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Abstract

Citation indictors are increasingly used in some subject areas to support peer review in the evaluation of researchers and departments. Nevertheless, traditional journal-based citation indexes may be inadequate for the citation impact assessment of book-based disciplines. This article examines whether online citations from Google Books and Google Scholar can provide alternative sources of citation evidence. To investigate this, we compared the citation counts to 1,000 books submitted to the 2008 U.K. Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) from Google Books and Google Scholar with Scopus citations across seven book-based disciplines (archaeology; law; politics and international studies; philosophy; sociology; history; and communication, cultural, and media studies). Google Books and Google Scholar citations to books were 1.4 and 3.2 times more common than were Scopus citations, and their medians were more than twice and three times as high as were Scopus median citations, respectively. This large number of citations is evidence that in book-oriented disciplines in the social sciences, arts, and humanities, online book citations may be sufficiently numerous to support peer review for research evaluation, at least in the United Kingdom.