Q: How can one compare published articles belonging to different fields of science?

Detailed Question -

My organization, MTAA, is considering adding a competition for best articles by a member in the past two years, and another for best article in the past ten years. Apart from subjective, well-supported evaluative comments and numbers of citations, is there some other comparative, evaluative method for comparing articles from different fields?

2 Answers to this question

As you have mentioned, the best way to evaluate a scholarly article is through subjective evaluative comments. However, it might be difficult to compare articles across fields solely on the basis of such comments. I am not aware of any resources as such that might help compare studies across fields, but you could consider a few things apart from the subjective assessment:

  • You could consider which journal the article is published in and what is the standing of the journal in the field: whether it is among the leading journals in the field, or a relatively lesser known one.
  • You have mentioned the total number of citations. Along with that, you could also consider the Altmetric score of each article. The Altmetric tool measures the number of times a research output gets cited, tweeted about, liked, shared, bookmarked, viewed, downloaded, mentioned, reviewed, and discussed.
  • You should focus on the impact of the findings of each study; for example, how significantly they contribute to the field, whether the research is groundbreaking or highly impactful or is simply building on an existing line of thought, etc.
  • Additionally, you could consider involving a few experts from multidisciplinary fields as they might be able to compare the impact of studies from different fields.

I hope this answer helps. 

Answer: This is an interesting question. Comparing articles published in different fields of science is quite challenging. While comparing the citations is the primary factor, you can also consider comparing the journal's impact factor, indexing (SCI, SCIE, SSCI, PubMed), journal rankings and grouping (Q1, Q2, and Q3) and Altmetric score. The published articles can also be evaluated on the basis of whether it is a research paper, review article, case report, or an editorial. Refer: http://www.scimagojr.com/journalrank.php?category=1000 https://www.altmetric.com/