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Evaluating the Humanities: Vitalizing ‘the forgotten sciences’

Dr. Alesia Zuccala provides an overview of quantitative studies of the Humanities. How sustainable are the Humanities as an independent field?

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Scholars and university administrators worldwide are concerned about the long-term sustainability of Humanities research, particularly in a time of increasing financial cutbacks and growing policies towards quantifying scholarly achievement (1). The key to sustainability is to develop relevant evaluation methods; however, standards for this are not yet as well established, at least not metrically, as they have been for research in Science and parts of the Social Sciences. At the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (2), a committee designated for the National Plan for the Future of the Humanities suggests that new indicators are part of the solution, and that the Humanities "demand a fairly wide range of quality indicators that will do justice to the diversity of products, target groups, and publishing cultures present within this field" (p. 11). Some scholars believe that evaluators should focus more on "the role and future of the monograph", including "its possible survival in the digital age" (3). Others are convinced that the open access movement will play a significant role, where universities can take responsibility for creating their own databases for Humanities outputs and maintaining them as part of their individual digital repository programs (4, 5). These are the most prevalent issues, and attempts to ease the evaluation ‘crisis’ will not likely succeed without considering how the Humanities have evolved, and how useful it is (or not) to label this field distinct from other research fields.

What are the Humanities?

Rens Bod (6, 7) at the University of Amsterdam has addressed this question in detail in De Vergeten Wetenschappen: Een Geschiedenis van de Humaniora (“The Forgotten Sciences: A History of the Humanities”). According to Bod, there was a long-standing assumption that the Humanities were not considered a separate field of study (i.e., separate from the Sciences) until the nineteenth century. In truth, it was the Italian political philosopher, Giambattista Vico, who first worked out a conceptual distinction between a science of the human and a science of the natural as early as the 1700s. Throughout the fourteenth century there was a branch of thriving disciplines known as the studia humanitatis from which the (early) modern humanistic disciplines emerged. Many changes have occurred since then, and now, if the following question is posed, "What are the Humanities?" Bod says it is like asking St. Augustine to explain the notion of “time”:

“If you don’t ask, we know, but if you ask, we are left empty handed.  Since the nineteenth century the humanities have generally been defined as the disciplines that investigate the expressions of the human mind.  Such expressions can be language, music, art, literature, theatre, poetry, etc. Thus philology, linguistics, musicology and the study of the visual arts all belong to the realm of the humanities, unlike the study of nature, which belongs to the domain of science (such as physics, astronomy, chemistry and biology). Similarly the study of humans in their social context is one of the social sciences (such as sociology, psychology, anthropology and economics). But these definitions are unsatisfactory. Mathematics is to a large extent a product of the human mind, and yet it is not considered a humanistic discipline. A pragmatic stance may be more workable: the humanities are the disciplines that are taught and studied at humanities faculties.  According to this pragmatic ‘definition’, the humanities currently include linguistics, musicology, philology, literary studies, historical disciplines (including art history and archaeology) as well as more recent fields such as film and television studies.  In some countries theology and philosophy are also taught in humanities faculties, whereas in others they are faculties in their own right “(7).

Bod’s historical overview also points to the fact that for many centuries there has been no distinction between the Humanities and Sciences. He even suggests that some of the distinctions that we seek are somewhat artificial. Instead of working towards establishing a distinction, perhaps the more important question to ask is the following: “To what extent can expressions of the human mind, such as language, literature, music and art, be called ‘empirical’ if they are created by people?”

“Indeed products of the humanities have been created by people, but when the products manifest themselves in the form of (collections of) manuscripts, pieces of music, literary works, sculptures, grammar books, plays, poems and paintings, they are obviously just as open as other objects to empirical research and the development of hypotheses. [S]ince Antiquity humanistic material has indeed been exposed to hypotheses and evaluation relating to assumed patterns and interpretations” (7).

There are many reasons for not separating Humanities scholarship from the Sciences. As Bod notes, the Humanities, like the Sciences, possess a memory function. In books, manuscripts, documents, and other forms of record keeping, scholars keep events alive from past to present. The Humanities also have an educational function, which can be and has been passed on from generation to generation. It is in light of their critical interpretive and research function that we need a proper definition, or at least a suitable framework to approach this field in terms of scholarly evaluation. The crux of the evaluation crisis is not our lack of understanding as to why the Humanities are distinct or special compared to the Sciences. It is that we have allowed ourselves to ‘forget’ that the societal, economic and even technological impact of the Humanities has already been very significant throughout history and vastly underestimated (6, 7). With this 'forgetfulness', we seem to have convinced ourselves that the products of Humanities research are not ‘empirical’ enough for objective forms of evaluation. They are, but stakeholders must be prepared to accept the challenge of amassing, standardizing and promoting access to different forms and levels of information, data, and metadata pertaining to these outputs (5).

Bibliographic datasets, citation monitoring and publication trends

Within the bibliometrics community, the Humanities and Sciences have traditionally been regarded as distinct, but here, this distinction arises purely from a ‘citationist’ perspective, where citations, specifically journal citations, reign supreme in evaluation procedures for the Sciences. The Humanities are different, because humanists often disseminate information using media other than journals (8, 9). Some parts of the Humanities function quite similar to the Sciences: for instance, the discipline of Linguistics where it is quite common for scholars to publish regularly in and cite articles in fairly high-impact journals (10, 11). Nevertheless, citation-based indicators pertaining to Humanities journals are not easily compared across all subjects, let alone normalized on the basis of field-specific citation practices.

Elsevier’s Scopus and Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science, providers of the most prolific bibliographic citation indices, have been making significant efforts to increase their coverage of journals for a variety of Humanities subjects. Additional document types such as film reviews, art exhibit reviews, poetry, and prose are also gradually appearing in the Web of Science. Still, bibliometricians are reluctant to use these commercial tools for evaluation purposes, due to the type and quantity of materials covered (see Table 1).

Web of Science 

Arts & Humanities Index

Scopus 

Arts & Humanities Subject Area

Document Type Record Count % Document Type Record Count %
BOOK REVIEW 227,105 40.64 ARTICLE 178,791 56.05
ARTICLE 189,304 33.88 REVIEW 76,733 24.05
EDITORIAL MATERIAL 36,082 6.46 SHORT SURVEY 19,733 6.19
POETRY 25,057 4.48 NOTE 12,042 3.77
ART EXHIBIT REVIEW 11,870 2.12 EDITORIAL 11,989 3.76
LETTER 9,931 1.78 CONFERENCE PAPER 11,577 3.63
REVIEW 6,210 1.11 LETTER 6,724 2.11
OTHER* 53,264 9.53 OTHER** 1,407 0.44
TOTAL 558,823 100.00 TOTAL 318,996 100.00

Table 1 – Overview of Web of Science and Scopus Document Types indexed for the Humanities (2008 – 2012)

*Other (WoS): includes Fiction Creative Prose, News items, Biographical items, Proceedings papers, Book chapters, Scripts, Music Scores  and multiple types of Reviews (Record, Film, Theatre, TV Radio, Music Performance, Dance Performance, etc.)
**Other (Scopus): includes Conference Reviews, Book Reports and Dissertations

Note that book reviews top the rank of all document types processed for the Web of Science Arts & Humanities Index. Journal articles are ranked second, but book reviews clearly play an important role in the scholarly communication system, serving as a gateway to the value of a newly published book (12). Rhetorical notes or ‘cites’ to various parts of a book can be anywhere from bold or subtle at conveying how well it was written, including the reviewer’s judgment of the author's scholarly credibility (13). Book reviews also correspond with how we observe influences in scholarship when we trace patterns of citations. Nicolaisen’s research has shown that books receiving favorable reviews tend to be cited more often in journal articles than books receiving neutral or negative reviews (14).

Today, the prolific nature of book reviews, particularly in History and Literary studies, suggests that the university press monograph is alive and well (15). In 2002, there was in fact some concern over the "death" of the scholarly monograph; thus Thompson carried out an analysis of 6,708 citations (isolated from British and American literary texts) to determine whether or not the truth was evident in current publishing patterns (24). Here, she was able to identify a significant core group of journals and publishers, where university presses were clearly dominant. According to Williams et al. (3) monographs published in the Humanities "are like the main course of a meal; journal articles and other scholarly communication are like tapas” (p. 76). The book or monograph is still also considered a strong requirement for career promotion and tenure (16). For the Humanities scholar it is important that his or her book is taken seriously; that it is published by a prestigious university press; read as widely as possible, reviewed and cited, and purchased by libraries (17).

Since monographs and their citations have not been included as source material in commercial bibliographic indices, researchers have begun to focus on Google as a bibliographic resource. Kousha and Thelwall (18) note that there are substantial numbers of citations to academic books from Google Books and Google Scholar to help evaluate research in book-oriented disciplines. Other scholars have explored the potential of library catalogues for analyses, where an analogy may be created between journal-based citations and library holdings (19, 20, 21). White and his colleagues (21) recently introduced the term ‘libcitation’, which may be seen as an “indictor of perceived cultural benefit” (p. 1087).

Currently, Scopus and Web of Science are focusing on expanding their journal indices to include books and book citations, but there is an element of uncertainty as to how much value will be given to international and multi-language publishing houses. Many works of literary theory and criticism, including texts published in History, are highly regional in character (9). Bibliometric analyses have also shown that few books published in the Humanities will become so ‘canonical’ in status, that they are able to cross regional, linguistic or disciplinary boundaries (22). Will a number of texts be ignored or undervalued because they have more significance in a regional context than they do in a global one?

With the global movement towards open access and digitalization, we can expect greater opportunities to address regional differences in publishing, perhaps by 'normalizing' for these differences, as we do metrically with field-specific citation practices across the Sciences. Publishers such as Cambridge University Press have done well to embrace the digital movement with new products, like University Publishing Online, but e-publishing innovations alone are not enough to provide insight into the Humanities' broader cultural, economic, or societal impacts. What we do know is that books are regularly used by scholars and cited. For instance, in review articles published for literary studies (i.e. Dutch, English, and Catalan), the majority of references are to monographs: citation percentages range from 60% to 90%, with citations from journal article to journal article normally less than 20% (23, 24, 25). What we do not know, or have not done yet, is to objectively measure this concept of regionalism and to determine the validity of 'publisher prestige'. A new project at the University of Amsterdam, supported by the Elsevier Bibliometrics Research Program (EBRP) is currently exploring this topic in depth, by linking monograph titles cited in journals to their publishing houses, and to international library holdings confirmed by WorldCat®.

Given what the open access movement is doing for the Sciences, and the increasing numbers of scientific journal articles now freely available to scientists, it is fair to say that monographs, particularly Humanities monographs, also need to become more accessible. Progress in this regard, including the promise of complementary book indices, like Scopus and the Thomson Reuters' Book Citation Index, can only tell us that the Humanities do not necessarily have to be so different from the Sciences. Clearly, we have just taken too long to observe, collect, and manage most of the relevant outputs associated with this somewhat ‘forgotten’ field.


