As we know, today, citations of an academic get lots of attentions about whether his research is impfactful. I am just wondering what is the history of citation numbers becoming this important? When were they first calculated and whose idea was this?
Science Citations Index (SCI) was the first reference source that provided a way to find the publications in which a scientific paper was cited. SCI began in 1964. SCI existed only in paper form until it went online as the Web of Science in 1997. Statistics like citation counts and the H-index really weren't practical until the turn of the 21st century
I would like to draw your attention to similar issues in admission. GRE or SAT content have little to do with what one does in the University. However, they are used to reduce a large number of applicants to lower levels. In essence it is a measurable and comparable criteria to judge a person.
Citations and impact scores, roughly, used to judge people swiftly. I believe, it can be wildly inaccurate and unjust.