May 25, 2022

New Research Article: “Model for Explaining Citations in Scholarly Publications: A Conceptual Overview of the Literature” (Preprint)

The following article was recently shared by the authors on arXiv.


Model for Explaining Citations in Scholarly Publications: A Conceptual Overview of the Literature


Iman Tahamtan
University of Tennessee

Lutz Bornmann
Max Planck Society


via arXiv


Understanding the process of citing is a necessary condition for the use of citations in research evaluation. Citations can only be used wisely in these evaluations, if the user is informed about the basic elements of the process and knows the relevant underlying factors.

In this study, we introduce a model for explaining citations in scholarly publications. The model is composed of three major elements, including the context of the cited document, pathways from selection to citation of documents, and the context of the citing document. The model is simply designed to include only a few major and minor elements in order to be clear and understandable, but the elements are explained in great detail in this study. With the model, which has its roots in available citation theories, recent studies in bibliometrics on factors influencing citations and citation context are reviewed and synthesized to gain insights into the process of citing. The model can be used to understand the process of citing and delivers basic information for the proper application of citations in research evaluation. The model also reveals gaps in empirical research on citations.

Read the Complete Article
39 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.