, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 155–181 | Cite as

Disciplinary and linguistic considerations for academic Web linking: An exploratory hyperlink mediated study with Mainland China and Taiwan

  • Mike Thelwall
  • Rong Tang


The Web has become an important means of academic information exchange and can be used to give new insights into patterns of informal scholarly communication. This study develops new methods to examine patterns of university Web linking, focusing on Mainland China and Taiwan, and including language considerations. Multiple exploratory investigations into Web links were conducted between universities in these two places. Firstly, inlinks were counted to each university Web site from its national peers using four alternative Web document models. The results were shown to correlate significantly with research productivity in Taiwan but not in the Mainland, although in the latter case less reliable institutional data could have been the cause. For Taiwan, this is the first evidence of a scholarly association with academic linking for a non-English speaking region. It was then ascertained that the same link counts associated more strongly with scientific than social scientific research productivity in Taiwan. This confirms the general assumption of greater Web use by the hard sciences. We then investigated Taiwan-Mainland university cross-links, and found that although English is extensively used on the Web, there was no evidence that it was the language of preference for informal scholarly communication between the two areas.


Bulletin Board Social Science Citation Index Scholarly Communication Mainland Site Link Count 
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.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers/Akadémiai Kiadó 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computing and Information TechnologyUniversity of WolverhamptonWolverhamptonUK
  2. 2.School of Library and Information ScienceCatholic University of AmericaWashington, DC (USA

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