, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 205-218

Scientometrics: State-of-the-art

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Abstract

In this presentation we argue that the core research activities of scientometries fall in four interrelated areas: science and technology indicators, information systems on science and technology, the interaction between science and technology, and cognitive as well as socioorganisational structures in science and technology.

We emphasize that an essential condition for the healthy development of the field is a careful balance between application and basic work, in which the applied side is the driving force. In other words: scientometrics is primarily a field of applied science. This means that the interaction users' is at least as important as the interaction with colleague-scientists. We state that this situation is very stimulating, it strengthens methodology and it activates basic work. We consider idea of scientometrics lacking theoretical content or being otherwise in a 'crisis-like' situation groundless.

Scientometrics is in a typical developmental stage in which the creativity of its individual researchers and the ‘climate’ and facilities of their institutional environments determine the Progress in the field and, particularly, its relation with other disciplines. These aspects also contribute substantially to the reputation of scientometrics as a research field respected by the broader scientific community. And this latter point is important, both to let quantitative studies of science and technology take more advantage of an academic environment, as well as to keep it innovative and thus attractive in terms of applications at the longer term.