Advanced bibliometric methods as quantitative core of peer review based evaluation and foresight exercises
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- van Raan, A.F.J. Scientometrics (1996) 36: 397. doi:10.1007/BF02129602
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This paper gives an overview of the potentials and limitations of bibliometric methods for the assessment of strengths and weaknesses in research performance, and for monitoring scientific developments. We distinguish two different methods. In the first application, research performance assessment, the bibliometric method is based on advanced analysis of publication and citation data. We show that the resulting indicators are very useful, and in fact an indispensable element next to peer review in research evaluation procedures. Indicators based on advanced bibliometric methods offer much more than ‘only numbers’. They provide insight into the position of actors at the research front in terms of influence and specializations, as well as into patterns of scientific communication and processes of knowledge dissemination. After a discussion of technical and methodological problems, we present practical examples of the use of research performance indicators. In the second application, monitoring scientific developments, bibliometric methods based on advanced mapping techniques are essential. We discuss these techniques briefly and indicate their most important potentials, particularly their role in foresight exercises. Finally, we give a first outline of how both bibliometric approaches can be combined to a broader and powerful methodology to observe scientific advancement and the role of actors.