References

(1) Guillory, J. (2005) “Evaluating scholarship in the humanities: principles and procedures”, ADE Bulletin, Vol. 137, No. pp. 18–33.
(2) Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011) “Quality indicators for research in the humanities”, Interim report by the Committee on Quality Indicators in the Humanities. Available at http://www.knaw.nl/Content/Internet_KNAW/publicaties/pdf/20111024.pdf [Accessed 12 December, 2012]
(3) Williams, P., Stevenson, I., Nicholas, D., Watkinson, A., Rowlands, I. (2009) “The role and future of the monograph in Arts & Humanities research”, Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives, Vol. 61, No. 1, pp. 67-82.
(4) Hicks, D. & Wang, J. (2009) “Towards a bibliometric database for the Social sciences and Humanities”. Available at http://www.dfg.de/download/pdf/foerderung/grundlagen_dfg_foerderung/informationen_ fachwissenschaften/geisteswissenschaften/esf_report_final_100309.pdf [Accessed 12 December, 2012]
(5) Moed, H.F., Linmans, J., Nederhof, A., Zuccala, A., López Illescas, C., de Moya Anegón, F. (2009) “Options for a comprehensive database of research outputs in Social Sciences & Humanities (Version 6)”. Available at http://83.143.5.70/download/pdf/foerderung/grundlagen_dfg_foerderung/informationen_fachwissenschaften/geisteswissenschaften/annex_2_en.pdf. [Accessed 12 December, 2012]
(6) Bod, R. (2010) De vergeten wetenschappen: Een geschiedenis van de Humaniora. Amsterdam: Prometheus.
(7) Bod, R. (2013, in press) A new history of the humanities: The search for principles and patterns from antiquity to the present. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(8) Huang, M-h., Chang, Y-w. (2008) “Characteristics of research output in social sciences and Humanities: from a research evaluation perspective”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 59, No. 11, pp. 1819-1828.
(9) Nederhof, A.J. (2006) “Bibliometric monitoring of research performance in the Social Sciences and the Humanities: A review”, Scientometrics,Vol. 66, No. 1, pp. 81-100.
(10) Nederhof, A.J., Luwel, M., Moed, H.F. (2001) “Assessing the quality of scholarly journals in Linguistics: An alternative to citation-based journal impact factors”, Scientometrics, Vol. 51, No. 1, pp. 241–265.
(11) Zwaan, R. A., Nederhof, A. J. (1990) “Some aspects of scholarly communication in linguistics: An empirical study”, Language, Vol. 66, pp. 523–527.
(12) Lindholm-Romantschuk, Y. (1998) Scholarly book reviewing in the Social Sciences and Humanities. The flow of ideas within and among disciplines. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.
(13) Zuccala, A. (2012) “Quality and influence in literary work: evaluating the ‘educated imagination’”, Research Evaluation, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 229-241.
(14) Nicolaisen, J. (2002) “The scholarliness of published peer reviews: a bibliometric study of book reviews in selected social science fields”, Research Evaluation, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 129-140.
(15) Zuccala, A., van Leeuwen, T. (2011) “Book reviews in humanities research evaluations”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 62, No. 10, pp. 1979-1991.
(16) Cronin, B., La Barre, K. (2004) “Mickey Mouse and Milton: book publishing in the Humanities”, Learned Publishing, Vol. 17, pp. 85-98.
(17) Gump, S.E. (2006) “Prestige and the university press”, Journal of Scholarly Publishing, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 69-85.
(18) Kousha, K., Thelwall, M. (2009) “Google book citation for assessing invisible impact?”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 60, No. 8, pp. 1537-1549.
(19) Linmans, A. J. H. (2010) “Why with bibliometrics the Humanities does not need to be the weakest link. Indicators for research evaluation based on citations, library holdings, and productivity measures”, Scientometrics, Vol. 83, No. 2, pp. 337-354.
(20) Torres-Salinas, D., Moed, H.F. (2009) “Library catalog analysis as a tool in studies of social sciences and humanities: An exploratory study of published book titles in economics”, Journal of Informetrics, Vol. 3, pp. 9–26.
(21) White, H., Boell, S.K, Yu, H., Davis, M., Wilson, C.S., Cole, F.T.H. (2009) “Libcitations: A measure for comparative assessment of book publications in the humanities and social sciences”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 60, No. 6, pp. 1083-1096.
(22) Hammarfelt, B. (2011) “Interdisciplinarity and the intellectual base of literature studies: Citation analysis of highly cited monographs”, Scientometrics, Vol. 86, No. 3, pp. 705–725.
(23) Nederhof, A. J. (1995) “A Bibliometric Study of Literature Projects Funded by the NWO Stichting Literatuurwetenschap”, Report CWTS-95-05, Leiden.
(24) Thompson, J. W. (2002) “The death of the scholarly monograph in the humanities? Citation patterns in literary scholarship”, Libri, Vol. 52, No. 3, 121–136.
(25) Ardanuy, J., Urbano, C., Quintana, L. (2009) “A citation analysis of Catalan literary studies (1974–2003): Towards a bibliometrics of humanistic studies in minority languages”, Scientometrics, Vol. 81, No. 2, 347–366.

 

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Scholars and university administrators worldwide are concerned about the long-term sustainability of Humanities research, particularly in a time of increasing financial cutbacks and growing policies towards quantifying scholarly achievement (1). The key to sustainability is to develop relevant evaluation methods; however, standards for this are not yet as well established, at least not metrically, as they have been for research in Science and parts of the Social Sciences. At the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (2), a committee designated for the National Plan for the Future of the Humanities suggests that new indicators are part of the solution, and that the Humanities "demand a fairly wide range of quality indicators that will do justice to the diversity of products, target groups, and publishing cultures present within this field" (p. 11). Some scholars believe that evaluators should focus more on "the role and future of the monograph", including "its possible survival in the digital age" (3). Others are convinced that the open access movement will play a significant role, where universities can take responsibility for creating their own databases for Humanities outputs and maintaining them as part of their individual digital repository programs (4, 5). These are the most prevalent issues, and attempts to ease the evaluation ‘crisis’ will not likely succeed without considering how the Humanities have evolved, and how useful it is (or not) to label this field distinct from other research fields.

What are the Humanities?

Rens Bod (6, 7) at the University of Amsterdam has addressed this question in detail in De Vergeten Wetenschappen: Een Geschiedenis van de Humaniora (“The Forgotten Sciences: A History of the Humanities”). According to Bod, there was a long-standing assumption that the Humanities were not considered a separate field of study (i.e., separate from the Sciences) until the nineteenth century. In truth, it was the Italian political philosopher, Giambattista Vico, who first worked out a conceptual distinction between a science of the human and a science of the natural as early as the 1700s. Throughout the fourteenth century there was a branch of thriving disciplines known as the studia humanitatis from which the (early) modern humanistic disciplines emerged. Many changes have occurred since then, and now, if the following question is posed, "What are the Humanities?" Bod says it is like asking St. Augustine to explain the notion of “time”:

“If you don’t ask, we know, but if you ask, we are left empty handed.  Since the nineteenth century the humanities have generally been defined as the disciplines that investigate the expressions of the human mind.  Such expressions can be language, music, art, literature, theatre, poetry, etc. Thus philology, linguistics, musicology and the study of the visual arts all belong to the realm of the humanities, unlike the study of nature, which belongs to the domain of science (such as physics, astronomy, chemistry and biology). Similarly the study of humans in their social context is one of the social sciences (such as sociology, psychology, anthropology and economics). But these definitions are unsatisfactory. Mathematics is to a large extent a product of the human mind, and yet it is not considered a humanistic discipline. A pragmatic stance may be more workable: the humanities are the disciplines that are taught and studied at humanities faculties.  According to this pragmatic ‘definition’, the humanities currently include linguistics, musicology, philology, literary studies, historical disciplines (including art history and archaeology) as well as more recent fields such as film and television studies.  In some countries theology and philosophy are also taught in humanities faculties, whereas in others they are faculties in their own right “(7).

Bod’s historical overview also points to the fact that for many centuries there has been no distinction between the Humanities and Sciences. He even suggests that some of the distinctions that we seek are somewhat artificial. Instead of working towards establishing a distinction, perhaps the more important question to ask is the following: “To what extent can expressions of the human mind, such as language, literature, music and art, be called ‘empirical’ if they are created by people?”

“Indeed products of the humanities have been created by people, but when the products manifest themselves in the form of (collections of) manuscripts, pieces of music, literary works, sculptures, grammar books, plays, poems and paintings, they are obviously just as open as other objects to empirical research and the development of hypotheses. [S]ince Antiquity humanistic material has indeed been exposed to hypotheses and evaluation relating to assumed patterns and interpretations” (7).

There are many reasons for not separating Humanities scholarship from the Sciences. As Bod notes, the Humanities, like the Sciences, possess a memory function. In books, manuscripts, documents, and other forms of record keeping, scholars keep events alive from past to present. The Humanities also have an educational function, which can be and has been passed on from generation to generation. It is in light of their critical interpretive and research function that we need a proper definition, or at least a suitable framework to approach this field in terms of scholarly evaluation. The crux of the evaluation crisis is not our lack of understanding as to why the Humanities are distinct or special compared to the Sciences. It is that we have allowed ourselves to ‘forget’ that the societal, economic and even technological impact of the Humanities has already been very significant throughout history and vastly underestimated (6, 7). With this 'forgetfulness', we seem to have convinced ourselves that the products of Humanities research are not ‘empirical’ enough for objective forms of evaluation. They are, but stakeholders must be prepared to accept the challenge of amassing, standardizing and promoting access to different forms and levels of information, data, and metadata pertaining to these outputs (5).

Bibliographic datasets, citation monitoring and publication trends

Within the bibliometrics community, the Humanities and Sciences have traditionally been regarded as distinct, but here, this distinction arises purely from a ‘citationist’ perspective, where citations, specifically journal citations, reign supreme in evaluation procedures for the Sciences. The Humanities are different, because humanists often disseminate information using media other than journals (8, 9). Some parts of the Humanities function quite similar to the Sciences: for instance, the discipline of Linguistics where it is quite common for scholars to publish regularly in and cite articles in fairly high-impact journals (10, 11). Nevertheless, citation-based indicators pertaining to Humanities journals are not easily compared across all subjects, let alone normalized on the basis of field-specific citation practices.

Elsevier’s Scopus and Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science, providers of the most prolific bibliographic citation indices, have been making significant efforts to increase their coverage of journals for a variety of Humanities subjects. Additional document types such as film reviews, art exhibit reviews, poetry, and prose are also gradually appearing in the Web of Science. Still, bibliometricians are reluctant to use these commercial tools for evaluation purposes, due to the type and quantity of materials covered (see Table 1).

Web of Science 

Arts & Humanities Index

Scopus 

Arts & Humanities Subject Area

Document Type Record Count % Document Type Record Count %
BOOK REVIEW 227,105 40.64 ARTICLE 178,791 56.05
ARTICLE 189,304 33.88 REVIEW 76,733 24.05
EDITORIAL MATERIAL 36,082 6.46 SHORT SURVEY 19,733 6.19
POETRY 25,057 4.48 NOTE 12,042 3.77
ART EXHIBIT REVIEW 11,870 2.12 EDITORIAL 11,989 3.76
LETTER 9,931 1.78 CONFERENCE PAPER 11,577 3.63
REVIEW 6,210 1.11 LETTER 6,724 2.11
OTHER* 53,264 9.53 OTHER** 1,407 0.44
TOTAL 558,823 100.00 TOTAL 318,996 100.00

Table 1 – Overview of Web of Science and Scopus Document Types indexed for the Humanities (2008 – 2012)

*Other (WoS): includes Fiction Creative Prose, News items, Biographical items, Proceedings papers, Book chapters, Scripts, Music Scores  and multiple types of Reviews (Record, Film, Theatre, TV Radio, Music Performance, Dance Performance, etc.)
**Other (Scopus): includes Conference Reviews, Book Reports and Dissertations

Note that book reviews top the rank of all document types processed for the Web of Science Arts & Humanities Index. Journal articles are ranked second, but book reviews clearly play an important role in the scholarly communication system, serving as a gateway to the value of a newly published book (12). Rhetorical notes or ‘cites’ to various parts of a book can be anywhere from bold or subtle at conveying how well it was written, including the reviewer’s judgment of the author's scholarly credibility (13). Book reviews also correspond with how we observe influences in scholarship when we trace patterns of citations. Nicolaisen’s research has shown that books receiving favorable reviews tend to be cited more often in journal articles than books receiving neutral or negative reviews (14).

Today, the prolific nature of book reviews, particularly in History and Literary studies, suggests that the university press monograph is alive and well (15). In 2002, there was in fact some concern over the "death" of the scholarly monograph; thus Thompson carried out an analysis of 6,708 citations (isolated from British and American literary texts) to determine whether or not the truth was evident in current publishing patterns (24). Here, she was able to identify a significant core group of journals and publishers, where university presses were clearly dominant. According to Williams et al. (3) monographs published in the Humanities "are like the main course of a meal; journal articles and other scholarly communication are like tapas” (p. 76). The book or monograph is still also considered a strong requirement for career promotion and tenure (16). For the Humanities scholar it is important that his or her book is taken seriously; that it is published by a prestigious university press; read as widely as possible, reviewed and cited, and purchased by libraries (17).

Since monographs and their citations have not been included as source material in commercial bibliographic indices, researchers have begun to focus on Google as a bibliographic resource. Kousha and Thelwall (18) note that there are substantial numbers of citations to academic books from Google Books and Google Scholar to help evaluate research in book-oriented disciplines. Other scholars have explored the potential of library catalogues for analyses, where an analogy may be created between journal-based citations and library holdings (19, 20, 21). White and his colleagues (21) recently introduced the term ‘libcitation’, which may be seen as an “indictor of perceived cultural benefit” (p. 1087).

Currently, Scopus and Web of Science are focusing on expanding their journal indices to include books and book citations, but there is an element of uncertainty as to how much value will be given to international and multi-language publishing houses. Many works of literary theory and criticism, including texts published in History, are highly regional in character (9). Bibliometric analyses have also shown that few books published in the Humanities will become so ‘canonical’ in status, that they are able to cross regional, linguistic or disciplinary boundaries (22). Will a number of texts be ignored or undervalued because they have more significance in a regional context than they do in a global one?

With the global movement towards open access and digitalization, we can expect greater opportunities to address regional differences in publishing, perhaps by 'normalizing' for these differences, as we do metrically with field-specific citation practices across the Sciences. Publishers such as Cambridge University Press have done well to embrace the digital movement with new products, like University Publishing Online, but e-publishing innovations alone are not enough to provide insight into the Humanities' broader cultural, economic, or societal impacts. What we do know is that books are regularly used by scholars and cited. For instance, in review articles published for literary studies (i.e. Dutch, English, and Catalan), the majority of references are to monographs: citation percentages range from 60% to 90%, with citations from journal article to journal article normally less than 20% (23, 24, 25). What we do not know, or have not done yet, is to objectively measure this concept of regionalism and to determine the validity of 'publisher prestige'. A new project at the University of Amsterdam, supported by the Elsevier Bibliometrics Research Program (EBRP) is currently exploring this topic in depth, by linking monograph titles cited in journals to their publishing houses, and to international library holdings confirmed by WorldCat®.

Given what the open access movement is doing for the Sciences, and the increasing numbers of scientific journal articles now freely available to scientists, it is fair to say that monographs, particularly Humanities monographs, also need to become more accessible. Progress in this regard, including the promise of complementary book indices, like Scopus and the Thomson Reuters' Book Citation Index, can only tell us that the Humanities do not necessarily have to be so different from the Sciences. Clearly, we have just taken too long to observe, collect, and manage most of the relevant outputs associated with this somewhat ‘forgotten’ field.


