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  • 1 Professorship for Social Psychology and Research on Higher Education ETH Zurich Zähringerstrasse 24 CH-8092 Zurich Switzerland
  • 2 University of Zurich Evaluation Office Mühlegasse 21 CH-8001 Zurich Switzerland
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Citation analysis for evaluative purposes requires reference standards, as publication activity and citation habits differ considerably among fields. Reference standards based on journal classification schemes are fraught with problems in the case of multidisciplinary and general journals and are limited with respect to their resolution of fields. To overcome these shortcomings of journal classification schemes, we propose a new reference standard for chemistry and related fields that is based on the sections of the Chemical Abstracts database. We determined the values of the reference standard for research articles published in 2000 in the biochemistry sections of Chemical Abstracts as an example. The results show that citation habits vary extensively not only between fields but also within fields. Overall, the sections of Chemical Abstracts seem to be a promising basis for reference standards in chemistry and related fields for four reasons: (1) The wider coverage of the pertinent literature, (2) the quality of indexing, (3) the assignment of papers published in multidisciplinary and general journals to their respective fields, and (4) the resolution of fields on a lower level (e.g. mammalian biochemistry) than in journal classification schemes (e.g. biochemistry & molecular biology).