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Depicting communities of Romani studies: on the who, when and where of Roma related scientific publications


Contemporary research on Roma from diverse disciplines has grown strongly during the last years. This is the first bibliometric study on the field of Romani studies considering the period 1997–2018 with the aims of mapping scholar’s disciplines and analyzing localization and their thematic contributions. The world evolution of Roma research topics and their citation impacts has been analyzed using a Network Analysis approach. The Scopus database was used to retrieve bibliographic records on Gypsy and Roma research. The bibliometric analysis of scholarly endeavour identifies three principal clusters: ‘History and Culture’, ‘Education’, and ‘Discrimination and Policy’. Results shows that scholars became more attentive to Roma issues as it became an important topic in public debate. Informed by this analysis, questions are raised about how to strengthen connectivity, collaborative research and knowledge exchange beyond national and disciplinary borders. In the term citation map among the most followed themes by number of normalized average quotations, the topics of ‘Discrimination and Policy’ analysis undeniably emerges. In the current historical moment characterised by rising ethno-nationalism and racism we intend that this paper informs further research that will deepen our understanding of the contributions of different social science disciplines with regards to epistemology, methodology and impact.

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  1. “The term “Roma” is used – similarly to other political documents of the European Parliament and the European Council – as an umbrella which includes groups of people who have more or less similar cultural characteristics, such as Sinti, Travellers, Kalé, Gens du voyage, etc. whether sedentary or not; around 80% of Roma are estimated to be sedentary (SEC(2010)400)”. Brussels, COM(2011) 173/4. EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020.

  2. “Council of Europe Descriptive Glossary of terms relating to Roma issues” - version dated 18 May 2012.

  3. It should be noted in some countries the term “Gypsy” has no negative connotations and could be occasionally more appropriate (as the word “Tsigane” in France).

  4. The Alliance against Antigypsyism (2016, p. 6) highlights: “The term antigypsyism—in citing the majority’s projections of an imagined out-group of ‘gypsies’ which simultaneously constructs an imagined in-group—is analytically more accurate and makes clear that other groups—Sinti, Travellers, Manouches, Egyptians—are equally affected”.

  5. The authors collected a first database with the keyword of Traveller as well as Gypsy and Roma. However, as it was not suitable with the purpose of the NA, this larger database was collected and used for the analysis.

  6. The second thematic report of the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance mapped how resurgent ethno-nationalist populism undermines racial equality globally The European network of equality bodies, Equinet, and the National Office against Racism recognized the rise of populism and nationalism and the associated risks to equality, by co-organizing a seminar to strategize on this challenge, which informed the publication ‘Not on Our Watch! Developing Strategies to Combat Hate Speech. A Guide for National Equality Bodies’, which was co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Union

  7. Considering the total amount of the estimated Roma attendance in Europe, U.K. is at the 11th (source: Council of Europe, 2012. Turkey, Russia and Serbia are included); the average estimate as a % of total population is 0.36%.


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Vanessa Ioannoni and Iris Elliott are members of the Equality Data Sub-Group of the European Commission’s High Level Group on Non-Discrimination, Equality and Diversity. Tommaso Vitale is engaged in the French ANR research program MARG-IN (project number ANR-15-CE28-0006): MARGinalisation/INclusion. Mid and long term effects of the policies aiming at managing poverty on target populations: the case of the people called Roma in Western European cities.

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Ioannoni, V., Vitale, T., Costa, C. et al. Depicting communities of Romani studies: on the who, when and where of Roma related scientific publications. Scientometrics 122, 1473–1490 (2020).

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  • Roma
  • Bibliometric network analysis
  • Discrimination
  • Policy
  • Education