, Volume 91, Issue 2, pp 567–575 | Cite as

Comprehensive bibliographic coverage of the social sciences and humanities in a citation index: an empirical analysis of the potential

  • Gunnar SivertsenEmail author
  • Birger Larsen


A well-designed and comprehensive citation index for the social sciences and humanities has many potential uses, but has yet to be realised. Significant parts of the scholarly production in these areas are not published in international journals, but in national scholarly journals, in book chapters or in monographs. The potential for covering these literatures more comprehensively can now be investigated empirically using a complete publication output data set from the higher education sector of an entire country (Norway). We find that while the international journals in the social sciences and humanities are rather small and more dispersed in specialties, representing a large but not unlimited number of outlets, the domestic journal publishing, as well as book publishing on both the international and domestic levels, show a concentration of many publications in few publication channels. These findings are promising for a more comprehensive coverage of the social sciences and humanities.


Citation index Bibliographic database Publication patterns Books Journals Humanities Social sciences 



An extended version of a paper presented at the 13th International Conference on Scientometrics and Informetrics, Durban (South Africa), 4–7 July 2011 (Sivertsen and Larsen 2011).


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU)OsloNorway
  2. 2.Royal School of Library and Information ScienceCopenhagen SDenmark

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