References

(1) Guillory, J. (2005) “Evaluating scholarship in the humanities: principles and procedures”, ADE Bulletin, Vol. 137, No. pp. 18–33.
(2) Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011) “Quality indicators for research in the humanities”, Interim report by the Committee on Quality Indicators in the Humanities. Available at http://www.knaw.nl/Content/Internet_KNAW/publicaties/pdf/20111024.pdf [Accessed 12 December, 2012]
(3) Williams, P., Stevenson, I., Nicholas, D., Watkinson, A., Rowlands, I. (2009) “The role and future of the monograph in Arts & Humanities research”, Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives, Vol. 61, No. 1, pp. 67-82.
(4) Hicks, D. & Wang, J. (2009) “Towards a bibliometric database for the Social sciences and Humanities”. Available at http://www.dfg.de/download/pdf/foerderung/grundlagen_dfg_foerderung/informationen_ fachwissenschaften/geisteswissenschaften/esf_report_final_100309.pdf [Accessed 12 December, 2012]
(5) Moed, H.F., Linmans, J., Nederhof, A., Zuccala, A., López Illescas, C., de Moya Anegón, F. (2009) “Options for a comprehensive database of research outputs in Social Sciences & Humanities (Version 6)”. Available at http://83.143.5.70/download/pdf/foerderung/grundlagen_dfg_foerderung/informationen_fachwissenschaften/geisteswissenschaften/annex_2_en.pdf. [Accessed 12 December, 2012]
(6) Bod, R. (2010) De vergeten wetenschappen: Een geschiedenis van de Humaniora. Amsterdam: Prometheus.
(7) Bod, R. (2013, in press) A new history of the humanities: The search for principles and patterns from antiquity to the present. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(8) Huang, M-h., Chang, Y-w. (2008) “Characteristics of research output in social sciences and Humanities: from a research evaluation perspective”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 59, No. 11, pp. 1819-1828.
(9) Nederhof, A.J. (2006) “Bibliometric monitoring of research performance in the Social Sciences and the Humanities: A review”, Scientometrics,Vol. 66, No. 1, pp. 81-100.
(10) Nederhof, A.J., Luwel, M., Moed, H.F. (2001) “Assessing the quality of scholarly journals in Linguistics: An alternative to citation-based journal impact factors”, Scientometrics, Vol. 51, No. 1, pp. 241–265.
(11) Zwaan, R. A., Nederhof, A. J. (1990) “Some aspects of scholarly communication in linguistics: An empirical study”, Language, Vol. 66, pp. 523–527.
(12) Lindholm-Romantschuk, Y. (1998) Scholarly book reviewing in the Social Sciences and Humanities. The flow of ideas within and among disciplines. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.
(13) Zuccala, A. (2012) “Quality and influence in literary work: evaluating the ‘educated imagination’”, Research Evaluation, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 229-241.
(14) Nicolaisen, J. (2002) “The scholarliness of published peer reviews: a bibliometric study of book reviews in selected social science fields”, Research Evaluation, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 129-140.
(15) Zuccala, A., van Leeuwen, T. (2011) “Book reviews in humanities research evaluations”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 62, No. 10, pp. 1979-1991.
(16) Cronin, B., La Barre, K. (2004) “Mickey Mouse and Milton: book publishing in the Humanities”, Learned Publishing, Vol. 17, pp. 85-98.
(17) Gump, S.E. (2006) “Prestige and the university press”, Journal of Scholarly Publishing, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 69-85.
(18) Kousha, K., Thelwall, M. (2009) “Google book citation for assessing invisible impact?”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 60, No. 8, pp. 1537-1549.
(19) Linmans, A. J. H. (2010) “Why with bibliometrics the Humanities does not need to be the weakest link. Indicators for research evaluation based on citations, library holdings, and productivity measures”, Scientometrics, Vol. 83, No. 2, pp. 337-354.
(20) Torres-Salinas, D., Moed, H.F. (2009) “Library catalog analysis as a tool in studies of social sciences and humanities: An exploratory study of published book titles in economics”, Journal of Informetrics, Vol. 3, pp. 9–26.
(21) White, H., Boell, S.K, Yu, H., Davis, M., Wilson, C.S., Cole, F.T.H. (2009) “Libcitations: A measure for comparative assessment of book publications in the humanities and social sciences”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 60, No. 6, pp. 1083-1096.
(22) Hammarfelt, B. (2011) “Interdisciplinarity and the intellectual base of literature studies: Citation analysis of highly cited monographs”, Scientometrics, Vol. 86, No. 3, pp. 705–725.
(23) Nederhof, A. J. (1995) “A Bibliometric Study of Literature Projects Funded by the NWO Stichting Literatuurwetenschap”, Report CWTS-95-05, Leiden.
(24) Thompson, J. W. (2002) “The death of the scholarly monograph in the humanities? Citation patterns in literary scholarship”, Libri, Vol. 52, No. 3, 121–136.
(25) Ardanuy, J., Urbano, C., Quintana, L. (2009) “A citation analysis of Catalan literary studies (1974–2003): Towards a bibliometrics of humanistic studies in minority languages”, Scientometrics, Vol. 81, No. 2, 347–366.

 

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9th International Conference on Webometrics, Informetrics and Scientometrics (WIS)

&

14th COLLNET Meeting

 

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9th International Conference on Webometrics, Informetrics and Scientometrics (WIS)

&

14th COLLNET Meeting

 

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iConference Workshop 2013

iConference Workshop 2013: Computational Scientometrics: Theory and Applications      

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iConference Workshop 2013: Computational Scientometrics: Theory and Applications

 

 

 

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iConference Workshop 2013: Computational Scientometrics: Theory and Applications

 

 

 

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Reporting Back: Research Evaluation in Practice

A report, by Gali Halevi, on a seminar held at the National Geographic Society on the practical applications of research evaluation methodologies.

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Over a hundred people gathered at the beautiful Grosvenor Auditorium at the National Geographic Society to participate in a day-long seminar on practical applications of research evaluation methodologies. The seminar included diverse perspectives on research evaluation and its implications on funding allocations in industry, government and academic settings. The day opened with a keynote speech by Debra Perez, Assistant Vice President for Research and Evaluation at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As a representative of one of the largest corporate grant giving foundations in America, Dr. Perez focused on the foundation’s research and evaluation work concentrating on public health and health care services. Dr. Perez shared statistics and facts concerning issues of race and economic status relating to health and health care in the Americas, and spoke of the foundation’s funded programs in these areas working towards equality and quality of services for underprivileged and minorities.

A methodological approach to research evaluation was presented by Dr. Henk Moed of Elsevier, who discussed the multifaceted nature of research evaluation. In his presentation, Dr. Moed presented the Multi-Dimensional Research Assessment Matrix, whereby the motivation, purpose and methodologies used for evaluation are taken into consideration. The main premise of the matrix is that one has to consider the why, what, when and how, and choose the correct method for each scenario, before applying any methodology to evaluate the impact of research or a researcher.

An international perspective on the subject was presented by Dr. Marc Luwel from the Hercules Foundation in Belgium. In his talk, Dr. Luwel described the Flemish approach to performance-based (research) funding and its evolution over time. The main motivation for the development of evidence-based research funding was the need to promote excellence and be able to better manage universities working with diminishing resources. To address these challenges, Dr. Luwel described the Flemish development of multi-level indicators, including input-output, JIF, CWTS-crown index, H-index, Review panels and departmental ratings which were aggregated at university level to allocate block funding. These indicators were used in a funding formula that was re-visited and evaluated over the years in order to be able to address changing issues. Following the introductory presentation, Dr. Luwel presented a full case study of the Flemish approach to research evaluation, which was described in detail.

 

Image 1: From left: Dr. Marc Luwel, Managing Director, Flemish Agency for Research Infrastructure 'Hercules Stichting', Dr. John Francis, National Geographic Society, Dr. Abraham Wandersman, Professor, University of South Carolina, Dr. Rebecca Rosen, American Institutes for Research, Dr. Henk Moed, Senior Scientific Advisor, Elsevier

A science of science policy perspective was provided by Dr. Rebecca Rosen from the American Institute of Research (AIR) and a former National Science Foundation (NSF) staff member. Dr. Rosen gave an expansive overview of the work done by AIR and NSF with regards to collecting, analyzing and disseminating science-related data to assist research evaluation and science policy decision makers to reach conclusions in a timely and effective manner. Dr. Rosen gave specific examples of how NSF and AIR approach the data infrastructure challenges and the tools and methodologies built to address them. In addition, Dr. Rosen covered AIR and NSF efforts in the US, France, and Australia to integrate existing administrative, programmatic, and results databases into data platforms that feed novel portfolio visualization tools.

A unique and powerful social science perspective on evaluation was given by Dr. Abraham Wandersman from the University of South Carolina, Columbia. Dr. Wandersman, professor of Psychology, presented the Quality Implementation Tool, developed in order to address the need for an evaluative methodology that stems from empowerment and is goal- and quality-oriented. Dr. Wandersman gave examples of the model’s use in practice as well as an empowerment evaluation example using the Tool. The framework presented by Dr. Wandersman was co-developed by the Center for Disease Control CDC staff and university researchers to bridge the research-practice gap by integrating research-to-practice models with community-centered/practice-centered models.

The day was concluded by Dr. John Francis, the vice president for research, conservation, and exploration at the National Geographic Society (NGS). Dr. Francis described the various research funding grants given by NGS to scientific research and exploration. In addition to the grants NGS provides for basic and field research, Dr. Francis also discussed the various programs run by NGS in schools, colleges and its citizens-participation programs, which aim to connect people with nature and raise awareness for environmental issues around the world.  Dr. Francis focused on the various types of grants offered by NGS and the manner by which each one is evaluated in order to support exploration and discovery, natural and cultural conservation, and groundbreaking scientific fieldwork, all aimed at learning about and protecting our planet.

This seminar offered a comprehensive view of research evaluation and grant making and brought together diverse perspectives from industry, academia and government. Moreover, each presentation during the seminar covered not only different approaches to evaluation but also different practices showcasing topics such as health care, data infrastructure, bibliometrics, algorithms, psychology, and nature, and how each uses evaluative methodologies in practice.

 

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Over a hundred people gathered at the beautiful Grosvenor Auditorium at the National Geographic Society to participate in a day-long seminar on practical applications of research evaluation methodologies. The seminar included diverse perspectives on research evaluation and its implications on funding allocations in industry, government and academic settings. The day opened with a keynote speech by Debra Perez, Assistant Vice President for Research and Evaluation at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As a representative of one of the largest corporate grant giving foundations in America, Dr. Perez focused on the foundation’s research and evaluation work concentrating on public health and health care services. Dr. Perez shared statistics and facts concerning issues of race and economic status relating to health and health care in the Americas, and spoke of the foundation’s funded programs in these areas working towards equality and quality of services for underprivileged and minorities.

A methodological approach to research evaluation was presented by Dr. Henk Moed of Elsevier, who discussed the multifaceted nature of research evaluation. In his presentation, Dr. Moed presented the Multi-Dimensional Research Assessment Matrix, whereby the motivation, purpose and methodologies used for evaluation are taken into consideration. The main premise of the matrix is that one has to consider the why, what, when and how, and choose the correct method for each scenario, before applying any methodology to evaluate the impact of research or a researcher.

An international perspective on the subject was presented by Dr. Marc Luwel from the Hercules Foundation in Belgium. In his talk, Dr. Luwel described the Flemish approach to performance-based (research) funding and its evolution over time. The main motivation for the development of evidence-based research funding was the need to promote excellence and be able to better manage universities working with diminishing resources. To address these challenges, Dr. Luwel described the Flemish development of multi-level indicators, including input-output, JIF, CWTS-crown index, H-index, Review panels and departmental ratings which were aggregated at university level to allocate block funding. These indicators were used in a funding formula that was re-visited and evaluated over the years in order to be able to address changing issues. Following the introductory presentation, Dr. Luwel presented a full case study of the Flemish approach to research evaluation, which was described in detail.

 

Image 1: From left: Dr. Marc Luwel, Managing Director, Flemish Agency for Research Infrastructure 'Hercules Stichting', Dr. John Francis, National Geographic Society, Dr. Abraham Wandersman, Professor, University of South Carolina, Dr. Rebecca Rosen, American Institutes for Research, Dr. Henk Moed, Senior Scientific Advisor, Elsevier

A science of science policy perspective was provided by Dr. Rebecca Rosen from the American Institute of Research (AIR) and a former National Science Foundation (NSF) staff member. Dr. Rosen gave an expansive overview of the work done by AIR and NSF with regards to collecting, analyzing and disseminating science-related data to assist research evaluation and science policy decision makers to reach conclusions in a timely and effective manner. Dr. Rosen gave specific examples of how NSF and AIR approach the data infrastructure challenges and the tools and methodologies built to address them. In addition, Dr. Rosen covered AIR and NSF efforts in the US, France, and Australia to integrate existing administrative, programmatic, and results databases into data platforms that feed novel portfolio visualization tools.

A unique and powerful social science perspective on evaluation was given by Dr. Abraham Wandersman from the University of South Carolina, Columbia. Dr. Wandersman, professor of Psychology, presented the Quality Implementation Tool, developed in order to address the need for an evaluative methodology that stems from empowerment and is goal- and quality-oriented. Dr. Wandersman gave examples of the model’s use in practice as well as an empowerment evaluation example using the Tool. The framework presented by Dr. Wandersman was co-developed by the Center for Disease Control CDC staff and university researchers to bridge the research-practice gap by integrating research-to-practice models with community-centered/practice-centered models.

