Significance of Citations
For immigrant petitions of EB-1A, EB-1B and National Interest Waiver, most petitioners focus on how many papers published in journals, how many presentations on conferences, how many awards or prizes received, how many journal papers reviewed, and the quantity and quality of references. While they are important and crucial to immigrant petitions, USCIS has tendency to pay more attention on petitioner’s impact or influence on the field, which will be evidenced by published material written by other experts about the petitioner’s work in professional or major publications or media.
The underlying reasoning of USCIS is that “Publication, by itself, is not a strong indication of impact in one’s field, because the act of publishing an article does not compel others to read it or absorb its influence.” In other words, even though petitioner has published many papers in academic journals, USCIS might consider impact on the field being insignificant or minimum if there is no any citation at all because there is no other researcher in the field has been affected by petitioner’s work.
Additionally, USCIS even believes that “Peer review of manuscripts is a routine element of the process by which articles are selected for publication in scholarly journals or presentations at a scientific conference. Occasional participation in peer review of this kind does not adequately distinguish the petitioner from other researchers.” Of course, USCIS implied that if petitioner has reviewed papers for 10 journals or is an editor for a journal, it will be another situation.
While the petitioner’s graduate student award may distinguish the petitioner from other students seeking to further their education a particular university, it offers no meaningful comparison between the petitioner and experienced professionals in research field who have long since completed their graduate studies. From the above USCIS reasoning, almost all student fellowship, award, or grant is not strong evidence to prove petitioner’s achievement on the field although petitioner maybe is outstanding among students but not among experienced researchers.
By contrast, readers can find the significance of citations, particularly from independent experts, on the mind of USCIS officers. “Numerous independent citations would provide firm evidence that other researchers have been influenced by the petitioner’s work. If there are few or no citations of an alien’s work, suggesting that that work has gone largely unnoticed by the larger research community, then it is reasonable to question how widely that alien’s work is viewed as being noteworthy. It is also reasonable to question how much impact – and national benefit – a researcher’s work would have.” As far as how many independent citations being sufficient, it is under the judgment of USCIS adjudicator based on other documentation. 20 or 30 citations should be sufficient. How about 8, 10, 14, or 18?
While citations are critical, USCIS seems to count those from independent researchers only. “We note that all of the witnesses have collaborated with petitioner on various projects in the past. This fact indicates that while the petitioner’s work is valued by his professional contacts, other scientists throughout the field are largely unaware of his research and do not attribute the same level of importance to his work.”
In summation, if you have many citations from independent experts, your immigrant petition is likely to succeed from the point of your impact on the field. However, if do not have many citations, you had better to find comments, invitations or emails from other researchers in order to evidence your research impact on the field.
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Significance of Citations