The Production and Dissemination of Australian Social Work Scholarship: A Citation Analysis

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Tilbury, C
Bigby, C
Hughes, M
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Understanding the scholarly impact of social work research can inform strategies to strengthen the profession’s research foundations. This study examined research productivity and academic impact using h-indexes for a sample of 112 Australian social work researchers according to the stage of their career. Annual research output was calculated using Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) data. The average h-index for all social work researchers in the sample was 6.39 (Scopus) and 12.5 (Google Scholar). Web of Science was not used due to the number of inaccurate researcher profiles. One hundred and thirty-nine publications received 100 or more citations, but there were many never-cited publications. A social work benchmark for the number of publications is around 1.4 publications per year, depending upon a person’s stage of career and workload profile. Citation analysis can supplement peer review in evaluating research quality, but there are disciplinary differences in publication and citation practices, so it is useful to know where social work is positioned. IMPLICATIONS > Citation analysis is used to assess research productivity and quality alongside qualitative assessment, such as peer review. > It is imperative for researchers to check, correct, and claim Google Scholar, Scopus and Web of Science records, and to link these to their ORCID profile. > A citation benchmark for social work would be in the range of h-index 3.2 for early-career researchers to 15.8 for research-focused positions (Scopus) or h-index 6.1–25.0 (Google Scholar).

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Australian Social Work

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This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Australian Social Work, Latest Articles, 16 Aug 2020, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at:

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This publication has been entered into Griffith Research Online as an Advanced Online Version.

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Social work

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Tilbury, C; Bigby, C; Hughes, M, The Production and Dissemination of Australian Social Work Scholarship: A Citation Analysis, Australian Social Work, 2020, pp. 1-13