Appropriate similarity measures for author co-citation analysis



We provide in this article a number of new insights into the methodological discussion about author co-citation analysis. We first argue that the use of the Pearson correlation for measuring the similarity between authors' co-citation profiles is not very satisfactory. We then discuss what kind of similarity measures may be used as an alternative to the Pearson correlation. We consider three similarity measures in particular. One is the well-known cosine. The other two similarity measures have not been used before in the bibliometric literature. We show by means of an example that the choice of an appropriate similarity measure has a high practical relevance. Finally, we discuss the use of similarity measures for statistical inference.