Scientometrics is the study of measuring and analysing science, technology and innovation. Major research issues include the measurement of impact, reference sets of articles to investigate the impact of journals and institutes, understanding of scientific citations, mapping scientific fields and the production of indicators for use in policy and management contexts.[1] In practice there is a significant overlap between scientometrics and other scientific fields such as bibliometrics, information systems, information science and science of science policy.

Historical development

Modern scientometrics is mostly based on the work of Derek J. de Solla Price and Eugene Garfield. The latter created the Science Citation Index[1] and founded the Institute for Scientific Information which is heavily used for scientometric analysis. A dedicated academic journal, Scientometrics, was established in 1978. The industrialization of science increased the quantity of publications and research outcomes and the rise of the computers allowed effective analysis of this data.[2] While the sociology of science focused on the behavior of scientists, scientometrics focused on the analysis of publications.[1] Accordingly, scientometrics is also referred to as the scientific and empirical study of science and its outcomes.[3][4]

Later, around the turn of the century, evaluation and ranking of scientists and institutions came more into the spotlights. Based on bibliometric analysis of scientific publications and citations, the Academic Ranking of World Universities ("Shanghai ranking") was first published in 2004 by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Impact factors became an important tool to choose between different journals and the rankings such as the Academic Ranking of World Universities and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THE-ranking) became a leading indicator for the status of universities. The h-index became an important indicator of the productivity and impact of the work of a scientist. However, alternative author-level indicators has been proposed (see for example[5]).

Around the same time, interest of governments in evaluating research for the purpose of assessing the impact of science funding increased. As the investments in scientific research were included as part of the U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), a major economic stimulus package, programs like STAR METRICS were set up to assess if the positive impact on the economy would actually occur.[6]


Methods of research include qualitative, quantitative and computational approaches. The main foci of studies have been on institutional productivity comparisons, institutional research rankings, journal rankings [3][4][7] establishing faculty productivity and tenure standards,[8] assessing the influence of top scholarly articles,[9] and developing profiles of top authors and institutions in terms of research performance [10]

One significant finding in the field is a principle of cost escalation to the effect that achieving further findings at a given level of importance grow exponentially more costly in the expenditure of effort and resources. However, new algorithmic methods in search, machine learning and data mining are showing that is not the case for many information retrieval and extraction-based problems. Related fields are the history of science and technology, philosophy of science and sociology of scientific knowledge.

Journals in the field include Scientometrics, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, and Journal of Informetrics.[11] The International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics founded in 1993 is an association of professionals in the field.

See also

References and footnotes

  1. ^ a b c Leydesdorff, L. and Milojevic, S., "Scientometrics" arXiv:1208.4566 (2013), forthcoming in: Lynch, M. (editor), International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences subsection 85030. (2015)
  2. ^ De Solla Price, D., editorial statement. Scientometrics Volume 1, Issue 1 (1978)
  3. ^ a b Lowry, Paul Benjamin; Romans, Denton; Curtis, Aaron (2004). "Global journal prestige and supporting disciplines: A scientometric study of information systems journals". Journal of the Association for Information Systems. 5 (2): 29–80. SSRN 666145.
  4. ^ a b Lowry, Paul Benjamin; Moody, Gregory D.; Gaskin, James; Galletta, Dennis F.; Humpherys, Sean; Barlow, Jordan B.; and Wilson, David W. (2013). "Evaluating journal quality and the Association for Information Systems (AIS) Senior Scholars’ journal basket via bibliometric measures: Do expert journal assessments add value?," MIS Quarterly (MISQ), vol. 37(4), 993–1012. Also, see YouTube video narrative of this paper at:
  5. ^ Belikov, A.V.; Belikov, V.V. (2015). "A citation-based, author- and age-normalized, logarithmic index for evaluation of individual researchers independently of publication counts". F1000Research. 4: 884. doi:10.12688/f1000research.7070.1.
  6. ^ Lane, J (2009). "Assessing the Impact of Science Funding". Science. 324.
  7. ^ Lowry, Paul Benjamin; Humphreys, Sean; Malwitz, Jason; Nix, Joshua C (2007). "A scientometric study of the perceived quality of business and technical communication journals". IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication. 50 (4): 352–378. doi:10.1109/TPC.2007.908733. SSRN 1021608. Recipient of the Rudolph Joenk Award for Best Paper Published in IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication in 2007.
  8. ^ Dean, Douglas L; Lowry, Paul Benjamin; Humpherys, Sean (2011). "Profiling the research productivity of tenured information systems faculty at U.S. institutions". MIS Quarterly. 35 (1): 1–15. SSRN 1562263.
  9. ^ Karuga, Gilbert G.; Lowry, Paul Benjamin; Richardson, Vernon J. (2007). "Assessing the impact of premier information systems research over time". Communications of the Association for Information Systems. 19 (7): 115–131. SSRN 976891.
  10. ^ Lowry, Paul Benjamin; Karuga, Gilbert G.; Richardson, Vernon J. (2007). "Assessing leading institutions, faculty, and articles in premier information systems research journals". Communications of the Association for Information Systems. 20 (16): 142–203. SSRN 1021603.
  11. ^ Journal of Informetrics.

