Web data as academic and business quality estimates: A comparison of three data sources

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Abstract

Earlier studies found that web hyperlink data contain various types of information, ranging from academic to political, that can be used to analyze a variety of social phenomena. Specifically, the numbers of inlinks to academic websites are associated with academic performance, while the counts of inlinks to company websites correlate with business variables. However, the scarcity of sources from which to collect inlink data in recent years has required us to seek new data sources. The recent demise of the inlink search function of Yahoo! made this need more pressing. Different alternative variables or data sources have been proposed. This study compared three types of web data to determine which are better as academic and business quality estimates, and what are the relationships among the three data sources. The study found that Alexa inlink and Google URL citation data can replace Yahoo! inlink data and that the former is better than the latter. Alexa is even better than Yahoo!, which has been the main data source in recent years. The unique nature of Alexa data could explain its relative advantages over other data sources.

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