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UCSB Communication Department Ranks Second in Faculty Citations

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 16:00
Santa Barbara, CA

In a recent study of the combined number of citations to academic articles written by faculty members, UC Santa Barbara's Department of Communication ranked second out of 60 departments in universities across the country that offer doctoral degrees in communication.

Taking data from the Web of Knowledge, an online academic citation service provided by Thomson Reuters, the study, titled "Evaluating doctoral programs in communication based on citations," ranks UCSB second only to University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication in the number of citations per publication for each faculty member. The study appeared in a recent issue of The Electronic Journal of Communication, Volume 22.

"We have always been extremely proud of the productivity of the faculty members in our Department of Communications," said Melvin Oliver, executive dean of the College of Letters and Science, and the SAGE Sara Miller McCune Dean of Social Sciences. "This acknowledgement signifies their importance in leading the field of communication with new ideas, new theories, and confirmatory empirical research."

Said Linda Putnam, professor and chair of the Department of Communication: "Having a high citation impact factor typically means that a scholar's ideas, theories, and findings have landed on a page that other researchers find extremely beneficial for building knowledge. Tracking citations is one way of evaluating a faculty member's contribution to the study of communication."

According to the study, faculty members at UCSB are cited an average of 442 times per article for 947 publications, making the university one of the nation's leaders in the study of communication.

"It shows that the faculty have new ideas and are on cutting edge areas of work that have made an impact in the field," said Putnam. Such work includes, for example, the Communication Accommodation Theory put forth by Howard Giles, UCSB professor of communication.

The theory states that people adjust their communication styles to accommodate others, and it's a theory that has been picked up and tested in different settings in a variety of countries.

With only 16 members, the Department of Communication at UCSB has a relatively small faculty in comparison with similar programs at other universities. However, scholars here have been cited more frequently than those in departments with as many as 30 faculty members. "This finding speaks to the caliber of the communication faculty at UCSB. Faculty not only publish often, but publish work that matters and that leads scholarship in the field," said Putnam.

The Electronic Journal of Communication