, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 193–215 | Cite as

The difficulty of achieving full coverage of international social science literature and the bibliometric consequences

  • Diana Hicks


This review of social science bibliometric literature seeks to establish characteristics of the social science literature and to understand their consequences for the coverage of literature databases and for interpretation of bibliometric social science indicators based on such databases. The paper reviews what we know about social science publishing and database coverage of it. It examines the main reasons why social science bibliometrics are problematic, namely: the centrality of books in social science literature and their high citation rate; and the national orientation of social science literatures. The paper then looks at reasons why social science bibliometrics holds increasing promise, namely: increasing internationalization; and good coverage of scholarly journals.


Journal Article Citation Count Social Science Citation Index Bibliometric Indicator National Orientation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bourke, P., L. Butler, B. Biglia (1996),Monitoring Research in the Periphery: Australia and the ISI Indices, Research Evaluation and Policy Project, Monograph Series No. 3, 72p.Google Scholar
  2. Broadus, R. N. (1971), The literature of the social sciences: A survey of citation studies,International Social Sciences Journal, 23, 236–243.Google Scholar
  3. Burnhill, P. M., M. E. Tubby-Hille (1994), On measuring the relation between social science research activity and research publication,Research Evaluation, 4, 3, 130–152.Google Scholar
  4. Cronin, B., H. Snyder, H. Atkins (1997), Comparative citation rankings of authors in monographic and journal literature: A study of sociology,Journal of Documentation, 53, 3, 263–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. De Looze, M. et al. (1996), Determining the core of journals of a research centre: The example of researchers from the Department of Rural Economy and Sociology of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France,Scientometrics, 36, 2, 167–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Delamont, S. (1989), Citation and social mobility research: self-defeating behaviour,Sociological Review, 37, 2, 332–337.Google Scholar
  7. Dorban, M., A. F. Van Devenne (1992), Bibliometric analysis of bibliographic behaviours in economic sciences,Scientometrics, 25, 1, 149–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Glänzel, W. (1996), A bibliometric approach to social sciences. National research performances in 6 selected social science areas, 1990–1992,Scientometrics, 35, 3, 291–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hargens, L. L., H. Schuman (1990), Citation counts and social comparisons: Scientists' use and evaluation of citation index data.Social Science Research, 19, 205–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hicks, D., J. Potter (1991), Sociology of scientific knowledge: A reflexive citation analysis or science disciplines and disciplining science,”Social Studies of Science, 21, 459–501.Google Scholar
  11. Kyvik, S. (1988), Internationality of the social sciences: the Norwegian case,”International Social Science Journal, 163–172.Google Scholar
  12. Lemoine, W., E. N. Ling, B. R. Martin (Ed.),State-of-the-art Review of Research Supported by the ESRC in the Industry, Economy and Environment Fields: A Bibliometric Analysis, SPRU, Bringhton.Google Scholar
  13. Lindholm-romantschuk, Y., J. Warner (1996), The role of monographs in scholarly communication: An empirical study of philosophy, sociology and economics,”Journal of Documentation, 52, 4, 389–404.Google Scholar
  14. Narin, F. (1976),Evaluative Bibliometrics: The Use of Publication and Citation Analysis in the Evaluation of Scientific Activity, Computer Horizons, Inc., Cherry Hill, NJ.Google Scholar
  15. Nederhof, A. J., E. Van Wijk (1997), Mapping the social and behavioral sciences world-wide: Use of maps in portfolio analysis of national research efforts”,Scientometrics, 40, 2, 237–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Nederhof, A. J., R. F. Meijer, H. F. Moed, A. F. J. Van Raan (1993), Research performance indicators for university departments: A study of an agricultural university,”Scientometrics, 27, 2, 157–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Nederhof, A. J., A. F. J. Van Raan (1993), A bibliometric analysis of six economics research groups: A comparison with peer review,”Research Policy, 22, 353–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nederhof, A. J., R. A. Zwaan (1991), Quality judgments of journals as indicators of research performance in the humanities and the social and behavioral sciences,”Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 42, 5, 332–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nederhof, A. J., R. A. Zwaan, R. E. Debruin, P. J. Dekker (1989), Assessing the usefulness of bibliometric indicators for the humanities and the social and behavioral sciences: A comparative study,”Scientometrics, 15, 5–6, 423–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Nederhof, A. J. (1989), Books and chapters are not to be neglected in measuring research productivity,American Psychologist, 734–735.Google Scholar
  21. Persson, O. (1985), Scandinavian social science in international journals,Social Science Information Studies, 5, 185–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pestaña, A., I. Gómez, M. T. Fernández, M. A. Zulueta, A. Méndez (1995), Scientometric evaluation of R&D activities in medium-size institutions: A case study based on the Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC), inThe Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference of the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics,M. Koenig andA. Bookstein (Eds.), 425–434.Google Scholar
  23. Pierce, S. (1987), Characteristics of professional knowledge structures: Some theoretical implications of citation studies,LISR, 9, 143–171.Google Scholar
  24. Royle, P., R. Over (1994), The use of bibliometric indicators to measure the research productivity of Australian academics,Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 25, 2, 77–88.Google Scholar
  25. Schoepflin, U. (1990), Problems of representativity in the Social Sciences Citation Index, In:Representations of Science and Technology, Proceedings of the International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators, Bielefeld, Germany, 10–12 June,P. Weingart, R. Sehringer andM. Winterhager (Eds.), 1992 DSWO Press, 177–188.Google Scholar
  26. Tijssen, R. J. W., Th. N. Van Leeuwen, B. Verspagen, M. Slabbers (1996),Wetenschapsen Technologie-Indicatoren 1996, Het Nederlands Observatorium van Wetenschap en Technologie: Centrum voor Wetenschaps—en Technologie-Studies (CWTS) en Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in opdracht van het Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschappen, Zoetermeer, (ISBN 90-75023-03-0), 223p.Google Scholar
  27. Thomas, P. (1998),A Bibliometric Analysis Of Fashions In Management Literature, unpublished PhD thesis, Nottingham Trent University.Google Scholar
  28. Thorsteinsdottir, H. (1998),Islands Reaching Out, unpublished DPhil thesis, University of Sussex.Google Scholar
  29. Van Der Meulen, B., L. Leydesdorff (1991), Has the study of philosophy at Dutch universities changed under economic and political pressures?”Science, Technology, & Human Values, 16, 3, 288–321.Google Scholar
  30. Van Raan, A. F. J. (1998), Assessment of social sciences: the use of advanced bibliometric methods as a necessary complement of peer review,Research Evaluation, 7, 1, 2–6.Google Scholar
  31. Villagrá Rubio, A. (1992), Scientific production of Spanish universities in the fields of social sciences and language,Scientometrics, 24, 1, 3–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Webster, B. M. (1998), Polish Sociology Citation Index as an example of usage of national citation indexes in scientometric analysis of social science,Journal of Information Science, 24, 1, 19–32.Google Scholar
  33. Winclawska, B. M. (1996), Polish Sociology Citation Index (Principles for creation and the first results),Scientometrics, 35, 3, 387–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Winterhager, M. (1994), Bibliometrische Basisdaten zur Entwicklung der Sozialwissenschaften in Deutschland, inBest, H. et al. (Hrsg.):Informations-und Wissensverarbeitung in den Sozial-wissenschaften. Opladen 1994, 539–551.Google Scholar
  35. Yitzhaki, M. (1998), The language preference in sociology,Scientometrics, 41, 1–2, 243–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diana Hicks
    • 1
  1. 1.CHI Research, Inc.Haddon Heights(USA)

Personalised recommendations