Scientometrics is the study of measuring and analysing science, technology and innovation. Major research issues include the measurement of impact, reference sets of articles to investigate the impact of journals and institutes, understanding of scientific citations, mapping scientific fields and the production of indicators for use in policy and management contexts. In practice there is a significant overlap between scientometrics and other scientific fields such as bibliometrics, information science and science of science policy.
Modern scientometrics is mostly based on the work of Derek J. de Solla Price and Eugene Garfield. The latter created the Science Citation Index and founded the Institute for Scientific Information which is heavily used for scientometric analysis. A dedicated academic journal, Scientometrics, was established in 1978. The industrialization of science increased the quantity of publications and research outcomes and the rise of the computers allowed effective analysis of this data. While the sociology of science focused on the behavior of scientists, scientometrics focused on the analysis of publications.
Later, around the turn of the century, evaluation and ranking of scientists and institutions came more into the spotlights. Based on bibliometric analysis of scientific publications and citations, the Academic Ranking of World Universities ("Shanghai ranking") was first published in 2004 by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Impact factors became an important tool to choose between different journals and the rankings such as the Academic Ranking of World Universities and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THE-ranking) became a leading indicator for the status of universities. The h-index became an important indicator of the productivity and impact of the work of a scientist.
Around the same time, interest of governments in evaluating research for the purpose of assessing the impact of science funding increased. As the investments in scientific research were included as part of the U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), a major economic stimulus package, programs like STAR METRICS were set up to assess if the positive impact on the economy would actually occur.
Methods of research include qualitative, quantitative and computational approaches. One significant finding in the field is a principle of cost escalation to the effect that achieving further findings at a given level of importance grow exponentially more costly in the expenditure of effort and resources. However, new algorithmic methods in search, machine learning and data mining are showing that is not the case for many information retrieval and extraction-based problems. Related fields are the history of science and technology, philosophy of science and sociology of scientific knowledge.
Journals in the field include Scientometrics, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, and Journal of Informetrics. The International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics founded in 1993 is an association of professionals in the field.
- Acknowledgment index
- Citation analysis
- Citation index
- College and university rankings
- Journal of Informetrics
- SCImago Journal Rank
- Derek J. de Solla Price, Little Science, Big Science (New York, 1963)
- G. M. Dobrov, Wissenschaftswissenschaft (Berlin, 1970)
- Nicholas Rescher, Scientific Progress (Oxford, 1978)
- Nicholas Rescher, Epistemetrics (Cambridge, 2006)
- Harnad, S. (2009) Open Access Scientometrics and the UK Research Assessment Exercise. Scientometrics 79 (1)
- Harnad, S. (2008) Validating Research Performance Metrics Against Peer Rankings. Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics 8 (11)
- The Places & Spaces: Mapping Science exhibit at the American Museum of Science and Energy, September 7, 2007 – January 7, 2008.
References and footnotes
- Leydesdorff, L. and Milojevic, S., "Scientometrics" arXiv:1208.4566 (2013), forthcoming in: Lynch, M. (editor), International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences subsection 85030. (2015)
- De Solla Price, D., editorial statement. Scientometrics Volume 1, Issue 1 (1978)
- Lane, J., "Assessing the Impact of Science Funding". Science Volume 324 (2009)
- "Journal of Informetrics".