SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

Large national social surveys are expensive to conduct and to process into usable data files. The purpose of this article is to assess the impact of these national data sets on research using bibliometric measures. Peer-reviewed articles from research using numeric data files and documentation from the Canadian National Population Health Survey (NPHS) were searched in ISI's Web of Science and in Scopus for articles citing the original research. This article shows that articles using NPHS data files and products have been used by a diverse and global network of scholars, practitioners, methodologists, and policy makers. Shifts in electronic publishing and the emergence of new tools for citation analysis are changing the discovery process for published and unpublished work based on inputs to the research process. Evidence of use of large surveys throughout the knowledge transfer process can be critical in assessing grant and operating funding levels for research units, and in influencing design, methodology, and access channels in planning major surveys. The project has gathered citations from the peer-reviewed article stage of knowledge transfer, providing valuable evidence on the use of the data files and methodologies of the survey and of limitations of the survey. Further work can be done to expand the scope of material cited and analyze the data to understand how the longitudinal aspect of the survey contributes to the value of the research output. Building a case for continued funding of national, longitudinal surveys is a challenge. As far as I am aware, however, little use has been made of citation tracking to assess the long-term value of such surveys. Conducting citation analysis on research inputs (data file use and survey products) provides a tangible assessment of the value accrued from large-scale (and expensive) national surveys.