External links


Bibliometrics is statistical analysis of written publications, such as books or articles. Bibliometric methods are frequently used in the field of library and information science, including scientometrics. For instance, bibliometrics are used to provide quantitative analysis of academic literature or for evaluating budgetary spending. Citation analysis is a commonly used bibliometric method which is based on constructing the citation graph, a network or graph representation of the citations between documents. Many research fields use bibliometric methods to explore the impact of their field, the impact of a set of researchers, the impact of a particular paper, or to identify particularly impactful papers within a specific field of research. Bibliometrics also has a wide range of other applications, such as in descriptive linguistics, the development of thesauri, and evaluation of reader usage.

Citation impact

Citation impact quantifies the citation usage of scholarly works. It is a result of citation analysis or bibliometrics. Among the measures that have emerged from citation analysis are the citation counts for an individual article, an author, and an academic journal.

Derek J. de Solla Price

Derek John de Solla Price (22 January 1922 – 3 September 1983) was a physicist, historian of science, and information scientist,

credited as the father of scientometrics.

Discipline (academia)

An academic discipline or academic field, also known as a field of study, field of inquiry, research field and branch of knowledge, is a subdivision of knowledge that is taught and researched at the college or university level. Disciplines are defined (in part), and recognized by the academic journals in which research is published, and the learned societies and academic departments or faculties to which their practitioners belong.

It includes scientific disciplines.

It incorporates expertise, people, projects, communities, challenges, studies, inquiry, and research areas that are strongly associated with a given scholastic subject area or college department. For example, the branches of science are commonly referred to as the scientific disciplines, e.g. physics, chemistry, and biology.

Individuals associated with academic disciplines are commonly referred to as experts or specialists. Others, who may have studied liberal arts or systems theory rather than concentrating in a specific academic discipline, are classified as generalists.

While academic disciplines in and of themselves are more or less focused practices, scholarly approaches such as multidisciplinarity/interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, and cross-disciplinarity integrate aspects from multiple academic disciplines, therefore addressing any problems that may arise from narrow concentration within specialized fields of study. For example, professionals may encounter trouble communicating across academic disciplines because of differences in language or specified concepts.

Some researchers believe that academic disciplines may be replaced by what is known as Mode 2 or "post-academic science", which involves the acquisition of cross-disciplinary knowledge through collaboration of specialists from various academic disciplines.

Eugene Garfield

Eugene Eli Garfield (September 16, 1925 – February 26, 2017) was an American linguist and businessman, one of the founders of bibliometrics and scientometrics. He helped to create Current Contents, Science Citation Index (SCI), Journal Citation Reports, and Index Chemicus, among others, and founded the magazine The Scientist.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a freely accessible web search engine that indexes the full text or metadata of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines. Released in beta in November 2004, the Google Scholar index includes most peer-reviewed online academic journals and books, conference papers, theses and dissertations, preprints, abstracts, technical reports, and other scholarly literature, including court opinions and patents. While Google does not publish the size of Google Scholar's database, scientometric researchers estimated it to contain roughly 389 million documents including articles, citations and patents making it the world's largest academic search engine in January 2018. Previously, the size was estimated at 160 million documents as of May 2014. Earlier statistical estimate published in PLOS ONE using a Mark and recapture method estimated approximately 80–90% coverage of all articles published in English with an estimate of 100 million. This estimate also determined how many documents were freely available on the web.

Google Scholar has been criticized for not vetting journals and including predatory journals in its index.


The h-index is an author-level metric that attempts to measure both the productivity and citation impact of the publications of a scientist or scholar. The index is based on the set of the scientist's most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received in other publications. The index can also be applied to the productivity and impact of a scholarly journal as well as a group of scientists, such as a department or university or country. The index was suggested in 2005 by Jorge E. Hirsch, a physicist at UC San Diego, as a tool for determining theoretical physicists' relative quality and is sometimes called the Hirsch index or Hirsch number.


