Nowadays, citations rates are far from simple. When I was gearing up in my research career, there were many fewer journals in one’s field. The graduate students and PDFs all aspired to get published in those journals that were high impact journals. Then it became clear that even papers in lower-impact journals could themselves have high, often very high, citation rates. It was really about the quality of the research. You heard ‘lab legends’ of bad papers being cited frequently as how ‘not’ to do something; but these papers just tend to be forgotten. When one points out obvious flaws of inference, logic and/or design in a study, there is really no need to revisit it, else one is accused of building straw men. We also have heard that citations are not everything; and indeed, they aren’t. Citation rates can be discipline specific and subject to bandwagons. But, they are still a useful metric.
Professor & student