Parallel Session H

Use of bibliometrics to map the infrastructure of an interdisciplinary field

Thomas Babor, International Society of Addiction Journal Editors and University of Connecticut School of Medicine, USA

Since the 19thcentury, there have been interdisciplinary fields operating at an international level devoted to a number of public health, biomedical and social policy issues.  Some of these (e.g. alcoholism, HIV infection) are characterized by a large publication output that spans many decades and includes interdisciplinary journals devoted to academic issues surrounding a particular social or medical problem.  Since the 1970s, the scientific literature on alcohol and alcoholism has expanded to include nicotine dependence and the misuse of illegal drugs, and all of these topics have coalesced into the interdisciplinary academic field now called addiction studies.  This presentation describes the use of bibliometric methods to map the infrastructure and scientific output of the addiction field.  Its purpose is to illustrate the heuristic value of bibliomentrics for understanding other areas of science, and to show how publication data can be used to define an international network of social, behavioral and basic scientists. 

Medline and SCOPUS data bases were analysed to identify global trends in scientific productivity for research on alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs over a five year period (2005-2009).   Analysis of the published literature makes it possible to describe the international distribution of addiction researchers, trends in the volume of published documents, the number and types of journals serving the field, the number of authors who continue publishing in the field, the extent of representation in the developing world, collaboration patterns among scientists, and the number of scientists entering and leaving the field.  For example, it is estimated that in the alcohol research sub-field alone, there are approximately 12,000 publications per year, with about 900 career scientists (10 or more records) and over 13,000 contributing scientists and research associates.  Most of the research is conducted in the English-speaking countries, and it is published in more than 50 addiction specialty journals. 

It is concluded that the application of bibliometric techniques to an analysis of scientific papers not only makes it possible to map the infrastructure of an emerging field, but also provides tangible evidence of interdisciplinary and international collaboration in a workforce that transcends national boundaries. 


Using bibliometrics for market analysis: a publisher’s perspective

Jenny Neophytou, Bibliometrics Analyst, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK

Bibliometrics are increasingly used by academic publishers to provide information on market trends, whether on the individual title, the discipline or the industry level.  This presentation will provide an overview of the types of analysis commonly undertaken using data drawn from the Web of Knowledge and Scopus, together with an investigation into some of the pitfalls and statistical dilemmas encountered.


The Hirsch index and namesake authors: an example

Christiaan Sterken, University of Brussels, Belgium

Based on ISI-provided bibliometric data, I analyse and discuss one case of how a young female physicist postdoc involuntarily boosted the h index of a namesake senior professor who has been scientifically dormant for some time. The example vividly shows that the present system of surname combined with initials cannot possibly discriminate authors, even within a discipline of the physical sciences. The ambiguity is particularly harmful to young researchers with Asian surnames. This double unfairness, i.e., with respect to age and to performance, can be removed by applying a proper correction for scientific age, and by adhering to a central registry of unique identifiers for individual researchers (along the rationale of the Digital Object Identifier).