The Florida State University Method
for Obtaining "NRC-style" Publication and Citation Counts

These instructions were developed in 1998 and 1999 for use at Florida State University in an exercise designed to assess the university's probable current status with respect to rankings published in the National Research Council's 1995 Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States: Continuity and Change. They are therefore intended to produce publication and literature-citation counts that approximate those the National Research Council staff members would obtain if they applied the same conditions and criteria used in the NRC's 1995 report to the years 1994-1997. Non-FSU users of these instructions will want to substitute appropriate zip codes for those used below, and all users will want to substitute the range of dates that interests them.

The instructions explain how to count publications and citations from Web of Science, a web-based database produced and maintained by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). For their 1995 report, the NRC obtained from ISI a specially prepared database, prepared from the same data that underlie Web of Science.

Even perfect adherence to these instructions may not produce the exact counts NRC would obtain, because these instructions count publications and citations according to year of publication, whereas the time windows used by NRC are truncated according to year of entry into the Web of Science database (not always the same), information not easily available to Web of Science users. As a result, FSU counts should be slightly higher than NRC counts, because NRC both eliminated the stray 1980 papers that turned up among their 1981's and missed stray 1992 papers that would later (after preparation of their database) turn up among the 1993's. FSU eliminated stray 1993's that showed up among the 1994's but counted 1997 papers that turned up among the 1998's.

Step-by-step Instructions, Detailed Version

Sample Score Sheet

Frequently Asked Questions

Structure of the NRC Database

Short Summary of Instructions, for experienced users of the FSU method

If you have questions or comments, please contact Anne B. Thistle.