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Abstract  

A collection of coauthored papers is the new norm for doctoral dissertations in the natural and biomedical sciences, yet there is no consensus on how to partition authorship credit between PhD candidates and their coauthors. Guidelines for PhD programs vary but tend to specify only a suggested range for the number of papers to be submitted for evaluation, sometimes supplemented with a requirement for the PhD candidate to be the principal author on the majority of submitted papers. Here I use harmonic counting to quantify the actual amount of authorship credit attributable to individual PhD graduates from two Scandinavian universities in 2008. Harmonic counting corrects for the inherent inflationary and equalizing biases of routine counting methods, thereby allowing the bibliometrically identifiable amount of authorship credit in approved dissertations to be analyzed with unprecedented accuracy. Unbiased partitioning of authorship credit between graduates and their coauthors provides a post hoc bibliometric measure of current PhD requirements, and sets a de facto baseline for the requisite scientific productivity of these contemporary PhD’s at a median value of approximately 1.6 undivided papers per dissertation. Comparison with previous census data suggests that the baseline has shifted over the past two decades as a result of a decrease in the number of submitted papers per candidate and an increase in the number of coauthors per paper. A simple solution to this shifting baseline syndrome would be to benchmark the amount of unbiased authorship credit deemed necessary for successful completion of a specific PhD program, and then monitor for departures from this level over time. Harmonic partitioning of authorship credit also facilitates cross-disciplinary and inter-institutional analysis of the scientific output from different PhD programs. Juxtaposing bibliometric benchmarks with current baselines may thus assist the development of harmonized guidelines and transparent transnational quality assurance procedures for doctoral programs by providing a robust and meaningful standard for further exploration of the causes of intra- and inter-institutional variation in the amount of unbiased authorship credit per dissertation.

Open access
Scientometrics
Authors: Cathelijn J. F. Waaijer, Cornelis A. van Bochove, and Nees Jan van Eck

Abstract

Bibliometric mapping of scientific articles based on keywords and technical terms in abstracts is now frequently used to chart scientific fields. In contrast, no significant mapping has been applied to the full texts of non-specialist documents. Editorials in Nature and Science are such non-specialist documents, reflecting the views of the two most read scientific journals on science, technology and policy issues. We use the VOSviewer mapping software to chart the topics of these editorials. A term map and a document map are constructed and clusters are distinguished in both of them. The validity of the document clustering is verified by a manual analysis of a sample of the editorials. This analysis confirms the homogeneity of the clusters obtained by mapping and augments the latter with further detail. As a result, the analysis provides reliable information on the distribution of the editorials over topics, and on differences between the journals. The most striking difference is that Nature devotes more attention to internal science policy issues and Science more to the political influence of scientists.

Open access

Abstract  

The growth rate of scientific publication has been studied from 1907 to 2007 using available data from a number of literature databases, including Science Citation Index (SCI) and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI). Traditional scientific publishing, that is publication in peer-reviewed journals, is still increasing although there are big differences between fields. There are no indications that the growth rate has decreased in the last 50 years. At the same time publication using new channels, for example conference proceedings, open archives and home pages, is growing fast. The growth rate for SCI up to 2007 is smaller than for comparable databases. This means that SCI was covering a decreasing part of the traditional scientific literature. There are also clear indications that the coverage by SCI is especially low in some of the scientific areas with the highest growth rate, including computer science and engineering sciences. The role of conference proceedings, open access archives and publications published on the net is increasing, especially in scientific fields with high growth rates, but this has only partially been reflected in the databases. The new publication channels challenge the use of the big databases in measurements of scientific productivity or output and of the growth rate of science. Because of the declining coverage and this challenge it is problematic that SCI has been used and is used as the dominant source for science indicators based on publication and citation numbers. The limited data available for social sciences show that the growth rate in SSCI was remarkably low and indicate that the coverage by SSCI was declining over time. National Science Indicators from Thomson Reuters is based solely on SCI, SSCI and Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI). Therefore the declining coverage of the citation databases problematizes the use of this source.

Open access

Abstract  

This paper focuses on the study of self-citations at the meso and micro (individual) levels, on the basis of an analysis of the production (1994–2004) of individual researchers working at the Spanish CSIC in the areas of Biology and Biomedicine and Material Sciences. Two different types of self-citations are described: author self-citations (citations received from the author him/herself) and co-author self-citations (citations received from the researchers’ co-authors but without his/her participation). Self-citations do not play a decisive role in the high citation scores of documents either at the individual or at the meso level, which are mainly due to external citations. At micro-level, the percentage of self-citations does not change by professional rank or age, but differences in the relative weight of author and co-author self-citations have been found. The percentage of co-author self-citations tends to decrease with age and professional rank while the percentage of author self-citations shows the opposite trend. Suppressing author self-citations from citation counts to prevent overblown self-citation practices may result in a higher reduction of citation numbers of old scientists and, particularly, of those in the highest categories. Author and co-author self-citations provide valuable information on the scientific communication process, but external citations are the most relevant for evaluative purposes. As a final recommendation, studies considering self-citations at the individual level should make clear whether author or total self-citations are used as these can affect researchers differently.