Informetrics is the study of quantitative aspects of information. This includes the production, dissemination, and use of all forms of information, regardless of its form or origin. Informetrics encompasses the following fields:

Scientometrics, which studies quantitative aspects of science

Webometrics, which studies quantitative aspects of the World Wide Web

Cybermetrics, which is similar to webometrics, but broadens its definition to include electronic resources

Bibliometrics, which studies quantitative aspects of recorded informationThe term informetrics (French: Informetrie) was coined by Nacke in 1979.In the western world, 20th century's Informetrics is mostly based on Lotka's law, named after Alfred J. Lotka, Zipf's law, named after George Kingsley Zipf, Bradford's law named after Samuel C. Bradford and on the work of Derek J. de Solla Price, Gerard Salton, Leo Egghe, Ronald Rousseau, Tibor Braun, Olle Persson, Peter Ingwersen, Manfred Bonitz, and Eugene Garfield.Quantitative analysis of bibliographic data was pioneered by Robert K. Merton in an article called Science, Technology, and Society in Seventeenth Century England and originally published by Merton in 1938.

International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics

The International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics was founded in 1993 in Berlin at the International Conference on Bibliometrics, Informetrics and Scientometrics. It is an association for professionals in the field of scientometrics.

This conference was the fourth of a series of prominent biennial conferences held under the auspices of the Society. The Society was incorporated in 1994 in the Netherlands (Utrecht); Dr Hildrun Kretschmer was elected its first President. In 2012 Ronald Rousseau is the 7th elected president. Among its members are scientists from over 30 countries.

Journal of Informetrics

The Journal of Informetrics is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal covering research on scientometrics and informetrics. It was established in 2007 by Leo Egghe. The journal is published by Elsevier.

The editor-in-chief was Ludo Waltman (CWTS, Leiden University), until early 2019 when the full editorial board stepped down and founded the rival open-access journal Quantitative Science Studies.

Loet Leydesdorff

Louis André (Loet) Leydesdorff (born 21 August 1948 in Djakarta (Dutch Indies)) is a Dutch sociologist, cyberneticist and Professor in the Dynamics of Scientific Communication and Technological Innovation at the University of Amsterdam. He is known for his work in the sociology of communication and innovation.

Microsoft Academic

Microsoft Academic is a free public web search engine for academic publications and literature, developed by Microsoft Research. Re-launched in 2016, the tool features an entirely new data structure and search engine using semantic search technologies. It currently indexes over 375 million entities, 170 million of which are academic papers. The Academic Knowledge API offers information retrieval from the underlying database using REST endpoints for advanced research purposes.The service replaces the earlier Microsoft research project, Microsoft Academic Search, which ended development in 2012.Preliminary reviews by bibliometricians suggest the new Microsoft Academic Search is a competitor to Google Scholar, Web of Science, and Scopus for academic research purposes as well as citation analysis.

Ordination (statistics)

Ordination or gradient analysis, in multivariate analysis, is a method complementary to data clustering, and used mainly in exploratory data analysis (rather than in hypothesis testing). Ordination orders objects that are characterized by values on multiple variables (multivariate objects) so that similar objects are near each other and dissimilar objects are farther from each other. Such relationships between the objects, on each of several axes (one for each variable), are then characterized numerically and/or graphically. Many ordination techniques exist, including principal components analysis (PCA), non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS), correspondence analysis (CA) and its derivatives (detrended CA (DCA), canonical CA (CCA)), Bray–Curtis ordination, and redundancy analysis (RDA), among others.

Outline of library science

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to library science:

Library science – study of issues related to libraries and the information fields. This includes academic studies regarding how library resources are used and how people interact with library systems. The organization of knowledge for efficient retrieval of relevant information is also a major research goal of library science. Being interdisciplinary, it overlaps with computer science, various social sciences, statistics, and systems analysis. It is also called "library and information science", abbreviated "LIS".

Scientometrics (journal)

Scientometrics is a monthly peer-reviewed academic journal covering the field of scientometrics. It publishes original studies, short communications, review papers, letters to the editor, and book reviews. It is published by Akadémiai Kiadó and Springer Science+Business Media and was established in 1978. Its founder and first editor-in-chief was Tibor Braun.

