Harmonic publication and citation counting : sharing authorship credit equitably – not equally, geometrically or arithmetically
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionHagen, N.T. (2010). Harmonic publication and citation counting: sharing authorship credit equitably - not equally, geometrically or arithmetically. Scientometrics, 84(3), 785-793. doi: 10.1007/s11192-009-0129-4
Bibliometric counting methods need to be validated against perceived notions of authorship credit allocation, and standardized by rejecting methods with poor fit or questionable ethical implications. Harmonic counting meets these concerns by exhibiting a robust fit to previously published empirical data from medicine, psychology and chemistry, and by complying with three basic ethical criteria for the equitable sharing of authorship credit. Harmonic counting can also incorporate additional byline information about equal contribution, or the elevated status of a corresponding last author. By contrast, several previously proposed counting schemes from the bibliometric literature including arithmetic, geometric and fractional counting, do not fit the empirical data as well and do not consistently meet the ethical criteria. In conclusion, harmonic counting would seem to provide unrivalled accuracy, fairness and flexibility to the long overdue task of standardizing bibliometric allocation of publication and citation credit.