Open access
Scientometrics
Authors: Nees van Eck, Ludo Waltman, Ed Noyons, and Reindert Buter

Abstract  

A term map is a map that visualizes the structure of a scientific field by showing the relations between important terms in the field. The terms shown in a term map are usually selected manually with the help of domain experts. Manual term selection has the disadvantages of being subjective and labor-intensive. To overcome these disadvantages, we propose a methodology for automatic term identification and we use this methodology to select the terms to be included in a term map. To evaluate the proposed methodology, we use it to construct a term map of the field of operations research. The quality of the map is assessed by a number of operations research experts. It turns out that in general the proposed methodology performs quite well.

Open access
Scientometrics
Authors: Fred Bookstein, Horst Seidler, Martin Fieder, and Georg Winckler

Abstract  

Several individual indicators from the Times Higher Education Survey (THES) data base—the overall score, the reported staff-to-student ratio, and the peer ratings—demonstrate unacceptably high fluctuation from year to year. The inappropriateness of the summary tabulations for assessing the majority of the “top 200” universities would be apparent purely for reason of this obvious statistical instability regardless of other grounds of criticism. There are far too many anomalies in the change scores of the various indices for them to be of use in the course of university management.

Open access

Abstract  

This paper revisits an aspect of citation theory (i.e., citer motivation) with respect to the Mathematical Review system and the reviewer’s role in mathematics. We focus on a set of journal articles (369) published in Singularity Theory (1974–2003), the mathematicians who wrote editorial reviews for these articles, and the number of citations each reviewed article received within a 5 year period. Our research hypothesis is that the cognitive authority of a high status reviewer plays a positive role in how well a new article is received and cited by others. Bibliometric evidence points to the contrary: Singularity Theorists of lower status (junior researchers) have reviewed slightly more well-cited articles (2–5 citations, excluding author self-citations) than their higher status counterparts (senior researchers). One explanation for this result is that lower status researchers may have been asked to review ‘trendy’ or more accessible parts of mathematics, which are easier to use and cite. We offer further explanations and discuss a number of implications for a theory of citation in mathematics. This research opens the door for comparisons to other editorial review systems, such as book reviews written in the social sciences or humanities.

Open access

Abstract  

Many investigations of scientific collaboration are based on statistical analyses of large networks constructed from bibliographic repositories. These investigations often rely on a wealth of bibliographic data, but very little or no other information about the individuals in the network, and thus, fail to illustrate the broader social and academic landscape in which collaboration takes place. In this article, we perform an in-depth longitudinal analysis of a relatively small network of scientific collaboration (N = 291) constructed from the bibliographic record of a research centerin the development and application of wireless and sensor network technologies. We perform a preliminary analysis of selected structural properties of the network, computing its range, configuration and topology. We then support our preliminary statistical analysis with an in-depth temporal investigation of the assortative mixing of selected node characteristics, unveiling the researchers’ propensity to collaborate preferentially with others with a similar academic profile. Our qualitative analysis of mixing patterns offers clues as to the nature of the scientific community being modeled in relation to its organizational, disciplinary, institutional, and international arrangements of collaboration.

Open access

Abstract  

We present VOSviewer, a freely available computer program that we have developed for constructing and viewing bibliometric maps. Unlike most computer programs that are used for bibliometric mapping, VOSviewer pays special attention to the graphical representation of bibliometric maps. The functionality of VOSviewer is especially useful for displaying large bibliometric maps in an easy-to-interpret way. The paper consists of three parts. In the first part, an overview of VOSviewer’s functionality for displaying bibliometric maps is provided. In the second part, the technical implementation of specific parts of the program is discussed. Finally, in the third part, VOSviewer’s ability to handle large maps is demonstrated by using the program to construct and display a co-citation map of 5,000 major scientific journals.

Open access

Abstract  

Bibliometric counting methods need to be validated against perceived notions of authorship credit allocation, and standardized by rejecting methods with poor fit or questionable ethical implications. Harmonic counting meets these concerns by exhibiting a robust fit to previously published empirical data from medicine, psychology and chemistry, and by complying with three basic ethical criteria for the equitable sharing of authorship credit. Harmonic counting can also incorporate additional byline information about equal contribution, or the elevated status of a corresponding last author. By contrast, several previously proposed counting schemes from the bibliometric literature including arithmetic, geometric and fractional counting, do not fit the empirical data as well and do not consistently meet the ethical criteria. In conclusion, harmonic counting would seem to provide unrivalled accuracy, fairness and flexibility to the long overdue task of standardizing bibliometric allocation of publication and citation credit.

Open access