I concluded also upon further reflection on analytical citation practices the following:
- Low citation rates of others create an illusion of originality;
- low citation rates of others create and participate in historical effacements and cover-ups;
- low citation rates of others make one's background commitments opaque and, thereby, creates barriers to entry to outsiders;
- if citation is a scarce good it becomes a valuable commodity to be given as either a form of (aspirational) tribute or a rare act of generosity.
That is to say, citation within analytical philosophy is primarily a form of status signaling (recall). It tells the reader what peer group the author belongs or aspires to. 'Peer group' is a polite way of saying faction.--Digressionsnimpressions (2/27/2015)
In other words, it looks like if you are from a small college or foreign unranked university, almost no one will cite you even if you publish in Mind or Phil Review.
Although these prestige effects are not entirely unsurprising, these data suggest to me that perhaps "letting one's work speak for itself" is not all it's cracked up to be--particularly if you are an author from a small college or foreign university. Maybe some self-promotion, indeed, is in order.--Marcus Arvan at the Cocooners.
My post on the antinomies will have to wait a day. First the good news: you can be outside the Gourmet ecology (recall) and publish in two top journals not exactly known for their professional, impartial reviewing practices (Mind and The Philosophical Review during the period of 2005-2009). I happen not to be surprised by this because I have local friends that have succeeded at doing so, too. Second, one reason why the papers that come from "small colleges or foreign unranked universities" did not garner citations may, in fact, be connected to the long delay between submission and print at these journals (at the time). For a decade ago sharing pre-published papers online was far less common than it is today. By the time papers appeared in print the informal discussion at -- what the scientific technocrats call -- 'the research frontier' (often found in departments with leading figures and critical mass of PhD students and visitors) had moved on. I have, in fact, argued that as European grant agencies encourage publication in English language (ranked) journals we should expect a lot more 'me 2 research' and low citation rates of papers by scholars writing in English on the periphery of the ecology (recall).
Third, Marcus's new findings are also compatible with my preferred explanation of these matters. Analytical philosophers tend to use citations as status signaling. In effect, citations express the community one wishes to belong to. On the whole, one appears to wish to be in the clubs dominated by high status peers. It would be interesting to see if in areas of specialization that were once or still are fairly marginal, or have a sense of grievance (fill in your favorite example), one is more or less likely to cite lower status peers. It would also be interesting to see which high status dudes (recall the Healy data) violate the status game and systematically cite lower ranked peers.*
Surprisingly enough, the 'halo effect' provided by the journals seems to be fairly minimal. This does not claim there are no such halo effects in absolute (total average citations) or relative terms: in Europe publication in some such journal helps in grant-making and Stateside it may help in obtaining tenure or moving into jobs at the key departments of the ecology. Given that the effect Marcus finds is pretty big for the short time that has lapsed, his data seems to rule out an alternative hypothesis: that people cite primarily what they have been taught in graduate school (which is what I used to think).
Undoubtedly, somewhere somebody is thinking that Marcus's data are also compatible with the efficient market in ideas and jobs hypothesis: obviously the community's judgment as expressed in relative citations and job placement are a very reliable proxy of quality. It must be lovely to have faith in some such theodicy.
*In the post NewAPPS world it has, of course, become status enhancing to cite folk from across various professional divides. <grin>