Bibliometric analysis: more than an assessment tool, an aid for developing a collective strategy for publication

Véronique Batifol-Garandel
INRA, US1085 Unité Publication Information Communication, F-31320 Castanet-Tolosan, France

In this poster, we show how tools for bibliometric analysis that are classically used to evaluate the output of research groups, can also be used to help these groups develop and monitor a collective strategy for publication. The need for such a strategy in French research groups is the result of pressure for them to improve their practices to present a higher profile for their scientific production when evaluated by publications in eminent international journals. Publishing in international journals is often made more difficult by the way in which heterogeneous groups approach the problem of identifying and targeting these journals. In addition, authors and competing or collaborating groups working on a subject are often unable to decide how to translate their themes and research questions into a form acceptable to the international community.

To test our proposal, we used bibliographic analysis as well as management tools designed to encourage new practices of publication and views about the scientific identity of research groups. Specifically, a mechanism for supporting international publication established by the Department “Sciences pour l’Action et le Développement” (SAD) in Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) was tested and validated in five research groups using bibliometric tools to assess both qualitative and quantitative productivity. We then used objective data from these results as a basis for discussion of three main issues: identifying target journals, ranking of the research group in its disciplinary area and practices of planning and publishing.

The information provided by journals read by the group and international journals targeted for potential articles was particularlyuseful in focussingthe collective practice of groups when choosing media for publication.

This new insight into the way a research group can be organized to meet its needs for publication proved particularly relevant for helping estimate their degree of progress both quantitatively and qualitatively while improving their collective identity.