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Last Update

  • Updated.jpg 14 February 2017


See also Altmetrics | Bibliometrics | Citation analysis | Google scholar | ImpactStory | Scopus vs. Web of Science | Webometrics

" ..."bibliometrics" first appeared in print in 1969 in Alan Pritchard's article "Statistical Bibliography or Bibliometrics?" in the December issue of the Journal of Documentation..." — Hertzel, 2003

Scientometrics is concerned with the quantitative features and characteristics of science and scientific research. Emphasis is placed on investigations in which the development and mechanism of science are studied by statistical mathematical methods. According to Wikipedia, "...scientometrics is the study of measuring and analyzing science, technology and innovation. Major research issues include measuring impact, reference sets of articles to investigate impact of journals and institutes, understanding scientific citations, mapping scientific fields and production of indicators in policy and management." In practice there is a significant overlap between scientometrics and other scientific fields such as bibliometrics, information science and webometrics. As such, it aims to measure scientific publications and scientific intellectual outputs in general. Much of the research for this topic involves citation analysis and how scholars cite one another. Author citations reveal a lot about scholarly networks and communication, linkages between scholars, and the development of knowledge over time. Modern scientometrics is based on the work of Derek J de Solla Price and Eugene Garfield.

According to Garfield (2001), Vassily V. Nalimov is credited with coming up with the term ‘scientometrics’ in the 1960s. Since then, scientometrics has been used to describe the study of science, its growth, structure, interrelationships and productivity as revealed in the production of research. Scientometrics has a direct connection to bibliometrics and informetrics. Scientometrics looks at a number of activities such as charting changes in the output of scholarly fields to maintaining bibliographic control of research - and the productivity of researchers.

Bibliometrics and scientometrics

Bibliometrics and scientometrics are two closely-related fields that aim to measure scientific publications and science in general. A lot of the research that falls under this topic involves citation analysis, or examining how scholars cite one another in publications. Author citation data can show a lot about scholar networks and scholarly communication, linkages between scholars, and the development of areas of knowledge over time. Modern scientometrics is based on the work of Derek J de Solla Price and Eugene Garfield.

The field of scientometrics – the science of measuring and analyzing science – took off in 1947 when mathematician Derek J. de Solla Price was asked to store a complete set of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society temporarily in his house. He stacked them in order and he noticed that the height of the stacks fit an exponential curve. Price started to analyze all sorts of other kinds of scientific data and concluded in 1960 that scientific knowledge had been growing steadily at a rate of 4.7 percent annually since the 17th century. The upshot was that scientific data was doubling every 15 years.

As with other scientific approaches, scientometrics and bibliometrics have their own limitations. Recently, a criticism was voiced pointing toward certain deficiencies of the journal impact factor (JIF) calculation process, based on the Web of Science such as: journal citation distributions may be highly skewed towards established journals; journal impact factor properties are field-specific and can be easily manipulated by editors, or even by changing the editorial policies; this makes the entire process essentially nontransparent. Regarding the more objective journal metrics, there is a growing view that for greater accuracy it must be supplemented with an article-level metrics and peer-review. Thomson Reuters replied to criticism in general terms by stating that "no one metric can fully capture the complex contributions scholars make to their disciplines, and many forms of scholarly achievement should be considered."


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