, Volume 93, Issue 2, pp 373–390 | Cite as

Changing publication patterns in the Social Sciences and Humanities, 2000–2009

  • Tim C. E. Engels
  • Truyken L. B. Ossenblok
  • Eric H. J. Spruyt


An analysis of the changing publication patterns in the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) in the period 2000–2009 is presented on the basis of the VABB-SHW, a full coverage database of peer reviewed publication output in SSH developed for the region of Flanders, Belgium. Data collection took place as part of the Flemish performance-based funding system for university research. The development of the database is described and an overview of its contents presented. In terms of coverage of publications by the Web of Science we observe considerable differences across disciplines in the SSH. The overall growth rate in number of publications is over 62.1%, but varies across disciplines between 7.5 and 172.9%. Publication output grew faster in the Social Sciences than in the Humanities. A steady increase in the number and the proportion of publications in English is observed, going hand in hand with a decline in publishing in Dutch and other languages. However, no overall shift away from book publishing is observed. In the Humanities, the share of book publications even seems to be increasing. The study shows that additional full coverage regional databases are needed to be able to characterise publication output in the SSH.


Social Sciences Humanities Language use Publication types Books Flanders 

Mathemetics Subject Classification (2000)

01 94 

JEL Classification

A14 O38 



The authors thank all colleagues who helped in building and analyzing the VABB-SHW database, in particular the colleagues in the libraries and the departments of research affairs, the chair and the members of the GP, and Rudi Baccarne, Kirsten Cornelissen, Jan Corthouts, Koenraad Debackere, Nele Dexters, Alain Descamps, Danielle Gilliot, Wolfgang Glänzel, Marc Luwel, Saskia Peersman, Richard Philips, Ronald Rousseau, and Bart Thijs. We are grateful to the Flemish Government for providing an adequate legal framework and funding.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim C. E. Engels
    • 1
    • 2
  • Truyken L. B. Ossenblok
    • 1
  • Eric H. J. Spruyt
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for R&D Monitoring (ECOOM)University of AntwerpAntwerpenBelgium
  2. 2.Antwerp Maritime AcademyAntwerpenBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Research AffairesUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpenBelgium

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