, Volume 83, Issue 2, pp 337–354 | Cite as

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
  • A. J. M. LinmansEmail author


In this study an attempt is made to establish new bibliometric indicators for the assessment of research in the Humanities. Data from a Dutch Faculty of Humanities was used to provide the investigation a sound empirical basis. For several reasons (particularly related to coverage) the standard citation indicators, developed for the sciences, are unsatisfactory. Target expanded citation analysis and the use of oeuvre (lifetime) citation data, as well as the addition of library holdings and productivity indicators enable a more representative and fair assessment. Given the skew distribution of population data, individual rankings can best be determined based on log transformed data. For group rankings this is less urgent because of the central limit theorem. Lifetime citation data is corrected for professional age by means of exponential regression.


Bibliometrics Humanities Citation analysis Library holding analysis Research evaluation 



I wish to express my gratitude to the Executive Board of Leiden University, and especially its former Vice-Rector magnificus Professor Ton van Haaften, for the opportunity given to carry out this study. I am indebted to Professors Geert Booij and Wim van der Doel, Deans of the Leiden Faculty of Humanities and their staff, and Piet van Slooten, Director of Academic Affairs at Leiden University, and his staff for their encouragement and support. The project would not have been possible without Professor Anthony van Raan, Director of CWTS, who offered the stimulating environment of his institute and who read the manuscript. Henk Moed, Ton Nederhof, Martijn Visser, and my other colleagues at the CWTS helped me by commenting on parts of the preliminary report and by supplying extra data. I am grateful to Henk Moed for his encouraging me to investigate library catalogues as a bibliometric source. I thank the peer reviewers for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS)Leiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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