Chinese-language articles are biased in citations

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In a paper published recently, Li, Qiao, Li, and Jin (2014) analyzed citations received by Chinese- and English-language articles published in Chinese-English bilingual journals indexed by Scopus and Web of Science (WoS). They concluded that Chinese-language articles were not biased in citations compared with English-language articles published in the same journal, as no significant difference was found in terms of the mean citations received between the set of Chinese-language articles and the set of English-language articles published in these journals. We disagree with their interpretation of the results: in order to investigate language bias in citations, one must take into account the well-known fact that scholars prefer to cite articles in their native language (Bookstein & Yitzhaki, 1999). This is also the case for Chinese researchers: Tang, Shapira, and Youtie (2015) revealed that a high rate of internal citations exists among Chinese researchers.

Therefore, to answer the question of whether Chinese-language articles are biased in citations compared with English-language articles, Chinese scholars’ contributions to the citations received should be excluded from consideration or be analyzed separately from those of researchers from other countries.

This content has been updated on 5 November 2019 at 15 h 09 min.