEARCH APPROACH AND MOTIVATION
Citation analysis is based on the assumption that if an author cites a journal, he or she has found it useful, and therefore the more frequently a journal is cited, the greater it's role in the scholarly communication process (Nisonger, 1994). The earliest of such studies was conducted in 1927 for chemistry journals (Gross & Gross, 1927). Nisonger (1992) provides a bibliography of the last decadeis major journal ranking studies. Such studies have been particularly helpful to librarians seeking new tools to help them evaluate journals in a period of high inflation in available serials (Garfield, 1972a; Smith, 1985; Broadus, 1985; White & McCain, 1989; Nisonger, 1994). …