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. 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.
Modern scientometrics is mostly based on the work of Derek J. de Solla Price and Eugene Garfield. The latter created the Science Citation Index 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. While the sociology of science focused on the behavior of scientists, scientometrics focused on the analysis of publications. Accordingly, scientometrics is also referred to as the scientific and empirical study of science and its outcomes.
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).
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.
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 establishing faculty productivity and tenure standards, assessing the influence of top scholarly articles, and developing profiles of top authors and institutions in terms of research performance
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. The International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics founded in 1993 is an association of professionals in the field.
References and footnotes
- 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)
- De Solla Price, D., editorial statement. Scientometrics Volume 1, Issue 1 (1978)
- 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
- 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZQIDkA-ke0&feature=youtu.be.
- 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.
- Lane, J (2009). "Assessing the Impact of Science Funding". Science. 324.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- "Journal of Informetrics".
- Harnad, S. (2009). "Open Access Scientometrics and the UK Research Assessment Exercise". Scientometrics. 79 (1): 147–156. arXiv:cs/0703131
- Harnad, S (2008). "Validating Research Performance Metrics Against Peer Rankings". Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics. 8 (11).
- The Places & Spaces: Mapping Science exhibit at the American Museum of Science and Energy, September 7, 2007 – January 7, 2008.