The article by Gurnani et al. is an excellent attempt at concisely describing the various citation indices and citation indexing services. However, there are a few points to consider.
The national medical commission (NMC) guidelines for medical faculty in India requires publications of meta-analysis, systematic reviews, original articles, or case series in journals indexed in Medline, PubMed Central, Citation index, Sciences Citation Index Expanded (SCIE), Embase, Scopus, or Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Multiple predatory journals, especially in India, claim indexing in platforms such as ResearchGate which are actually for collaborative and networking purposes and are not indexing agencies. Publications in such journals are not valid for medical faculty promotion or recognition from assistant to associate professor or from associate to professor. Thus, it is imperative for researchers and authors to clarify the journals’ indexing before submission.
Moreover, the difference between altmetrics and bibliometrics needs to be clear and the relevance needs to be stressed. Bibliometrics essentially correlates with the impact factor of the journal; this takes at least 2 years to establish and is majorly dependent on large scientific databases. Altmetrics, on the other hand, also includes dissemination through websites, blogs, forums, and social media platforms. They have a wider coverage and can be calculated earlier than bibliometrics. To date, citations and impact are not part of any requirement for medical faculty in India. Thus, they are often ignored by most researchers despite being stressed upon by journals’ editorial boards.
Third, the various citation indices mentioned by Gurnani et al. represent various features of the impact of the researcher. However, they all have limitations and fallacies. For example, a highly read and useful case report by few authors may not receive many citations, whereas the gamut of authors of a medical society easily gets lots of citation for publishing review articles or society guidelines. h index attempts to exclude the effect of highly cited papers; however, it is not real-time and ignores the total number of citations. i10 index arbitrarily gives values to only those articles that have more than 10 citations, thereby ignoring case reports and letters.
Thus, to summarize, the focus of any researcher should be on the quality of research and the benefit of the medical fraternity at large. There is no ideal index to judge the quality and impact of the researcher; however, the conundrum of citation indices and platforms can indirectly serve as a partial indicator of the progress the researcher makes with time and experience.
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