Skip to main content

On the significance of data bases keywords for alarge scale bibliometric investigation in fundamental physics


We present an automatized bibliometric investigation applied to the field of fundamental research in physics. We briefly describe the scientific context motivating this study and the statistical method used for analyzing the data. We discuss in more detail how we adapted our investigation to the questions motivating this study, namely the identification of relevant groups working in a well defined subfield of physics. We next present the results of our investigation. We particularly focus on an analysis of Index and Free terms, as obtained from the INSPEC data base we used for performing the bibliometric investigation. We discuss the relevance of Index and Free terms by means of a separation between “Noise”, “Interesting” and “Trivial” entries. We show that Index and Free terms exhibit somewhat different behaviors when considered as distributions in terms of frequencies of occurrence in the references. We show the particular relevance of Free terms in this analysis. This may be connected to the emerging nature of the subfield of physics under consideration. This shed an interesting light on the respective importance of Index and Free terms, as entries of data bases, in particular in the case of rapidly evolving scientific domains.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    D. J. De Solla Price, D. Beaver,American Psychologist, 21 (1966) 1011–1018.

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    H. Haon, C. Paoli, H. Rostaing, Perception d'un programme de R & D à travers l'analyse bibliométrique des banques de données d'origine japonaise,Actes du Congrès IDT93, Juin 1993.

  3. 3.

    H. Dou, H. Hassanaly, L. Quoniam, Informations stratégiques en chimie. Analyse topologique automatique de la base Chemical Abstract,Revue Française de Bibliométrie, 7 (1990).

  4. 4.

    H. P. J. Peters, A. F. J. Van Raan, Structuring scientific activities, by co-author analysis. An exercise on a university faculty level,Scientometrics, 20 (1991) 235–255.

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    PACS, Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme, published yearly by The APS (American Physical Society) inPhysical Review Letter, December 1993.

  6. 6.

    INSPEC, Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE), M. Faraday House, Six Hills way, Steven age, HERTS SGI 2AY, United Kingdom.

  7. 7.

    M. G. Suraud, L. Quoniam, H. Rostaing, H. Dou, Analyse bibliométrique appliquée au cas de l'émergence d'un concept en physique fondamentale,Revue Française de Bibliométrie, (1994).

  8. 8.

    C. Dutheuil, Du corpus documentaire à l'interprétation des résultats de l'analyse de données,Revue Française de Bibliométrie, 6 (1990).

  9. 9.

    I+K, Information und Kommunication, I+K France, 9 Avenue Ville Preux, 78340 Clayes sous Bois.

  10. 10.

    H. Rostaing,Veille technologique et bibliométrie: concepts, outils, applications, Ph. D thesis, Université Aix-Marseille, January 1993.

  11. 11.

    G. Wheeler, Maintaining a controlled vocabulary for a large on line data base,Computers in Libraries International 1991, Proceedings of the fifth Annual Conference on Computers in Libraries, London, February 1991.

  12. 12.

    Y. Ebinuma, S. Takahashi, S. Habara, H. Yokoo, Promotion of keyword assignment to scientific literature by contributors,International Forum on Information and Documentation, (1983).

  13. 13.

    G. K. Zipf,Human Behaviour and the Principle of Least Effort, Addison Wesley, 1949.

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Suraud, M.G., Quoniam, L., Rostaing, H. et al. On the significance of data bases keywords for alarge scale bibliometric investigation in fundamental physics. Scientometrics 33, 41–63 (1995).

Download citation


  • Statistical Method
  • Data Base
  • Fundamental Physic
  • Scientific Domain
  • Relevant Group