The “own-language preference”: Measures of relative language self-citation
It has already been pointed out that the foreign language barrier is probably the greatest impediment to the free flow and transfer of information. This barrier is even growing as scientists of more and more countries publish in their own languages. Almost all studies addressing the language barrier problem were conducted from an Anglo-Saxon perspective, limiting their scope to English-language sources or English speakers. Little research has been devoted to studying and measuring language preference among non-English-speaking scholars.
This article reviews measures proposed in former studies such as the “relative own-language preference” indicator, and the “straight odds ratio”, pointing out their advantages and drawbacks. Two new refined measures (in both “raw” and normalised versions) are offered, claiming to be free of these drawbacks, and thus enabling a better and more reliable comparison between journals of different languages. Practical use of the proposed measures is illustrated by applying them to findings of a former language-citation study done on nine sociology journals.
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