The central science

Chemistry is often called the central science because of its role in connecting the physical sciences, which include chemistry, with the life sciences and applied sciences such as medicine and engineering. The nature of this relationship is one of the main topics in the philosophy of chemistry and in scientometrics. The phrase was popularized by its use in a textbook by Theodore L. Brown and H. Eugene LeMay, titled Chemistry: The Central Science, which was first published in 1977, with a thirteenth edition published in 2014.The central role of chemistry can be seen in the systematic and hierarchical classification of the sciences by Auguste Comte in which each discipline provides a more general framework for the area it precedes (mathematics → astronomy → physics → chemistry → physiology and medicine → social sciences). Balaban and Klein have more recently proposed a diagram showing partial ordering of sciences in which chemistry may be argued is “the central science” since it provides a significant degree of branching. In forming these connections the lower field cannot be fully reduced to the higher ones. It is recognized that the lower fields possess emergent ideas and concepts that do not exist in the higher fields of science.

Thus chemistry is built on an understanding of laws of physics that govern particles such as atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons, thermodynamics, etc. although it has been shown that it has not been “fully 'reduced' to quantum mechanics”. Concepts such as the periodicity of the elements and chemical bonds in chemistry are emergent in that they are more than the underlying forces that are defined by physics.

In the same way, biology cannot be fully reduced to chemistry despite the fact that the machinery that is responsible for life is composed of molecules. For instance, the machinery of evolution may be described in terms of chemistry by the understanding that it is a mutation in the order of genetic base pairs in the DNA of an organism. However, chemistry cannot fully describe the process since it does not contain concepts such as natural selection that are responsible for driving evolution. Chemistry is fundamental to biology since it provides a methodology for studying and understanding the molecules that compose cells.

Connections made by chemistry are formed through various sub-disciplines that utilize concepts from multiple scientific disciplines. Chemistry and physics are both needed in the areas of physical chemistry, nuclear chemistry, and theoretical chemistry. Chemistry and biology intersect in the areas of biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, molecular biology, chemical biology, molecular genetics, and immunochemistry. Chemistry and the earth sciences intersect in areas like geochemistry and hydrology.

University Ranking by Academic Performance

The University Ranking by Academic Performance, abbreviated as URAP, was developed in the Informatics Institute of Middle East Technical University. Since 2010, it has been publishing annual national and global college and university rankings for top 2000 institutions. The scientometrics measurement of URAP is based on data obtained from the Institute for Scientific Information via Web of Science and inCites. For global rankings, URAP employs indicators of research performance including the number of articles, citation, total documents, article impact total, citation impact total, and international collaboration. In addition to global rankings, URAP publishes regional rankings for universities in Turkey using additional indicators such as the number of students and faculty members obtained from Center of Measuring, Selection and Placement ÖSYM.

University of Lisbon

The University of Lisbon (ULisboa; Portuguese: Universidade de Lisboa, pronounced [univɨɾsiˈdad(ɨ) dɨ liʒˈboɐ]) is a public research university in Lisbon, and the largest university in Portugal. It was founded in 2013, from the merger of two previous public universities located in Lisbon, the former Classical University of Lisbon (1911–2013) and the Technical University of Lisbon (1930–2013). The history of a university in Lisbon dates back to the 13th century.


The science of webometrics (also cybermetrics) tries to measure the World Wide Web to get knowledge about the number and types of hyperlinks, structure of the World Wide Web and usage patterns. According to Björneborn and Ingwersen (2004), the definition of webometrics is "the study of the quantitative aspects of the construction and use of information resources, structures and technologies on the Web drawing on bibliometric and informetric approaches." The term webometrics was first coined by Almind and Ingwersen (1997). A second definition of webometrics has also been introduced, "the study of web-based content with primarily quantitative methods for social science research goals using techniques that are not specific to one field of study" (Thelwall, 2009), which emphasizes the development of applied methods for use in the wider social sciences. The purpose of this alternative definition was to help publicize appropriate methods outside of the information science discipline rather than to replace the original definition within information science.

Similar scientific fields are Bibliometrics, Informetrics, Scientometrics, Virtual ethnography, and Web mining.

One relatively straightforward measure is the "Web Impact Factor" (WIF) introduced by Ingwersen (1998). The WIF measure may be defined as the number of web pages in a web site receiving links from other web sites, divided by the number of web pages published in the site that are accessible to the crawler. However the use of WIF has been disregarded due to the mathematical artifacts derived from power law distributions of these variables. Other similar indicators using size of the institution instead of number of webpages have been proved more useful.


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