There's more than one way to measure the influence of a scientific paper. An alternative, the Relative Citation Ratio, is better for interdisciplinary research and fields with low citations.
From the National Institute of Health's Office of Portfolio Analysis via phys.org --
The co-citation network is formed from the reference lists of articles that cite the article in question. For example, if Article X is cited by Article A, Article B, and Article C, then the co-citation network of Article X would contain all the articles from the reference lists of Articles A, B, and C. Comparing the citation rate of Article X to the citation rate in the co-citation network allows each article to create its own individualized field.
Dr. Stefano Bertuzzi, Executive Director of the American Society for Microbiology, says in a blog post that RCR [Relative Citation Ratio] "evaluates science by putting discoveries into a meaningful context. I believe that RCR is a road out of the JIF [Journal Impact Factor] swamp."
One of the primary criticisms raised against RCR is that, due to the field normalization method, it could undervalue inter-disciplinary work, especially for researchers who work in fields with low citation practices. The authors investigated this possibility, but find little evidence in their analyses that inter-disciplinary work is penalized by RCR calculation.
|Credit: Ian Hutchins and George Santangelo|
Relative Citation Ratio: Scientists publish new metric to measure the influence of scientific research
phys.org, Sep 2016