Earlier Web usage statistics as predictors of later citation impact



The use of citation counts to assess the impact of research articles is well established. However, the citation impact of an article can only be measured several years after it has been published. As research articles are increasingly accessed through the Web, the number of times an article is downloaded can be instantly recorded and counted. One would expect the number of times an article is read to be related both to the number of times it is cited and to how old the article is. The authors analyze how short-term Web usage impact predicts medium-term citation impact. The physics e-print archive—arXiv.org—is used to test this.