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The “Russian Hirsch”: Formal Attributes of Publications and Indicators of Their Visibility on eLibrary and PsyJournals as Predictors of the RSCI Citation Rate

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posted on 2021-06-02, 09:50 authored by Arkady MargolisArkady Margolis, Viktoria PonomarevaViktoria Ponomareva, Marina SorokovaMarina Sorokova
The article investigates the predictors of citation rate in the Russian Science Citation Index (RSCI) for Russian publications in psychology. 4 groups of indicators are analyzed: formal attributes of a publication (total 12), parameters of publication visibility on (total 3) and (total 2) that define accessibility of publication to potential readers, and author-based citation parameters (total 3). Special attention is paid to citation parameters as qualitative characteristics of the author’s method of elaborating the scientific text and construing dialogue (in the form of citations) with other researchers. Relationship between the indicators analyzed and the RSCI citation rate is proven statistically using the multivariate statistical methods. Recommendations are provided for authors to increase their citation rates. The sample is represented by 662 publications in 6 Russian psychology journals, each indexed in the RSCI, Web of Science, and Scopus


Research questions / Hypotheses

Hypothesis: The citation rate of an article in the RSCI depends on 4 types of factors that are consistent with each other, i.e. the formal attributes of the article, the attributes of the author's method of scientific citation, the visibility parameters of the article on the Internet portals eLibrary and PsyJournals, and can be predicted by the combination of these parameters

Research aim

Identify predictors of articles' citation among the quantitative and qualitative citation indicators of sources by the authors of these articles and of their visibility parameters on the and portals, as well as conduct a comparative analysis of their predictive ability

Participants / Sample description

The sample consists of N = 662 articles for 2014 (N1 = 315) and 2015 (N2 = 347) years from 6 scientific journals in psychology: Psikhologicheskaya nauka i obrazovanie = Psychological Science and Education, Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), Questions of Psychology, Psychology. Journal of the Higher School of Economics, Psychological Journal. Criteria for selecting: psychology is the main activity of the MSUPE. Only high-quality journals included in the WoS CC were taken: 3 leading MSUPE journals out of 13 published by it, 2 oldest journals on psychology and one journal which ranks 2nd in the RSCI for 2017. When using different methods of data analysis, the sample size is reduced due to the peculiarities of the operation of SPSS V.23 and V.25 with missing data. For 200 articles, data are provided according to the portal of psychological publications

Apparatus and materials

Article attributes: Number of references (NS), Number of international references (NSi), Number of national references (NSn), Number of modern articles references (NSm), Weighted average impact factor of references (IFs), Weighted average Hirsch index of authors of references according to RSCI (Has), Weighted average number of references citations in RSCI (CSrisc), Weighted average number of citations in WoS (CSwos), Maximum Hirsch index of the article authors in RSCI (Hmax), Number of authors (Na), Number of pages (NP), Journal Impact-factor (IF) Attributes of authors' citation method: Number of formal citation facts (Cf), Number of non-intertextual citation facts (Cnit), Number of intertextual citation facts (Cit) Visibility parameters on Number of eLibrary views (Ve), Number of downloads (unique users) eLibrary (De), eLibrary collections (Se). Visibility parameters on Number of views (VApj). Number of downloads (Dpj)

Data collection procedure

The data are provided by the Scientific Electronic Library and the Portal of psychological publications Parameters under study are automatically registered. For articles in journals that provided incomplete information, the bibliography parameters were specified on the publishers’ websites. Attributes of authors' citation method are intertextual, formal and non-intertextual citation facts. Intertextual citation is direct or indirect quotation in the text, analysis of the quotation content and reference. Formal citation is the reference without mentioning it in the text. Non-intertextual citation is the absence of the article author's position in relation to the cited sources authors ones. Coding of authors' citation features was carried out by students under instructor’s guidance. Here, random coding errors are possible due to the subjectivity of opinions, but there can be no systemic distortions due to the large number of encoders.

Statistical methods

Since the number of parameters studied is quite large, we used mainly the methods of multivariate statistics, which made it possible to single out generalized characteristics of articles, presumably interrelated with citations in the RSCI. The methods of exploratory factor analysis (EFA), cluster analysis (CA), multiple regression analysis (MRA), logistic regression (LR) were used. Quantitative data analysis was performed in the SPSS V. 23 and V. 25


1. Relationship between the indicators analyzed and the RSCI citation rate is statistically proven using EFA, CA. 2. The strongest predictors of citation rate are identified by MRA and compared by their predictive power. Visibility (accessibility) indicators are the best predictors of citation rate, followed by formal publication attributes and, finally, citation type parameters as having the lowest predictive power. 3. The LR method allows to identify the ultimate predictors of citation rate and measure their accuracy in predicting whether a publication is low- or highly cited, which is 77.3% and 72.9% for the indicators of visibility on PsyJournals and eLibrary (respectively), 69.9% for formal attributes, and 60.9% for citation parameters. 4. A publication that has few in-text citations is very likely to have a low RSCI citation rate, yet a high number of in-text citations does not guarantee a high citation impact. 5. Recommendations to increase citation rate are provided

Publication reference

Марголис А.А., Пономарева В.В., Сорокова М.Г. Особенности «российского Хирша»: предикторы цитируемости научных статей в РИНЦ // Вопросы образования. 2020. № 1. С.230 – 255. DOI: 10.17323/1814-9545-2020-1-230-255


Educational Studies Moscow / Вопросы образования


Arkady A. Margolis, PhD in Psychology, Rector, Professor, Chair of Pedagogical Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education (MSUPE), Moscow, Russia, Victoria V. Ponomareva, Director of the Fundamental Library, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education (MSUPE), Moscow, Russia Marina G. Sorokova, Doctor in Education, PhD in Physics and Mathematics, Head of Scientific and Practical Center for Comprehensive Support of Psychological Research PsyDATA, Professor, Chair of Applied Mathematics, Faculty of Information Technology, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education (MSUPE), Moscow, Russia