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A classification of author co-citations: Definitions and search strategies



The term author co-citation is defined and classified according to four distinct forms: the pure first-author co-citation, the pure author co-citation, the general author co-citation, and the special co-author/co-citation. Each form can be used to obtain one count in an author co-citation study, based on a binary counting rule, which either recognizes the co-citedness of two authors in a given reference list (1) or does not (0). Most studies using author co-citations have relied solely on first-author co-citation counts as evidence of an author's oeuvre or body of work contributed to a research field. In this article, we argue that an author's contribution to a selected field of study should not be limited, but should be based on his/her complete list of publications, regardless of author ranking. We discuss the implications associated with using each co-citation form and show where simple first-author co-citations fit within our classification scheme. Examples are given to substantiate each author co-citation form defined in our classification, including a set of sample Dialog™ searches using references extracted from the SciSearch database.