Relative visibility of authors’ publications in different information services


Publication hit lists of authors, institutes, scientific disciplines etc. within scientific databases like Web of Science or Scopus are often used as a basis for scientometric analyses and evaluations of these authors, institutes etc. However, such information services do not necessarily cover all publications of an author. The purpose of this article is to introduce a re-interpreted scientometric indicator called “visibility,” which is the share of the number of an author’s publications on a certain information service relative to the author’s entire œuvre based upon his/her probably complete personal publication list. To demonstrate how the indicator works, scientific publications (from 2001 to 2015) of the information scientists Blaise Cronin (N = 167) and Wolfgang G. Stock (N = 152) were collected and compared with their publication counts in the scientific information services ACM, ECONIS, Google Scholar, IEEE Xplore, Infodata eDepot, LISTA, Scopus, and Web of Science, as well as the social media services Mendeley and ResearchGate. For almost all information services, the visibility amounts to less than 50%. The introduced indicator represents a more realistic view of an author’s visibility in databases than the currently applied absolute number of hits in those databases.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.

    Personal communication (January 11, 2016).

  2. 2. and


  1. Bar-Ilan, J., Haustein, S., Peters, I., Priem, J., Shema, H., & Terliesner, J. (2012). Beyond citations: Scholars’ visibility on the social web. In Proceedings of the 17th international conference on science and technology indicators (pp. 98–109). Montreal: Science-Metrix et OST.

  2. Cole, S., & Cole, J. R. (1968). Visibility and the structural base of awareness of scientific research. American Sociological Review, 33(3), 397–413.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Cronin, B. (2003). Scholarly communication and epistemic cultures. The New Review of Academic Librarianship, 9(1), 1–24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Cronin, B. (2008). On the epistemic significance of place. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 59(6), 1002–1006.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Dorsch, I., & Frommelius, N. (2015). A scientometric approach to determine and analyze productivity, impact and topics based upon personal publication lists. In F. Pehar, C. Schlögl, & C. Wolff (Eds.), Re:inventing Information Science in the Networked Society. In: Proceedings of the 14th International Symposium on Information Science (ISI 2015) (pp. 578–580). Glückstadt, Germany: Hülsbusch.

  6. Fitzgerald, R. T., & Radmanesh, A. (2015). Social media and research visibility. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 36(4), 637.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Gordon, A. (2012). The invisibility of science publications in Hebrew: A comparative database study. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 63(3), 607–615.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Hilbert, F., Barth, J., Gremm, J., Gros, D., Haiter, J., Henkel, M., et al. (2015). Coverage of academic citation databases compared with coverage of scientific social media. Personal publication lists as calibration parameters. Online Information Review, 39(2), 255–264.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Holl, A., Makara, G., Micsik, A., & Kovacs, L. (2014). MTMT: The Hungarian scientific bibliography. In Uses of Open Data within Government for Innovation and Efficiency, 2014.06.302014.07.01, Samos. p. 5.

  10. Ingwersen, P. (2000). The international visibility and citation impact of Scandinavian research articles in selected social science fields: The decay of a myth. Scientometrics, 49(1), 39–61.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Jacsó, P. (2008). The plausibility of computing the h-index of scholarly productivity and impact using reference-enhanced databases. Online Information Review, 32(2), 266–283.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Jones, R., MacGillivray, M., Murray-Rost, P., Pitman, J., Sefton, P., O’Steen, B., et al. (2011). Open bibliography for science, technology, and medicine. Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Kirkwood, P. E. (2012). Researcher publication checklist: A quantitative method to compare traditional databases to Web search engines. In 119th American society for engineering education annual conference and exhibition, San Antonio, TX, June 10–13, 2012.

  14. Miguel, S. (2011). Open access and Scopus: A new approach to scientific visibility from the standpoint of access. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62(6), 1130–1145.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Rousseau, S., & Rousseau, R. (2015). Metric-wiseness. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 66(11), 2389.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Schlögl, C. (2013). International visibility of European and in particular German-language publications in library and information science. In H.-C. Hobohm (Eds.), Informationswissenschaft zwischen virtueller Infrastruktur und materiellen Lebenswelten. Tagungsband des 13. internationalen Symposiums für Informationswissenschaft (ISI 2013) (pp. 51–62). Glückstadt: Hülsbusch.

  17. Stock, W. G. (2000). Was ist eine Publikation? Zum Problem der Einheitenbildung in der Wissenschaftsforschung [What is a/one publication? The problem of creating units in scientometrics]. In K. Fuchs-Kittowski, H. Laitko, H. Parthey, & W. Umstätter (Eds.), Wissenschaft und Digitale Bibliothek. Wissenschaftsforschung Jahrbuch 1998 (pp. 239–282). Berlin: Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftsforschung.

  18. Wildgaard, L. (2015). A comparison of 17 author-level bibliometric indicators for researchers in astronomy, environmental science, philosophy and public health in Web of Science and Google Scholar. Scientometrics, 104(3), 873–906.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Xin, R. S., Hassanzadeh, O., Fritz, C., Sohrabi, S., & Miller, R. J. (2013). Publishing bibliographic data on the Semantic Web using BibBase. Semantic Web, 4(1), 15–22.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


The author would like to thank Stefanie Haustein for the access to the Web of Science core collection. Special thanks go to the reviewers. I am very grateful for your feedback and new insights for this study.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Isabelle Dorsch.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Dorsch, I. Relative visibility of authors’ publications in different information services. Scientometrics 112, 917–925 (2017).

Download citation


  • Information service
  • Methodology
  • Personal publication lists
  • Publication analysis
  • Relative visibility
  • Scientometric indicator
  • Visibility