Marshakova (1973) and Small (1973) proposed the same variation on bibliographic coupling when independently suggesting the relatedness of documents measured by their co-citation frequency. Two documents are said to be co-cited if they appear simultaneously in the reference list of a third document. The co-citation frequency is defined as the frequency with which two documents are cited together. Price (1965, p. 515) maintains that networks of scientific papers that are linked, or “knitted” together by citations, reveal either the research front, which builds on very recent work, or taxonomic subjects, which are tied into “the eternal record of human knowledge”. But Cole & Cole (1973, p. 220) draw attention to the fact that scientists ceremonially cite friends, colleges, mentors, or eminent people in the field, and that cited works may represent not only a significant, even necessary antecedent to the present work, but also merely a tangentially relevant piece of work, cited only to demonstrate the author’s knowledge of the literature. Different citer motives are treated equally by co-citation analysis, thus accentuating that Martyn’s (1964) criticism on bibliographic coupling also applies to co-citation analysis.






Cole, J. R. & Cole, S. (1973). Social Stratification in Science. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.


Marshakova, I. V. (1973). A system of document connection based on references. Scientific and Technical Information Serial of VINITI, 6(2): 3-8.


Martyn, J. (1964). Bibliographic coupling. Journal of Documentation, 20(4): 236.


Price, D. J. S. (1965). Networks of scientific papers. Science, 149: 510-515.


Small, H. (1973). Co-citation in the scientific literature: A new measurement of the relationship between two documents. Journal of the American Society of Information Science, 24(4): 265-269.


See also: Bibliographic coupling

 Jeppe Nicolaisen