The day was concluded by Dr. John Francis, the vice president for research, conservation, and exploration at the National Geographic Society (NGS). Dr. Francis described the various research funding grants given by NGS to scientific research and exploration. In addition to the grants NGS provides for basic and field research, Dr. Francis also discussed the various programs run by NGS in schools, colleges and its citizens-participation programs, which aim to connect people with nature and raise awareness for environmental issues around the world.  Dr. Francis focused on the various types of grants offered by NGS and the manner by which each one is evaluated in order to support exploration and discovery, natural and cultural conservation, and groundbreaking scientific fieldwork, all aimed at learning about and protecting our planet.

This seminar offered a comprehensive view of research evaluation and grant making and brought together diverse perspectives from industry, academia and government. Moreover, each presentation during the seminar covered not only different approaches to evaluation but also different practices showcasing topics such as health care, data infrastructure, bibliometrics, algorithms, psychology, and nature, and how each uses evaluative methodologies in practice.

 

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Reporting Back: Research Mobility and Brain Circulation

Gali Halevi reports on a Research Trends seminar held at George Washington University on research mobility.

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On October 9th Research Trends organized a seminar that focused on the current international and local trends in research mobility and its implications on fostering innovation from a Government, Academia and Industry perspective. The seminar attracted deans, policy analysts, researchers, directors, and graduate students, who gathered at George Washington University to hear and discuss the subject with prominent speakers in the field.

Image 1: From left: Mr. James Tonna, VP Sales and Marketing, Elsevier, Mr. Niels Dam, PhD, Regional Sales Director, Elsevier, Dr. Henk Moed, Senior Scientific Advisor, Elsevier, Gali Halevi, PhD, Marketing Director, Elsevier, Mr. Ben Wildavsky, Scholar, Brookings Institute, Dr. Mark Regets, Director, National Science Foundation

Dr. Henk Moed from Elsevier, who conducted extensive research on the subjects of both co-authorship and mobility trends, presented the similarities and differences between the two as can be learned from bibliographic data. Some of his findings included the discovery that political tensions inhibit neither co-authorship nor researcher mobility, as could be found in increased migration and collaborations between them. In addition, his research found close ties between research mobility, geographical proximity and language similarity. This finding opened a discussion regarding the attraction of researchers to centers of excellence and whether that was the motivating factor.

Mr. Ben Wildavsky, the author of the Great Brain Race, answered some of the issues raised during the discussion by emphasizing the fact that research mobility is driven by worldwide phenomena such as the rise in local academic ranking systems and the race to create world class universities that will attract and retain talent. He added that researchers will migrate only when they have good reason to do so, such as going to an exceptional research institute that seeks their expertise or a learning opportunity that can advance their careers. In his presentation, Mr. Wildavsky gave some specific examples of such trends, including Asian university ranking systems and researcher career paths.

Dr. Mark Regets, Project Officer, Science & Engineering Indicators Program at The National Science Foundation, approached the topic from the government R&D point of view, looking at the global capacity for science and technology and showing its rapid growth in most parts of the world. In his presentation Dr. Regets presented data that demonstrated the increased and more complex flows of students, workers, and finances, the increased regional S&T collaboration and links between regions driven by a global labor market for certain research skills.

The seminar’s presentations and discussion concluded with the understanding that the move of scholars from one country to another has far-reaching implications for economics, scientific innovation and progress on both local and international levels. Such mobility influences the creation of entrepreneurial networks that lead to economic growth and scientific discoveries. Student exchange, immigration, pursuing career opportunities and other reasons motivating talent to move from country to country are all contributing to the mobile nature of research and the formation of collaborative networks. This phenomenon has been studied in different ways such as bibliometric research looking at authors’ affiliations and co-authorships, R&D and immigration patterns analysis as well as funding and productivity. This area has gained attention, and research has seen titles that include topics such as research mobility, brain circulation and brain drain among the few found in this context. In order to better direct research mobility and enable migration as a part of the research policy agenda, there is a need to combine different disciplinary methodologies, both qualitative and quantitative. Combining bibliometrics, economics and social sciences can lead to a better understanding of the subject and enable decision makers to create better policy to support talent attraction and retention that will benefit the country as a whole.

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On October 9th Research Trends organized a seminar that focused on the current international and local trends in research mobility and its implications on fostering innovation from a Government, Academia and Industry perspective. The seminar attracted deans, policy analysts, researchers, directors, and graduate students, who gathered at George Washington University to hear and discuss the subject with prominent speakers in the field.

Image 1: From left: Mr. James Tonna, VP Sales and Marketing, Elsevier, Mr. Niels Dam, PhD, Regional Sales Director, Elsevier, Dr. Henk Moed, Senior Scientific Advisor, Elsevier, Gali Halevi, PhD, Marketing Director, Elsevier, Mr. Ben Wildavsky, Scholar, Brookings Institute, Dr. Mark Regets, Director, National Science Foundation

Dr. Henk Moed from Elsevier, who conducted extensive research on the subjects of both co-authorship and mobility trends, presented the similarities and differences between the two as can be learned from bibliographic data. Some of his findings included the discovery that political tensions inhibit neither co-authorship nor researcher mobility, as could be found in increased migration and collaborations between them. In addition, his research found close ties between research mobility, geographical proximity and language similarity. This finding opened a discussion regarding the attraction of researchers to centers of excellence and whether that was the motivating factor.

Mr. Ben Wildavsky, the author of the Great Brain Race, answered some of the issues raised during the discussion by emphasizing the fact that research mobility is driven by worldwide phenomena such as the rise in local academic ranking systems and the race to create world class universities that will attract and retain talent. He added that researchers will migrate only when they have good reason to do so, such as going to an exceptional research institute that seeks their expertise or a learning opportunity that can advance their careers. In his presentation, Mr. Wildavsky gave some specific examples of such trends, including Asian university ranking systems and researcher career paths.

Dr. Mark Regets, Project Officer, Science & Engineering Indicators Program at The National Science Foundation, approached the topic from the government R&D point of view, looking at the global capacity for science and technology and showing its rapid growth in most parts of the world. In his presentation Dr. Regets presented data that demonstrated the increased and more complex flows of students, workers, and finances, the increased regional S&T collaboration and links between regions driven by a global labor market for certain research skills.

The seminar’s presentations and discussion concluded with the understanding that the move of scholars from one country to another has far-reaching implications for economics, scientific innovation and progress on both local and international levels. Such mobility influences the creation of entrepreneurial networks that lead to economic growth and scientific discoveries. Student exchange, immigration, pursuing career opportunities and other reasons motivating talent to move from country to country are all contributing to the mobile nature of research and the formation of collaborative networks. This phenomenon has been studied in different ways such as bibliometric research looking at authors’ affiliations and co-authorships, R&D and immigration patterns analysis as well as funding and productivity. This area has gained attention, and research has seen titles that include topics such as research mobility, brain circulation and brain drain among the few found in this context. In order to better direct research mobility and enable migration as a part of the research policy agenda, there is a need to combine different disciplinary methodologies, both qualitative and quantitative. Combining bibliometrics, economics and social sciences can lead to a better understanding of the subject and enable decision makers to create better policy to support talent attraction and retention that will benefit the country as a whole.

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The Rise of Latin American Science

Research Trends presents a bibliometric investigation by Sarah Huggett on the rise of Latin American Science.

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Latin America is a vibrant, multicultural region, with an estimate of nearly 600 million inhabitants and combined GDP of 6.27 trillion USD PPP. Several of its respective governments have been trying to increase their nation’s international visibility, some of them through growing emphasis on Science, Medicine, & Technology. But how does Latin America fare bibliometrically? Research Trends investigates…

Latin America as a region

From 2000 to 2010, Latin America has seen high growth of more than 9% per year in scholarly output, resulting in a nearly 70% increase in its share of world papers over the same period, to reach just under 4.4% of the world’s annual output of scholarly papers in 2010. Latin American research is growing fast and becoming more visible on a global scale. And this is not the only bibliometrically observed improvement to Latin America’s scholarly output over the last few years: Latin America’s relative citation impact, albeit still under world average, has been improving by 1.6% per year from 2000-2010, from about 70% of world average in 2000 to more than four fifths in 2010 (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Latin America’s annual share of total scholarly papers and 5-year relative citation impact, for which 2010 refers to 2006-2010 scholarly papers and their 2006-2010 citations with world average at 1 (Source: Scopus).

Scholarly paper share:
Share of the world’s output of scholarly papers published in a given year.

5-year relative impact:
Relative measure of citation impact (number of citations divided by number of papers) for which 2010 refers to 2006-2010 scholarly papers and their 2006-2010 citations.


In which subject fields do Latin America’s strengths lie?

In certain subject areas, Latin America’s share of world scholarly articles is even more sizeable. For Dentistry, it is nearly 10%, and for Agricultural & Biological Sciences, nearly 11%, while for Veterinary it reaches an even higher 12%. These prolific areas have been increasing in relative citation impact from 2000-2010, from 1% per year for Dentistry (very close to the world average, which was 0.97 in 2010) to 3% per year for Agricultural & Biological Sciences (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Annual share of total scholarly papers and 5-year relative citation impact, for which 2010 refers to 2006-2010 scholarly papers and their 2006-2010 citations with world average at 1, for subject areas with paper share equal to or higher than 9.9% in 2010 (Source: Scopus).


Which Latin American countries are leading the rise?

Latin America is composed of numerous countries of various sizes, each with their own particular attitude and programs towards R&D; as a consequence, the scientific output of each country varies wildly. For instance, while researchers based in Honduras published 58 papers in 2010, researchers based in Brazil published nearly 38,000, reaching 2.3% in 2010. The only other two Latin American countries with more than 0.5% of total world scholarly papers in 2010 are Mexico with just under 0.7% and Argentina with just above 0.5%. These countries have also been improving their citation impact: Brazil by 1.3% per year from 2000 to2010 to reach 0.75 in 2010, Mexico by 1.8% to reach 0.81 in 2010, and Argentina by a higher 2.5% per year, nearly reaching the world average at 0.9 in 2010 (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Annual share of total scholarly papers and 5-year relative citation impact, for which 2010 refers to 2006-2010 scholarly papers and their 2006-2010 citations with world average at 1, for countries with paper share higher than 0.5% in 2010 (Source: Scopus).


Brazil: emphasis on Health Sciences

The sheer size of Brazil in terms of population, and recent investments in Brazilian R&D at both national and international levels, can explain the prolificacy of Brazilian science. Indeed, in 2010, Brazil accounts for more than half of Latin America’s output in scholarly papers (52.7%). In some areas related to Health Sciences, Brazil’s scholarly paper share actually soars to around 70% of Latin America’s output, although their citation impact remains inferior to that of Latin America as a whole. Researchers based in Brazil publish, for instance, nearly 71% of Latin America’s papers in Dentistry, but their research only reaches 80% of the global Latin American research in that area (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: Brazil’s annual share of Latin America scholarly papers and 5-year relative citation impact, for which 2010 refers to 2006-2010 scholarly papers and their 2006-2010 citations with Latin America’s average at 1, for subject areas with paper share equal to or higher than 65% in 2010 (Source: Scopus).


Mexico: focus on Physical Sciences

Mexico’s investment in R&D may appear modest compared to Brazil’s, but in 2010 this country contributed 16% of the overall Latin American research output. Physical Sciences appear to be a priority for Mexico, as illustrated by the Large Millimeter Telescope. In some areas of Physical Sciences, including Physics and Astronomy, it is reaching more than 22% of Latin America’s scholarly papers; however in none of these areas does its citation impact equal that of Latin America as a whole (see Figure 5).

Figure 5: Mexico’s annual share of Latin America scholarly papers and 5-year relative citation impact, for which 2010 refers to 2006-2010 scholarly papers and their 2006-2010 citations with Latin America’s average at 1, for subject areas with paper share equal to or higher than 22% in 2010 (Source: Scopus).


Argentina: well distributed outputs

Argentina’s R&D expenditures may appear limited, yet in 2010 it managed to publish nearly 12% of Latin America’s scholarly paper output. Interestingly, its highest article shares of Latin America’s output are in varied areas spanning from the Physical and Life Sciences to the Arts & Humanities. In Earth and Planetary Science, it publishes over 17% of Latin America’s papers in 2010, although these only reach three quarters of the citation impact in that area for Latin America. In Arts and Humanities, Chemical Engineering, Earth and Planetary Science, and Immunology and Microbiology, it not only reaches over 15% of Latin America’s research, but in these areas Argentina’s citation impact is above that of Latin America as a whole (see Figure 6).

Figure 6: Argentina’s annual share of Latin America scholarly papers and 5-year relative citation impact, for which 2010 refers to 2006-2010 scholarly papers and their 2006-2010 citations with Latin America’s average at 1, for subject areas with paper share equal to or higher than 15.5% in 2010 (Source: Scopus).


The Future of Latin American Science?

As a region Latin America has become a visible actor in global research through increases in both article share and relative citation impact. The diversity of Latin American countries is reflected through the various R&D strategies adopted by the different countries composing it. As demonstrated by Brazil, size does matter, and international investments can make a real difference to a country’s scholarly output. Mexico shows how a focus in a particular area can increase output. Both countries are, however, beaten to the post in terms of relative impact by Argentina, which manages to reach above Latin America’s average in specific and varied subject areas. All three countries illustrate that different priorities and strategies can lead to different, yet successful outcomes – perhaps this is the way forward for Latin America and the patchwork of countries composing it.

