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  • 1 Department of Science and Technology Studies Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 12180-3590 Troy New York USA 12180-3590 Troy New York USA
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Because of the widespread use of citations in evaluation, we tend to think of them primarily as a form of colleague recognition. This interpretation neglects rhetorical factors that shape patterns of citations. After reviewing sociological theories of citation, this paper argues that we should think of citations first as rhetoric and second as reward. Some implications of this view for quantitative modeling of the citation process are drawn.