, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 355–364 | Cite as

Book reviews in academic journals: patterns and dynamics

  • Weishu Liu
  • Yishan Ding
  • Mengdi Gu


Book reviews play important roles in scholarly communication especially in arts and humanities disciplines. By using Web of Science’s Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Arts & Humanities Citation Index, this study probed the patterns and dynamics of book reviews within these three indexes empirically during the past decade (2006–2015). We found that the absolute numbers of book reviews among all the three indexes were relatively stable but the relative shares were decreasing. Book reviews were very common in arts and humanities, common in social sciences, but rare in natural sciences. Book reviews are mainly contributed by authors from developed economies such as the USA and the UK. Oppositely, scholars from China and Japan are unlikely to contribute to book reviews.


Book review Academic journal Web of Science Sciences and social sciences Arts and humanities 

JEL Classification

I29 Y30 



This research is supported by National Social Science Foundation of China (#16ZD08, #13AZD072, and #12AZD046). All the views expressed herein are those of the authors who also take full responsibility for any errors. The authors would also like to thank the anonymous reviewer for his (her) constructive comments and kindly help in editing the language of the manuscript.


  1. East, J. W. (2011). The scholarly book review in the humanities: An academic Cinderella? Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 43(1), 52–67. doi: 10.3138/jsp.43.1.52.Google Scholar
  2. Gorraiz, J., Gumpenberger, C., & Purnell, P. J. (2014). The power of book reviews: A simple and transparent enhancement approach for book citation indexes. Scientometrics, 98(2), 841–852. doi: 10.1007/s11192-013-1176-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Guan, J. C., Yan, Y., & Zhang, J. J. (2015). How do collaborative features affect scientific output? Evidences from wind power field. Scientometrics, 102(1), 333–355. doi: 10.1007/s11192-014-1311-x.Google Scholar
  4. Hartley, J. (2006). Reading and writing book reviews across the disciplines. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 57(9), 1194–1207. doi: 10.1002/asi.20399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hartley, J. (2010). The anatomy of a book review. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 40(4), 473–487. doi: 10.2190/TW.40.4.g.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hartley, J., Cowan, J., Deeson, C., & Thomas, P. (2016). Book reviews in time. Scientometrics,. doi: 10.1007/s11192-016-2114-z.Google Scholar
  7. Karaulova, M., Gök, A., Shackleton, O., & Shapira, P. (2016). Science system path-dependencies and their influences: nanotechnology research in Russia. Scientometrics, 107(2), 645–670. doi: 10.1007/s11192-016-1916-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kindle, P. A. (2015). Teaching students to write book reviews. Contemporary Rural Social Work, 7(2), 135–141.Google Scholar
  9. Liu, W. (2016). Comments on “a comparative analysis of scientific publications in management journals by authors from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau: 2003–2012”. Scientometrics, 106(3), 1269–1272. doi: 10.1007/s11192-015-1809-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lee, A. D., Green, B. N., Johnson, C. D., & Nyquist, J. (2010). How to write a scholarly book review for publication in a peer-reviewed journal: A review of the literature. Journal of Chiropractic Education, 24(1), 57–69. doi: 10.7899/1042-5055-24.1.57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Liu, W., Gu, M., Hu, G., Li, C., Liao, H., Tang, L., et al. (2014). Profile of developments in biomass-based bioenergy research: a 20-year perspective. Scientometrics, 99(2), 507–521. doi: 10.1007/s11192-013-1152-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Liu, W., Hu, G., & Gu, M. (2016). The probability of publishing in first-quartile journals. Scientometrics, 106(3), 1273–1276. doi: 10.1007/s11192-015-1821-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Liu, W. S., Hu, G. Y., Tang, L., & Wang, Y. D. (2015a). China’s global growth in social science research: Uncovering evidence from bibliometric analyses of SSCI publications (1978–2013). Journal of Informetrics, 9(3), 555–569. doi: 10.1016/j.joi.2015.05.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Liu, W., & Liao, H. (2016). A bibliometric analysis of fuzzy decision research during 1970–2015. International Journal of Fuzzy Systems,. doi: 10.1007/s40815-016-0272-z.Google Scholar
  15. Liu, W., Tang, L., Gu, M., & Hu, G. (2015b). Feature report on China: A bibliometric analysis of China-related articles. Scientometrics, 102(1), 503–517. doi: 10.1007/s11192-014-1371-y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Oinas, P., & Leppälä, S. (2013). Views on book reviews. Regional Studies, 47(10), 1785–1789. doi: 10.1080/00343404.2013.856530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sun, Y., & Grimes, S. (2016). The emerging dynamic structure of national innovation studies: A bibliometric analysis. Scientometrics, 106(1), 17–40. doi: 10.1007/s11192-015-1778-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Tan, J., Fu, H.-Z., & Ho, Y.-S. (2014). A bibliometric analysis of research on proteomics in Science Citation Index Expanded. Scientometrics, 98(2), 1473–1490. doi: 10.1007/s11192-013-1125-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Tang, L., Shapira, P., & Youtie, J. (2015). Is there a clubbing effect underlying Chinese research citation Increases? Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 66(9), 1923–1932. doi: 10.1002/asi.23302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Yu, D. J., Li, D. F., Merigo, J. M., & Fang, L. C. (2016). Mapping development of linguistic decision making studies. Journal of Intelligent & Fuzzy Systems, 30(5), 2727–2736. doi: 10.3233/ifs-152026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Zhou, P., & Leydesdorff, L. (2006). The emergence of China as a leading nation in science. Research Policy, 35(1), 83–104. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2005.08.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Zhou, P., Thijs, B., & Glanzel, W. (2009). Is China also becoming a giant in social sciences? Scientometrics, 79(3), 593–621. doi: 10.1007/s11192-007-2068-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Zuccala, A., & van Leeuwen, T. (2011). Book reviews in humanities research evaluations. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62(10), 1979–1991. doi: 10.1002/asi.21588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Information Management and EngineeringZhejiang University of Finance and EconomicsHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Antai College of Economics and ManagementShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina

Personalised recommendations