 

 

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Latin America is a vibrant, multicultural region, with an estimate of nearly 600 million inhabitants and combined GDP of 6.27 trillion USD PPP. Several of its respective governments have been trying to increase their nation’s international visibility, some of them through growing emphasis on Science, Medicine, & Technology. But how does Latin America fare bibliometrically? Research Trends investigates…

Latin America as a region

From 2000 to 2010, Latin America has seen high growth of more than 9% per year in scholarly output, resulting in a nearly 70% increase in its share of world papers over the same period, to reach just under 4.4% of the world’s annual output of scholarly papers in 2010. Latin American research is growing fast and becoming more visible on a global scale. And this is not the only bibliometrically observed improvement to Latin America’s scholarly output over the last few years: Latin America’s relative citation impact, albeit still under world average, has been improving by 1.6% per year from 2000-2010, from about 70% of world average in 2000 to more than four fifths in 2010 (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Latin America’s annual share of total scholarly papers and 5-year relative citation impact, for which 2010 refers to 2006-2010 scholarly papers and their 2006-2010 citations with world average at 1 (Source: Scopus).

Scholarly paper share:
Share of the world’s output of scholarly papers published in a given year.

5-year relative impact:
Relative measure of citation impact (number of citations divided by number of papers) for which 2010 refers to 2006-2010 scholarly papers and their 2006-2010 citations.


In which subject fields do Latin America’s strengths lie?

In certain subject areas, Latin America’s share of world scholarly articles is even more sizeable. For Dentistry, it is nearly 10%, and for Agricultural & Biological Sciences, nearly 11%, while for Veterinary it reaches an even higher 12%. These prolific areas have been increasing in relative citation impact from 2000-2010, from 1% per year for Dentistry (very close to the world average, which was 0.97 in 2010) to 3% per year for Agricultural & Biological Sciences (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Annual share of total scholarly papers and 5-year relative citation impact, for which 2010 refers to 2006-2010 scholarly papers and their 2006-2010 citations with world average at 1, for subject areas with paper share equal to or higher than 9.9% in 2010 (Source: Scopus).


Which Latin American countries are leading the rise?

Latin America is composed of numerous countries of various sizes, each with their own particular attitude and programs towards R&D; as a consequence, the scientific output of each country varies wildly. For instance, while researchers based in Honduras published 58 papers in 2010, researchers based in Brazil published nearly 38,000, reaching 2.3% in 2010. The only other two Latin American countries with more than 0.5% of total world scholarly papers in 2010 are Mexico with just under 0.7% and Argentina with just above 0.5%. These countries have also been improving their citation impact: Brazil by 1.3% per year from 2000 to2010 to reach 0.75 in 2010, Mexico by 1.8% to reach 0.81 in 2010, and Argentina by a higher 2.5% per year, nearly reaching the world average at 0.9 in 2010 (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Annual share of total scholarly papers and 5-year relative citation impact, for which 2010 refers to 2006-2010 scholarly papers and their 2006-2010 citations with world average at 1, for countries with paper share higher than 0.5% in 2010 (Source: Scopus).


Brazil: emphasis on Health Sciences

The sheer size of Brazil in terms of population, and recent investments in Brazilian R&D at both national and international levels, can explain the prolificacy of Brazilian science. Indeed, in 2010, Brazil accounts for more than half of Latin America’s output in scholarly papers (52.7%). In some areas related to Health Sciences, Brazil’s scholarly paper share actually soars to around 70% of Latin America’s output, although their citation impact remains inferior to that of Latin America as a whole. Researchers based in Brazil publish, for instance, nearly 71% of Latin America’s papers in Dentistry, but their research only reaches 80% of the global Latin American research in that area (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: Brazil’s annual share of Latin America scholarly papers and 5-year relative citation impact, for which 2010 refers to 2006-2010 scholarly papers and their 2006-2010 citations with Latin America’s average at 1, for subject areas with paper share equal to or higher than 65% in 2010 (Source: Scopus).


Mexico: focus on Physical Sciences

Mexico’s investment in R&D may appear modest compared to Brazil’s, but in 2010 this country contributed 16% of the overall Latin American research output. Physical Sciences appear to be a priority for Mexico, as illustrated by the Large Millimeter Telescope. In some areas of Physical Sciences, including Physics and Astronomy, it is reaching more than 22% of Latin America’s scholarly papers; however in none of these areas does its citation impact equal that of Latin America as a whole (see Figure 5).

Figure 5: Mexico’s annual share of Latin America scholarly papers and 5-year relative citation impact, for which 2010 refers to 2006-2010 scholarly papers and their 2006-2010 citations with Latin America’s average at 1, for subject areas with paper share equal to or higher than 22% in 2010 (Source: Scopus).


Argentina: well distributed outputs

Argentina’s R&D expenditures may appear limited, yet in 2010 it managed to publish nearly 12% of Latin America’s scholarly paper output. Interestingly, its highest article shares of Latin America’s output are in varied areas spanning from the Physical and Life Sciences to the Arts & Humanities. In Earth and Planetary Science, it publishes over 17% of Latin America’s papers in 2010, although these only reach three quarters of the citation impact in that area for Latin America. In Arts and Humanities, Chemical Engineering, Earth and Planetary Science, and Immunology and Microbiology, it not only reaches over 15% of Latin America’s research, but in these areas Argentina’s citation impact is above that of Latin America as a whole (see Figure 6).

Figure 6: Argentina’s annual share of Latin America scholarly papers and 5-year relative citation impact, for which 2010 refers to 2006-2010 scholarly papers and their 2006-2010 citations with Latin America’s average at 1, for subject areas with paper share equal to or higher than 15.5% in 2010 (Source: Scopus).


The Future of Latin American Science?

As a region Latin America has become a visible actor in global research through increases in both article share and relative citation impact. The diversity of Latin American countries is reflected through the various R&D strategies adopted by the different countries composing it. As demonstrated by Brazil, size does matter, and international investments can make a real difference to a country’s scholarly output. Mexico shows how a focus in a particular area can increase output. Both countries are, however, beaten to the post in terms of relative impact by Argentina, which manages to reach above Latin America’s average in specific and varied subject areas. All three countries illustrate that different priorities and strategies can lead to different, yet successful outcomes – perhaps this is the way forward for Latin America and the patchwork of countries composing it.

 

 

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International scientific migration analysis generates new insights

In this article Gali Halevi and Dr. Henk F. Moed describe researchers’ migration trends and co-authorship patterns, and some of the similarities and differences between the two.

Read more >


Introduction

Scientific networks, collaboration and exchange have been the center of attention in numerous research articles and conferences’ discussions. For example, publications on the topic of “brain drain” have grown from 34 in 2000 to over 100 in 2011. The main reason for the increased interest in these topics has been the premise that these types of exchanges benefit scientific progress in that they foster innovation, and enhance and enable the flow of ideas between scientists in different institutions (1), (2), (3). In addition to the actual growth of science and scientific activity, there has been much effort to show that such progress benefits the economy through a line of investigation tying basic research to patents production.

Bibliometrics took a main methodological role in the studies of co-authorship and its results as indicators of collaborative trends by using affiliation information embedded in the bibliographic data of publications. In addition to the ability to track and sketch scientific collaborations between institutions, the availability of author profiles (now also through ORCID) and their affiliation information in Scopus™ has also made possible the tracking of scientific migration from country to country (4), (5), (6). Such information is of immense value to our ability to study research migration and use it as a way to inform science policy and track the formation of research excellence centers as they draw domestic and international talent to their doors.

This article describes researchers’ migration trends between 17 countries (see Table 1) and sketches some of its major trends. In addition, it looks at co-authorship patterns and describes the similarities and differences between these two phenomena in order to examine the unique patterns that both these lines of investigation offer and the ways in which each can be used as a way to shed some light on the formation of science excellence in different areas of the world.


The model

In order to study migration patterns, we have defined a specific model for the analysis, in which the move of researchers from one country to another can be more easily tracked. Since bibliometric methods are used, the connection between the theoretical construct and the bibliometric one is specified (see Table 1).

Theoretical Concept / Interpretation Bibiometric Constructs
Researcher Scopus Author id
Active Researcher Publishing year
Currently Active Researcher Publishing in 2011-2012
Researcher starting a scientific career during years 2001-2002 First publication appears in 2001-2002
“Young” researcher in 2011 First publication year >2000
Migrating Researcher (from country A to B) Publishing author’s “work” country changes from A to B

Table 1: Conceptual premises and their bibliometric constructs

Data

We collected the research output of 17 countries, among which 10 are considered growing countries (noted in red) and 7 are considered as established (noted in blue), from different regions in the world (see Table 2). For each country, the research output for 2000-2012 was collected.

D8 EU BRIC Other
EGYPT ROMANIA BRAZIL THAILAND
IRAN PORTUGAL CHINA
MALAYSIA INDIA AUSTRALIA
PAKISTAN GERMANY JAPAN
ITALY USA
NETHERLANDS
UK

Table 2: Countries included in the study

In order to trace the movements of researchers from one country to another, we used the unique Author ID offered by Scopus™ as a way to identify individual authors. In Scopus™, the affiliations associated with an author through their publications are kept and become a part of the unique author profile constructed within Scopus. This allows for an analysis of migration, as one can identify in which institution and country an author has published. Moreover, the fact that the affiliation is tracked per author allows for a comparison between co-authorship and migration, and enables the distinction between the two as separate indicators of areas of collaboration vs. mobility.


Results: migration towards USA

Using the synchronous approach, analyzing the 2011 publications published by authors from a particular study country and including authors who started their careers from 2001 to 2010, we were able to trace the strengths of migration between various countries. For example, in Figure 1, there are three levels of migration trends to the USA. The strongest migration levels can be seen from countries listed in the inner circle, such as China, Canada, India, UK, Australia, and others, as denoted in the red lines closest to the center (within the green circle). Moving further away from the center and denoting less migration to the USA are countries such as Iran, Mexico, Singapore, Turkey, Ireland, Poland, and others. Still, one can see clearly that there is a significant amount of migration from these countries, as the middle circle denotes stronger migration than the outer circle, which includes countries such as Malaysia, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Romania and so forth.

Figure 1: Migration to the USA

Migration versus co-authorship

The connections between geographical areas of collaboration and migration can be clearly viewed by plotting the higher co-authorship / migration ratio countries on a network map.  Figure 2 shows links between pairs of countries on the basis of the ratio of the percentage of authors migrating from one country to another and the percentage of co-authorships between the two countries. It only shows links for which this ratio exceeds 1.2. In other words, the map shows which pairs of countries demonstrate a migration relationship that is at least 20 per cent stronger than expected on the basis of their level of co-authorship. In this map, notice the role that China plays as a hub for migration and collaboration between Singapore and Taiwan, connecting them to the USA and the UK. Again, in this map one can see the major countries scientifically engaged with the USA and also attracted to it in terms of migration, such as China, India, Brazil, Japan, UK, but also Iran, Turkey, Thailand, Romania, Bangladesh, and others. Pockets of migration-collaboration can also be seen between Malaysia - Nigeria and Iraq; Romania - Belgium and Hungary, Italy - Switzerland and Argentina, Iran - Australia, Azerbaijan, Netherlands, UK, Canada, France, Japan and USA.

Figure 2: Map of countries with the ratio migration/collaboration > 1.2

Discussion

Our study of 17 countries has shown that there is a difference between co-authorship and migration trends. From the data available it is apparent that common language and geographical proximity drive international migration more strongly than it drives co-authorships. In addition, it seems that political tensions do not present a barrier to collaboration and migration when it comes to scientific publications. This can be seen in the relatively high ratio of co-authorship and migration between Iran and the USA, India and Pakistan. There are some interesting patterns in the types of migrations emerging from this line of investigation. Some countries tend to show more temporary migration patterns as researchers move to a different country to complete an academic degree or residency but return to their origin country to continue their career and subsequent publications. This type of migration supports the development of the country’s professional skills levels and infrastructure and this type of exchange seems to be increasing. Furthermore, declining patterns of researchers leaving their country on a permanent basis can also be found at the opposite side of the spectrum.

Conclusions

Using a bibliometric approach to analyze affiliations within articles and the ability to systematically attribute them to unique authors’ profiles enables the study of migration and co-authorships trends. Research migration analysis clearly has different patterns than co-authorship’s and generates new insights into the global scientific network, as it can potentially create a breeding ground for future international collaboration. Both ‘brain drain’ and ‘building up scientific infrastructure’ are visible in the data, but cannot always be separated.

Caution must be applied when analyzing authors’ profiles in the way described in this article, as they do sometimes contain errors that could distort the results. However, it should be noted that such error in this study is minor since relative indicators based on large numbers are insensitive to errors in author profiles.

