A bibliometric study of reference literature in the sciences and social sciences

Wolfgang Glänzel, Urs Schoepflin
1999 Information Processing & Management  
In earlier papers the authors focused on dierences in the ageing of journal literature in science and the social sciences. It was shown that for several ®elds and topics bibliometric standard indicators based on journal articles need to be modi®ed in order to provide valid results. In ®elds where monographs, books or reports are important means of scienti®c information, standard models of scienti®c communication are not re¯ected by journal literature alone. To identify ®elds where the role of
more » ... nserial literature is considerable or critical in terms of bibliometric standard methods, the totality of the bibliographic citations indexed in the 1993 annual cumulation of the SCI and SSCI databases, have been processed. The analysis is based on three indicators, the percentage of references to serials, the mean references age, and the mean reference rate. Applications of these measures at dierent levels of aggregation (i.e., to journals in selected science and social science ®elds) lead to the following conclusions. 1. The percentage of references to serials proved to be a sensitive measure to characterise typical dierences in the communication behaviour between the sciences and the social sciences. 2. However, there is an overlap zone which includes ®elds like mathematics, technology oriented science, and some social science areas. 3. In certain social sciences part of the information seems even to be originated in non-scienti®c sources: references to non-serials do not always represent monographs, preprints or reports. Consequently, the model of information transfer from scienti®c literature to scienti®c (journal) literature assumed by standard bibliometrics requires substantial revision before valid results can be expected through its application to social science areas.
doi:10.1016/s0306-4573(98)00028-4 fatcat:k22xknud65gmhpwmtwccjir4zq