Cumulative citation index
The cumulative citation index is the total number of cases in which the results of a certain author published in one of his articles were cited in the scientific articles of his colleagues. In practice, mostly only citations in journals included in the Web of Knowledge database (the new form of the original Science Citation Index database) are included and auto-citations are also included – i.e. cases, where the author or one of the co-authors of an article cited this article. Both are substantively incorrect, but technically readily feasible. The older an author is, the larger the value of his cumulative citation index becomes. Thus, it is usual to assess the quality of a scientific worker or scientific team according to the number of citations achieved over a certain shorter period of time, for example, over the past 5 years. In this case, older authors with a greater number of formerly published works are, of course, also at an advantage, because their older works can also be cited in this period of time. However, in fields where works age rapidly, for example, in molecular biology, this advantage is not great. It is a matter of speculation whether this sufficiently compensates older workers for the disadvantages entailed in the obligation to sit in various commissions and councils.