References

(1) Baruffaldi, S. H., & Landoni, P. (2012) “Return mobility and scientific productivity of researchers working abroad: The role of home country linkages”, Research Policy, Vol. 41, No. 9, pp. 1655-1665.
(2) Biondo, A. E. (2012) “What's up after brain drain? Sometimes, somewhere, someone comes back: A general model of return migration”, International Review of Economics, Vol. 59, No. 3, pp. 269-284.
(3) Di Maria, C., & Lazarova, E. A. (2012) “Migration, human capital formation, and growth: An empirical investigation”, World Development, Vol. 40, No. 5, pp. 938-955.
(4) Plume, A. (2012) “The evolution of brain drain and its measurement: Part I”, Research Trends, Issue 26, January 2012, https://www.researchtrends.com/issue26-january-2012/the-evolution-of-brain-drain-and-its-measurement-part-i/.
(5) Plume, A. (2012) “The evolution of brain drain and its measurement: Part II”, Research Trends, Issue 27, March 2012, https://www.researchtrends.com/issue-27-march-2012/the-evolution-of-brain-drain-and-its-measurement-part-ii/.
(6) Aisati, M., Plume, A & Moed, H.F., “International Scientific Migration Balances”. In: Archambault, E., Gingras, Y. & Larivière, V. (2012) Proceedings of 17th International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators, Montréal: Science-Metrix and OST, http://sticonference.org/index.php?page=proc.
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Introduction

Scientific networks, collaboration and exchange have been the center of attention in numerous research articles and conferences’ discussions. For example, publications on the topic of “brain drain” have grown from 34 in 2000 to over 100 in 2011. The main reason for the increased interest in these topics has been the premise that these types of exchanges benefit scientific progress in that they foster innovation, and enhance and enable the flow of ideas between scientists in different institutions (1), (2), (3). In addition to the actual growth of science and scientific activity, there has been much effort to show that such progress benefits the economy through a line of investigation tying basic research to patents production.

Bibliometrics took a main methodological role in the studies of co-authorship and its results as indicators of collaborative trends by using affiliation information embedded in the bibliographic data of publications. In addition to the ability to track and sketch scientific collaborations between institutions, the availability of author profiles (now also through ORCID) and their affiliation information in Scopus™ has also made possible the tracking of scientific migration from country to country (4), (5), (6). Such information is of immense value to our ability to study research migration and use it as a way to inform science policy and track the formation of research excellence centers as they draw domestic and international talent to their doors.

This article describes researchers’ migration trends between 17 countries (see Table 1) and sketches some of its major trends. In addition, it looks at co-authorship patterns and describes the similarities and differences between these two phenomena in order to examine the unique patterns that both these lines of investigation offer and the ways in which each can be used as a way to shed some light on the formation of science excellence in different areas of the world.


The model

In order to study migration patterns, we have defined a specific model for the analysis, in which the move of researchers from one country to another can be more easily tracked. Since bibliometric methods are used, the connection between the theoretical construct and the bibliometric one is specified (see Table 1).

Theoretical Concept / Interpretation Bibiometric Constructs
Researcher Scopus Author id
Active Researcher Publishing year
Currently Active Researcher Publishing in 2011-2012
Researcher starting a scientific career during years 2001-2002 First publication appears in 2001-2002
“Young” researcher in 2011 First publication year >2000
Migrating Researcher (from country A to B) Publishing author’s “work” country changes from A to B

Table 1: Conceptual premises and their bibliometric constructs

Data

We collected the research output of 17 countries, among which 10 are considered growing countries (noted in red) and 7 are considered as established (noted in blue), from different regions in the world (see Table 2). For each country, the research output for 2000-2012 was collected.

D8 EU BRIC Other
EGYPT ROMANIA BRAZIL THAILAND
IRAN PORTUGAL CHINA
MALAYSIA INDIA AUSTRALIA
PAKISTAN GERMANY JAPAN
ITALY USA
NETHERLANDS
UK

Table 2: Countries included in the study

In order to trace the movements of researchers from one country to another, we used the unique Author ID offered by Scopus™ as a way to identify individual authors. In Scopus™, the affiliations associated with an author through their publications are kept and become a part of the unique author profile constructed within Scopus. This allows for an analysis of migration, as one can identify in which institution and country an author has published. Moreover, the fact that the affiliation is tracked per author allows for a comparison between co-authorship and migration, and enables the distinction between the two as separate indicators of areas of collaboration vs. mobility.


Results: migration towards USA

Using the synchronous approach, analyzing the 2011 publications published by authors from a particular study country and including authors who started their careers from 2001 to 2010, we were able to trace the strengths of migration between various countries. For example, in Figure 1, there are three levels of migration trends to the USA. The strongest migration levels can be seen from countries listed in the inner circle, such as China, Canada, India, UK, Australia, and others, as denoted in the red lines closest to the center (within the green circle). Moving further away from the center and denoting less migration to the USA are countries such as Iran, Mexico, Singapore, Turkey, Ireland, Poland, and others. Still, one can see clearly that there is a significant amount of migration from these countries, as the middle circle denotes stronger migration than the outer circle, which includes countries such as Malaysia, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Romania and so forth.

Figure 1: Migration to the USA

Migration versus co-authorship

The connections between geographical areas of collaboration and migration can be clearly viewed by plotting the higher co-authorship / migration ratio countries on a network map.  Figure 2 shows links between pairs of countries on the basis of the ratio of the percentage of authors migrating from one country to another and the percentage of co-authorships between the two countries. It only shows links for which this ratio exceeds 1.2. In other words, the map shows which pairs of countries demonstrate a migration relationship that is at least 20 per cent stronger than expected on the basis of their level of co-authorship. In this map, notice the role that China plays as a hub for migration and collaboration between Singapore and Taiwan, connecting them to the USA and the UK. Again, in this map one can see the major countries scientifically engaged with the USA and also attracted to it in terms of migration, such as China, India, Brazil, Japan, UK, but also Iran, Turkey, Thailand, Romania, Bangladesh, and others. Pockets of migration-collaboration can also be seen between Malaysia - Nigeria and Iraq; Romania - Belgium and Hungary, Italy - Switzerland and Argentina, Iran - Australia, Azerbaijan, Netherlands, UK, Canada, France, Japan and USA.

Figure 2: Map of countries with the ratio migration/collaboration > 1.2

Discussion

Our study of 17 countries has shown that there is a difference between co-authorship and migration trends. From the data available it is apparent that common language and geographical proximity drive international migration more strongly than it drives co-authorships. In addition, it seems that political tensions do not present a barrier to collaboration and migration when it comes to scientific publications. This can be seen in the relatively high ratio of co-authorship and migration between Iran and the USA, India and Pakistan. There are some interesting patterns in the types of migrations emerging from this line of investigation. Some countries tend to show more temporary migration patterns as researchers move to a different country to complete an academic degree or residency but return to their origin country to continue their career and subsequent publications. This type of migration supports the development of the country’s professional skills levels and infrastructure and this type of exchange seems to be increasing. Furthermore, declining patterns of researchers leaving their country on a permanent basis can also be found at the opposite side of the spectrum.

Conclusions

Using a bibliometric approach to analyze affiliations within articles and the ability to systematically attribute them to unique authors’ profiles enables the study of migration and co-authorships trends. Research migration analysis clearly has different patterns than co-authorship’s and generates new insights into the global scientific network, as it can potentially create a breeding ground for future international collaboration. Both ‘brain drain’ and ‘building up scientific infrastructure’ are visible in the data, but cannot always be separated.

Caution must be applied when analyzing authors’ profiles in the way described in this article, as they do sometimes contain errors that could distort the results. However, it should be noted that such error in this study is minor since relative indicators based on large numbers are insensitive to errors in author profiles.

References

(1) Baruffaldi, S. H., & Landoni, P. (2012) “Return mobility and scientific productivity of researchers working abroad: The role of home country linkages”, Research Policy, Vol. 41, No. 9, pp. 1655-1665.
(2) Biondo, A. E. (2012) “What's up after brain drain? Sometimes, somewhere, someone comes back: A general model of return migration”, International Review of Economics, Vol. 59, No. 3, pp. 269-284.
(3) Di Maria, C., & Lazarova, E. A. (2012) “Migration, human capital formation, and growth: An empirical investigation”, World Development, Vol. 40, No. 5, pp. 938-955.
(4) Plume, A. (2012) “The evolution of brain drain and its measurement: Part I”, Research Trends, Issue 26, January 2012, https://www.researchtrends.com/issue26-january-2012/the-evolution-of-brain-drain-and-its-measurement-part-i/.
(5) Plume, A. (2012) “The evolution of brain drain and its measurement: Part II”, Research Trends, Issue 27, March 2012, https://www.researchtrends.com/issue-27-march-2012/the-evolution-of-brain-drain-and-its-measurement-part-ii/.
(6) Aisati, M., Plume, A & Moed, H.F., “International Scientific Migration Balances”. In: Archambault, E., Gingras, Y. & Larivière, V. (2012) Proceedings of 17th International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators, Montréal: Science-Metrix and OST, http://sticonference.org/index.php?page=proc.
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FORCE11 Gains Momentum Creating the Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship

Anita de Waard and Maryann Martone discuss the background and aims of FORCE11, dedicated to advancing scholarly communication and e-scholarship.

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Scientists, scholars, publishers, and librarians in many locations and disciplines are developing methods and tools to improve the process of creation, reviewing and/or editing of scholarly content, working on technologies and techniques to interpret, visualize, or connect (scientific) knowledge more effectively. They are formulating concepts, tools, standards, and techniques for sharing multimodal research data. These developments are currently taking place in disparate and disconnected domains, including Computational Linguistics, Bioinformatics, Information Science, the semantic web and data technologies in general, Social Sciences, and computer-human interface studies. It is apparent to publishers and scholars alike that the future holds radical and disruptive changes in both the nature and form of the transmission of scholarly reports. What has largely been missing, however, is a forum where these diverse groups can discuss how they are working to effect these changes, and develop a common platform to communicate, collaborate and co-develop new architectures, models, and modes of working; in short – to invent the future as a distributed collective.

FORCE11 is an international group representing scholars from various disciplines, librarians, archivists, publishers, and research funders, developing an understanding of the problems and potential surrounding scholarly communication by means of information technology. The activities of this group grew out of a series of workshops held in 2011, Beyond the PDF (held in January 2011 in San Diego) and the Dagstuhl Workshop for the Future of Research Communications, the outcomes of which were reflected in the research agenda presented in the FORCE11 Manifesto (1).

The FORCE11 Manifesto lays out the vision and motivation for FORCE11 along with a potential agenda for focusing activities of FORCE11. In this article, we will first summarize the key proposals from this paper and then discuss our current and future activities.

 

Key Proposals from the Manifesto:

Define new publishable objects:

To date, online versions of ‘scholarly outputs’ have tended to replicate print forms, rather than exploit the additional functionalities afforded by the digital terrain. We believe that digital publishing of enhanced papers will enable more effective scholarly communication.

Our vision entails creating a new, enriched form of scholarly publication that enables the creation and management of relationships between knowledge, claims and data. In this vision, the journal article or research paper is rapidly being replaced as the standard unit of currency by which knowledge is exchanged: it becomes but one among many forms. In the most generic sense, the new form of knowledge exchange centers on the research object - a container for a number of related digital objects - for example a paper with associated datasets, workflows, software packages, etc., that are all the products of a research investigation and that together encapsulate some new understanding. Publishing of research objects is not necessarily publishing as we know it today, achieved by the same mechanisms as used for traditional scholarly articles. It consists of providing free and open access to the component parts of the research object, which may or may not have been individually reviewed by others either pre- or post-publication.

There is a temporal aspect to research and the scholarly lifecycle that also needs to be recorded, either within research objects or between research objects, and that should also be capable of being reproduced. This means the creation of a knowledge infrastructure that allows the sharing of computationally executable components, such as workflows, computer code and statistical calculations, as scientifically valid content components; and an infrastructure that allows these components to be made accessible, reviewed, referenced and attributed.


Collate innovative publishing tools:

Developing the tools to support these new modes, if undertaken from scratch, would be an immense undertaking. Thus, where possible, existing tools should be adapted and integrated within a newly opened and increasingly integrated infrastructure. This change is likely to occur gradually through a series of incremental steps, most of which will not be driven by the technology. Rather, the technology should respond to the recognized requirements of scientists for improved dissemination, reproducibility, recognition, etc. Efforts at archiving, retrieving and citing digital research objects in standardized ways should be closely linked with open data and open-source software publication approaches, and should converge on common standards and practices. Citations to datasets and other digital research objects within publications should be treated on a par with the current treatment of bibliographic citations. Citations to these in the text should be made with a standard reference mark (in-text reference pointer) and the full reference should be given in the reference list of the publication, using a resolvable globally unique identifier (URL, DOI, HDL). Additionally, a formal semantic representation of the metadata into semantic data standards such as OWL and RDF, describing these research objects, their provenance, their relationships to and citations of one another, etc., would be very useful and is now achievable.


Treat data as a first-class object:

We have to develop best practices for depositing research datasets in repositories that enable linking to relevant documents, and that have high compliance levels driven by appropriate incentives, resources and policies. In addition, for scientific domains, the new forms of publication must facilitate reproducibility of results, which means, at least for in silico research, the ability to preserve and re-perform executable workflows or services. This will require the ability to re-construct the context in which these objects were executed, which may well contain or reference other executable objects as well as data objects that may evolve through time. In this way, the content of communications about research will follow the same evolutionary path that we have seen for general web content: a move from the static to the increasingly dynamic.


Collectively develop new business models:

Current business models for scholarly publication face significant disruption due to many factors: the growth in open access, the advent of alternative publication platforms that exploit new technologies for inexpensive communication and information exchange over the internet, a widening view of what constitutes a publishable research object (e.g. data, workflows), and the challenges of curating, linking and preserving the wider world of digital research objects. Furthermore, it is anticipated that the overall funds dedicated to scholarly communication may well become more restricted in future, at least on a per researcher basis. Both the major customers (research libraries) and brokers (currently, publishers) have an interest in being an active party in shaping the transition to new, sustainable business models, to ensure that the transition is a smooth one.

In a collaboration involving scholars, publishers, libraries, funding agencies, and academic institutions, we need to develop models that can enable this exciting future to develop, while offering sustainable forms of existence for the constituent parties, although perhaps not in their present states. To be financially viable, new communication modes will need to demonstrate tangible value to both producers and consumers. To be sustainable, the cost recovery streams will need to be aligned to perceived value. The changes we envisage pave the way for a revolution in the manner in which research is carried out and communicated, leading to significant improvements in scholarly productivity and quality, and enhanced transparency. In collaboratively reinventing science publishing, we hope to increase the public trust in and access to the value and outputs of science, and draw new participants into our endeavors; quite possibly the greatest challenge we face within Science as well as the Arts and Humanities.

Explore new metrics of impact:

To obtain the benefits that networked knowledge promises, we have to put in place reward systems that encourage scholars and researchers to participate and contribute. We need to acknowledge the fact that notions such as journal impact factor are mere surrogates for measuring the true impact of scholarship, and are increasingly irrelevant in a world of disaggregated knowledge units of vastly varying granularity (2). We need to derive new mechanisms that allow us more accurately to measure true contributions to the ongoing enterprise of augmenting the world’s store of knowledge.  Measuring impact is complex because it depends on context, on purpose, and on audience. It can have different effects for different individuals. Similarly, a communication can have different degrees and even polarities of effect. For example, a research paper might be simplified and published by newspapers to make headline news with great societal impact, but be roundly criticized or even ignored by academic colleagues. To address these issues, better mechanisms of measurement need to be put in place, that allow for different types of impact and influence. A multi-dimensional measurement instrument would be useful. It needs to be customizable for specific situations and individuals and it must be easy to use both for the individual academic and for the reviewer or decision-maker.


Current work and next steps

This agenda is ambitious, but progress - at least on some fronts - has been rapid. In the spring of 2012, a one-year grant was awarded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to the FORCE11 group, led by Phil Bourne of UCSD, to achieve three goals:

  • Development of a web platform to allow virtual communication and tool building for accelerating change in science publishing and increasing the community that participates in this process;
  • Stimulate collaboration on the creation of a series of exemplars to further explore the key points proposed in the FORCE11 Manifesto;
  • Organize another workshop to bring together an ever-growing community of tool builders, scientists, publishers, librarians, funders, and other interested parties to discuss these matters.

Six months into this process, we are actively driving this agenda (lead by Executive Director Maryann Martone) and are pushing this agenda on all three fronts:

  • What started as a simple website has now evolved into a distributed, Drupal-based collection of modules, containing blogs, access to a wide catalog of tools, websites and other resources, a calendar and set of links, and several other virtual community components.
  • The next workshop, ‘Beyond the PDF 2’, is scheduled for March 18-20, 2013, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (see http://force11.org/beyondthepdf2 for more details). The goal is to make this a ‘future-centric workshop’ that allows active virtual participation through webinars, online demos, and real-time social media interactions.
  • We are developing concepts for exemplars to showcase the wide variety that is currently ongoing inside and around FORCE11 themes.

From the time the Manifesto was produced to now, new tools have been developed and existing ones matured. Exciting new developments appear daily and we hope that many of these will be in evidence in the next Beyond the PDF conference. But we admit that replacing a system that is so intertwined with the evaluation and advancement of academia will not be easy or swift.

We wish to invite anyone interested to join us in this endeavor by signing up as members on http://force11.org, attending the workshop in Holland, either virtually or in person, or by starting a discussion and looking for partners to define new projects that address the issues we have identified or other related matters pertaining to the future of research communications and e-Scholarship. If we get this right, the potential is immense. We greatly look forward to hearing your comments and ideas, and welcome you to join us, by signing up as a member at http://force11.org, or contacting us directly.

Anita de Waard, Elsevier Labs, FORCE11 Executive Board Member – a.dewaard@elsevier.com

Maryann E. Martone, UCSD/NIF, FORCE11 Executive Director - maryann@ncmir.ucsd.edu

 

References

(1) FORCE11 (2012) “Force11 Manifesto”, Available at http://www.FORCE11.org/white_paper

(2) See e.g. Lozano, G.A., Lariviere, V. & Gingras, Y. (2012) “The weakening relationship between the Impact Factor and papers’ citations in the digital age”, Available at http://arxiv.org/abs/1205.4328

About the authors

Anita de Waard has a background in experimental physics, which she studied in Leiden and Moscow. She joined Elsevier as a physics publisher in 1988 and has been working as Disruptive Technology Director within the Labs division of Elsevier since 1997. Her work focuses on establishing active research collaborations with key academic institutes in Europe and the US and as such, she has co-organised the ‘Beyond the PDF’ and ‘Force11’ workshops and instigated Elsevier’s Grand Challenge and the Executable Papers challenge. Her research interests include implementing standards and cross-disciplinary frameworks for sharing annotations and content. Next to that, she conducts research in collaboration with the University of Utrecht, pertaining to a discourse analysis on key rhetorical components in scientific text.

Maryann Martone received her BA from Wellesley College in biological psychology and her Ph. D. in neuroscience in 1990 from the University of California, San Diego, where she is currently a Professor in the Department of Neuroscience. She is the-principal investigator of the Neuroinformatics Framework project, a national project to establish a uniform resource description framework for neuroscience.  Her recent work has focused on building ontologies for neuroscience for data integration. She just completed her tenure as the US scientific representative to the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF), where she still heads to program on ontologies. Dr. Martone recently joined FORCE11, an organization dedicated to advancing scholarly communication and e-scholarship, as Executive Director.  She serves as Co-Editor in Chief of Brain and Behavior, a new open access journal for brain-related research.

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Scientists, scholars, publishers, and librarians in many locations and disciplines are developing methods and tools to improve the process of creation, reviewing and/or editing of scholarly content, working on technologies and techniques to interpret, visualize, or connect (scientific) knowledge more effectively. They are formulating concepts, tools, standards, and techniques for sharing multimodal research data. These developments are currently taking place in disparate and disconnected domains, including Computational Linguistics, Bioinformatics, Information Science, the semantic web and data technologies in general, Social Sciences, and computer-human interface studies. It is apparent to publishers and scholars alike that the future holds radical and disruptive changes in both the nature and form of the transmission of scholarly reports. What has largely been missing, however, is a forum where these diverse groups can discuss how they are working to effect these changes, and develop a common platform to communicate, collaborate and co-develop new architectures, models, and modes of working; in short – to invent the future as a distributed collective.

FORCE11 is an international group representing scholars from various disciplines, librarians, archivists, publishers, and research funders, developing an understanding of the problems and potential surrounding scholarly communication by means of information technology. The activities of this group grew out of a series of workshops held in 2011, Beyond the PDF (held in January 2011 in San Diego) and the Dagstuhl Workshop for the Future of Research Communications, the outcomes of which were reflected in the research agenda presented in the FORCE11 Manifesto (1).

The FORCE11 Manifesto lays out the vision and motivation for FORCE11 along with a potential agenda for focusing activities of FORCE11. In this article, we will first summarize the key proposals from this paper and then discuss our current and future activities.

 

Key Proposals from the Manifesto:

Define new publishable objects:

To date, online versions of ‘scholarly outputs’ have tended to replicate print forms, rather than exploit the additional functionalities afforded by the digital terrain. We believe that digital publishing of enhanced papers will enable more effective scholarly communication.

Our vision entails creating a new, enriched form of scholarly publication that enables the creation and management of relationships between knowledge, claims and data. In this vision, the journal article or research paper is rapidly being replaced as the standard unit of currency by which knowledge is exchanged: it becomes but one among many forms. In the most generic sense, the new form of knowledge exchange centers on the research object - a container for a number of related digital objects - for example a paper with associated datasets, workflows, software packages, etc., that are all the products of a research investigation and that together encapsulate some new understanding. Publishing of research objects is not necessarily publishing as we know it today, achieved by the same mechanisms as used for traditional scholarly articles. It consists of providing free and open access to the component parts of the research object, which may or may not have been individually reviewed by others either pre- or post-publication.

There is a temporal aspect to research and the scholarly lifecycle that also needs to be recorded, either within research objects or between research objects, and that should also be capable of being reproduced. This means the creation of a knowledge infrastructure that allows the sharing of computationally executable components, such as workflows, computer code and statistical calculations, as scientifically valid content components; and an infrastructure that allows these components to be made accessible, reviewed, referenced and attributed.


Collate innovative publishing tools:

Developing the tools to support these new modes, if undertaken from scratch, would be an immense undertaking. Thus, where possible, existing tools should be adapted and integrated within a newly opened and increasingly integrated infrastructure. This change is likely to occur gradually through a series of incremental steps, most of which will not be driven by the technology. Rather, the technology should respond to the recognized requirements of scientists for improved dissemination, reproducibility, recognition, etc. Efforts at archiving, retrieving and citing digital research objects in standardized ways should be closely linked with open data and open-source software publication approaches, and should converge on common standards and practices. Citations to datasets and other digital research objects within publications should be treated on a par with the current treatment of bibliographic citations. Citations to these in the text should be made with a standard reference mark (in-text reference pointer) and the full reference should be given in the reference list of the publication, using a resolvable globally unique identifier (URL, DOI, HDL). Additionally, a formal semantic representation of the metadata into semantic data standards such as OWL and RDF, describing these research objects, their provenance, their relationships to and citations of one another, etc., would be very useful and is now achievable.


Treat data as a first-class object:

We have to develop best practices for depositing research datasets in repositories that enable linking to relevant documents, and that have high compliance levels driven by appropriate incentives, resources and policies. In addition, for scientific domains, the new forms of publication must facilitate reproducibility of results, which means, at least for in silico research, the ability to preserve and re-perform executable workflows or services. This will require the ability to re-construct the context in which these objects were executed, which may well contain or reference other executable objects as well as data objects that may evolve through time. In this way, the content of communications about research will follow the same evolutionary path that we have seen for general web content: a move from the static to the increasingly dynamic.


Collectively develop new business models:

Current business models for scholarly publication face significant disruption due to many factors: the growth in open access, the advent of alternative publication platforms that exploit new technologies for inexpensive communication and information exchange over the internet, a widening view of what constitutes a publishable research object (e.g. data, workflows), and the challenges of curating, linking and preserving the wider world of digital research objects. Furthermore, it is anticipated that the overall funds dedicated to scholarly communication may well become more restricted in future, at least on a per researcher basis. Both the major customers (research libraries) and brokers (currently, publishers) have an interest in being an active party in shaping the transition to new, sustainable business models, to ensure that the transition is a smooth one.

In a collaboration involving scholars, publishers, libraries, funding agencies, and academic institutions, we need to develop models that can enable this exciting future to develop, while offering sustainable forms of existence for the constituent parties, although perhaps not in their present states. To be financially viable, new communication modes will need to demonstrate tangible value to both producers and consumers. To be sustainable, the cost recovery streams will need to be aligned to perceived value. The changes we envisage pave the way for a revolution in the manner in which research is carried out and communicated, leading to significant improvements in scholarly productivity and quality, and enhanced transparency. In collaboratively reinventing science publishing, we hope to increase the public trust in and access to the value and outputs of science, and draw new participants into our endeavors; quite possibly the greatest challenge we face within Science as well as the Arts and Humanities.

Explore new metrics of impact:

To obtain the benefits that networked knowledge promises, we have to put in place reward systems that encourage scholars and researchers to participate and contribute. We need to acknowledge the fact that notions such as journal impact factor are mere surrogates for measuring the true impact of scholarship, and are increasingly irrelevant in a world of disaggregated knowledge units of vastly varying granularity (2). We need to derive new mechanisms that allow us more accurately to measure true contributions to the ongoing enterprise of augmenting the world’s store of knowledge.  Measuring impact is complex because it depends on context, on purpose, and on audience. It can have different effects for different individuals. Similarly, a communication can have different degrees and even polarities of effect. For example, a research paper might be simplified and published by newspapers to make headline news with great societal impact, but be roundly criticized or even ignored by academic colleagues. To address these issues, better mechanisms of measurement need to be put in place, that allow for different types of impact and influence. A multi-dimensional measurement instrument would be useful. It needs to be customizable for specific situations and individuals and it must be easy to use both for the individual academic and for the reviewer or decision-maker.


Current work and next steps

This agenda is ambitious, but progress - at least on some fronts - has been rapid. In the spring of 2012, a one-year grant was awarded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to the FORCE11 group, led by Phil Bourne of UCSD, to achieve three goals:

  • Development of a web platform to allow virtual communication and tool building for accelerating change in science publishing and increasing the community that participates in this process;
  • Stimulate collaboration on the creation of a series of exemplars to further explore the key points proposed in the FORCE11 Manifesto;
  • Organize another workshop to bring together an ever-growing community of tool builders, scientists, publishers, librarians, funders, and other interested parties to discuss these matters.

Six months into this process, we are actively driving this agenda (lead by Executive Director Maryann Martone) and are pushing this agenda on all three fronts:

  • What started as a simple website has now evolved into a distributed, Drupal-based collection of modules, containing blogs, access to a wide catalog of tools, websites and other resources, a calendar and set of links, and several other virtual community components.
  • The next workshop, ‘Beyond the PDF 2’, is scheduled for March 18-20, 2013, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (see http://force11.org/beyondthepdf2 for more details). The goal is to make this a ‘future-centric workshop’ that allows active virtual participation through webinars, online demos, and real-time social media interactions.
  • We are developing concepts for exemplars to showcase the wide variety that is currently ongoing inside and around FORCE11 themes.

From the time the Manifesto was produced to now, new tools have been developed and existing ones matured. Exciting new developments appear daily and we hope that many of these will be in evidence in the next Beyond the PDF conference. But we admit that replacing a system that is so intertwined with the evaluation and advancement of academia will not be easy or swift.

We wish to invite anyone interested to join us in this endeavor by signing up as members on http://force11.org, attending the workshop in Holland, either virtually or in person, or by starting a discussion and looking for partners to define new projects that address the issues we have identified or other related matters pertaining to the future of research communications and e-Scholarship. If we get this right, the potential is immense. We greatly look forward to hearing your comments and ideas, and welcome you to join us, by signing up as a member at http://force11.org, or contacting us directly.

Anita de Waard, Elsevier Labs, FORCE11 Executive Board Member – a.dewaard@elsevier.com

Maryann E. Martone, UCSD/NIF, FORCE11 Executive Director - maryann@ncmir.ucsd.edu

 

References

(1) FORCE11 (2012) “Force11 Manifesto”, Available at http://www.FORCE11.org/white_paper

(2) See e.g. Lozano, G.A., Lariviere, V. & Gingras, Y. (2012) “The weakening relationship between the Impact Factor and papers’ citations in the digital age”, Available at http://arxiv.org/abs/1205.4328

About the authors

Anita de Waard has a background in experimental physics, which she studied in Leiden and Moscow. She joined Elsevier as a physics publisher in 1988 and has been working as Disruptive Technology Director within the Labs division of Elsevier since 1997. Her work focuses on establishing active research collaborations with key academic institutes in Europe and the US and as such, she has co-organised the ‘Beyond the PDF’ and ‘Force11’ workshops and instigated Elsevier’s Grand Challenge and the Executable Papers challenge. Her research interests include implementing standards and cross-disciplinary frameworks for sharing annotations and content. Next to that, she conducts research in collaboration with the University of Utrecht, pertaining to a discourse analysis on key rhetorical components in scientific text.

Maryann Martone received her BA from Wellesley College in biological psychology and her Ph. D. in neuroscience in 1990 from the University of California, San Diego, where she is currently a Professor in the Department of Neuroscience. She is the-principal investigator of the Neuroinformatics Framework project, a national project to establish a uniform resource description framework for neuroscience.  Her recent work has focused on building ontologies for neuroscience for data integration. She just completed her tenure as the US scientific representative to the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF), where she still heads to program on ontologies. Dr. Martone recently joined FORCE11, an organization dedicated to advancing scholarly communication and e-scholarship, as Executive Director.  She serves as Co-Editor in Chief of Brain and Behavior, a new open access journal for brain-related research.

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The Language of (Future) Scientific Communication

This article presents a short study examining the use of languages other than English in Scientific Communication.

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English is generally considered to be the lingua franca of the scientific community. For example, roughly 80% of all the journals indexed in Scopus are published in English. The adoption of English as the universal language of science is due in part to historical political and economic factors which favored English over other potential candidate languages such as Chinese, French, German, Russian, or Spanish (1), (2), (3). Indeed, German was actually the favored language in scholarly communication for the first part of the 20th century (4). However, although English is now clearly established as the main language of international scientific communication, researchers continue to publish their work in other languages than English as well. Furthermore, research suggests that the extent to which researchers still publish in their native language, as opposed to English, differs across the disciplines. They seem to be more likely to publish in languages other than English within the Social Sciences, Applied Sciences and Humanities, than in the natural, theoretical and hard sciences (1), (2). This article reports on a short study using Scopus data to determine (a) whether the use of languages other than English for scientific communication is increasing or decreasing, and (b) in which subject fields researchers publish most when publishing in their native languages instead of in English.


The preferred language of publication

In an earlier issue of Research Trends, we published a brief article on the use of English as the international language of science from 1996 to 2007 (3). Results of that study indicated that researchers were more likely to publish their work in English than in their native language in most of the Western European countries included in the sample. The ratio for English to Dutch and English to Italian publications was particularly high, compared to those of the other countries in the study (German, France, Spain and the Russian Federation). However, please note that Scopus covers non-English language journals only if they include English article titles and abstracts. We decided to replicate this analysis, to determine whether this trend has continued in these countries over the past four years.

As in the earlier study (3) published in 2008, the ratios of the number of journal articles published in English and in each country’s official language are presented in Figure 1. We chose to extend the analysis to include Brazil and China in addition to the 6 countries included in the original analysis, as these are considered rising research economies. This is confirmed by the fact that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for articles indexed in Scopus between 1996 and 2011 from Brazil was 13% and China 19%, which is far greater than the 3 to 5% CAGR that is usually expected.

Figure 1 shows that, in line with the original study, the use of English has continued to rise strongly in the Netherlands, Italy and the Russian Federation over the past four years. It has also increased somewhat in Germany, but remained relatively stable in France, Spain and China. However, in Brazil, the ratio between the use of English and Portuguese is clearly decreasing, although this might be due in part to an increase in the coverage of Brazilian journals published in Portuguese instead of English in Scopus. However, overall, the use of English clearly continues to increase over time.

 

Figure 1: Ratio of the number of journal articles published by researchers in English to those in the official language of eight different countries, 1996–2011 (Source: Scopus).


Subject specific use of English?

The next question is whether there are subject fields in which researchers still publish regularly in their own language instead of in English. To answer this question, a general search was carried out in Scopus to determine the number of articles published in each of the selected languages between 1996 and 2011. The languages included in the search were the same as those presented in Figure 1, with the addition of English, so a comparison could be made between English and the other languages.

Table 1 provides an overview of the percentage of articles published in the four main categories per language, as a percentage of the total publication output in that language from 1996 to 2011.

“Hard” Sciences “Soft” Sciences Multi-disciplinary
& Undefined
Language Life Sciences Physical Sciences Health Sciences Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities
English 23.4 44.7 19.5 10.7 1.7
Chinese 8.7 72.5 13.0 2.9 2.9
Dutch 14.9 3.2 52.3 26.1 3.5
French 8.6 16.3 36.4 36.5 2.3
German 7.3 34.5 32.5 23.5 2.2
Italian 4.7 12.1 38.6 40.6 4.0
Portuguese 26.1 11.5 38.4 22.1 1.9
Russian 17.2 45.0 21.0 8.4 8.4
Spanish 10.8 13.2 44.4 29.6 2.0

Table 1: Overview of the percentage of articles published in the four main categories per language, as a percentage of the total publication output in that language from 1996 to 2011.

The results indicate that researchers publishing in English, Chinese or Russian tend to publish most in fields related to the ‘harder’ Physical and Life Sciences, such as Physics, Engineering and Materials Science. On the other hand, researchers who choose to publish in Dutch, French, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish tend to publish their work most in fields related to the ‘softer’ sciences, such as the Health Sciences, Social Sciences, Psychology and Arts and Humanities. This ranges from almost 80 percent for the Netherlands and Italy to roughly 60 percent for Germany and Portugal. Although these ranges are similar across countries, there is a high level of variation in the actual fields within these main categories. For example more than half of all Dutch language publications are related to Health Sciences, which includes Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Veterinary Science, while in Italian nearly 41 percent of all publications are related to Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities.

Overall, these results appear to confirm that researchers publishing in languages other than English tend to do so somewhat more in the softer disciplines than in the harder ones (1), (2). Although English clearly continues to be the preferred language of scientific communication, there are still plenty of disciplines within which researchers continue to publish in their native language as well.

References

(1) Tardy, C. (2004) “The role of English in scientific communication: lingua franca or Tyrannosaurus rex?”, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 247–269.
(2) Kirchik, O., Gingras, Y., & Larivière, V. (2012) “Changes in publication languages and citation practices and their effect on the scientific impact of Russian science (1993–2010)”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 63, No. 7, pages 1411–1419. DOI: 10.1002/asi.22642
(3) Research Trends (2008) “English as the international language of science”, Research Trends, Issue 6, July 2008.
(4) Schmidhuber, J. (2010) “Evolution of National Nobel Prize Shares in the 20th Century”, Posted September 14, 2010, Available at: [arXiv:1009.2634v1] [Accessed 30 October 2012]
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English is generally considered to be the lingua franca of the scientific community. For example, roughly 80% of all the journals indexed in Scopus are published in English. The adoption of English as the universal language of science is due in part to historical political and economic factors which favored English over other potential candidate languages such as Chinese, French, German, Russian, or Spanish (1), (2), (3). Indeed, German was actually the favored language in scholarly communication for the first part of the 20th century (4). However, although English is now clearly established as the main language of international scientific communication, researchers continue to publish their work in other languages than English as well. Furthermore, research suggests that the extent to which researchers still publish in their native language, as opposed to English, differs across the disciplines. They seem to be more likely to publish in languages other than English within the Social Sciences, Applied Sciences and Humanities, than in the natural, theoretical and hard sciences (1), (2). This article reports on a short study using Scopus data to determine (a) whether the use of languages other than English for scientific communication is increasing or decreasing, and (b) in which subject fields researchers publish most when publishing in their native languages instead of in English.


The preferred language of publication

In an earlier issue of Research Trends, we published a brief article on the use of English as the international language of science from 1996 to 2007 (3). Results of that study indicated that researchers were more likely to publish their work in English than in their native language in most of the Western European countries included in the sample. The ratio for English to Dutch and English to Italian publications was particularly high, compared to those of the other countries in the study (German, France, Spain and the Russian Federation). However, please note that Scopus covers non-English language journals only if they include English article titles and abstracts. We decided to replicate this analysis, to determine whether this trend has continued in these countries over the past four years.

As in the earlier study (3) published in 2008, the ratios of the number of journal articles published in English and in each country’s official language are presented in Figure 1. We chose to extend the analysis to include Brazil and China in addition to the 6 countries included in the original analysis, as these are considered rising research economies. This is confirmed by the fact that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for articles indexed in Scopus between 1996 and 2011 from Brazil was 13% and China 19%, which is far greater than the 3 to 5% CAGR that is usually expected.

Figure 1 shows that, in line with the original study, the use of English has continued to rise strongly in the Netherlands, Italy and the Russian Federation over the past four years. It has also increased somewhat in Germany, but remained relatively stable in France, Spain and China. However, in Brazil, the ratio between the use of English and Portuguese is clearly decreasing, although this might be due in part to an increase in the coverage of Brazilian journals published in Portuguese instead of English in Scopus. However, overall, the use of English clearly continues to increase over time.

 

Figure 1: Ratio of the number of journal articles published by researchers in English to those in the official language of eight different countries, 1996–2011 (Source: Scopus).


Subject specific use of English?

The next question is whether there are subject fields in which researchers still publish regularly in their own language instead of in English. To answer this question, a general search was carried out in Scopus to determine the number of articles published in each of the selected languages between 1996 and 2011. The languages included in the search were the same as those presented in Figure 1, with the addition of English, so a comparison could be made between English and the other languages.

Table 1 provides an overview of the percentage of articles published in the four main categories per language, as a percentage of the total publication output in that language from 1996 to 2011.

“Hard” Sciences “Soft” Sciences Multi-disciplinary
& Undefined
Language Life Sciences Physical Sciences Health Sciences Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities
English 23.4 44.7 19.5 10.7 1.7
Chinese 8.7 72.5 13.0 2.9 2.9
Dutch 14.9 3.2 52.3 26.1 3.5
French 8.6 16.3 36.4 36.5 2.3
German 7.3 34.5 32.5 23.5 2.2
Italian 4.7 12.1 38.6 40.6 4.0
Portuguese 26.1 11.5 38.4 22.1 1.9
Russian 17.2 45.0 21.0 8.4 8.4
Spanish 10.8 13.2 44.4 29.6 2.0

Table 1: Overview of the percentage of articles published in the four main categories per language, as a percentage of the total publication output in that language from 1996 to 2011.

The results indicate that researchers publishing in English, Chinese or Russian tend to publish most in fields related to the ‘harder’ Physical and Life Sciences, such as Physics, Engineering and Materials Science. On the other hand, researchers who choose to publish in Dutch, French, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish tend to publish their work most in fields related to the ‘softer’ sciences, such as the Health Sciences, Social Sciences, Psychology and Arts and Humanities. This ranges from almost 80 percent for the Netherlands and Italy to roughly 60 percent for Germany and Portugal. Although these ranges are similar across countries, there is a high level of variation in the actual fields within these main categories. For example more than half of all Dutch language publications are related to Health Sciences, which includes Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Veterinary Science, while in Italian nearly 41 percent of all publications are related to Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities.

Overall, these results appear to confirm that researchers publishing in languages other than English tend to do so somewhat more in the softer disciplines than in the harder ones (1), (2). Although English clearly continues to be the preferred language of scientific communication, there are still plenty of disciplines within which researchers continue to publish in their native language as well.

References

(1) Tardy, C. (2004) “The role of English in scientific communication: lingua franca or Tyrannosaurus rex?”, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 247–269.
(2) Kirchik, O., Gingras, Y., & Larivière, V. (2012) “Changes in publication languages and citation practices and their effect on the scientific impact of Russian science (1993–2010)”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 63, No. 7, pages 1411–1419. DOI: 10.1002/asi.22642
(3) Research Trends (2008) “English as the international language of science”, Research Trends, Issue 6, July 2008.
(4) Schmidhuber, J. (2010) “Evolution of National Nobel Prize Shares in the 20th Century”, Posted September 14, 2010, Available at: [arXiv:1009.2634v1] [Accessed 30 October 2012]
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