A non-homogeneous birth process is used to describe the statistical properties of bibliometric citation processes. The model is analysed under special assumptions. Thelife-time distribution, special probabilities and mean value functions are used to characterize differences in the ageing structure of scientific literature, the change of citation impact in time and to analyse predictive aspects of reception processes. The results are applied to selected journals representing one field in science and social science each. The empirical part of the study is based on a 14-year citation history (papers published in 1978 and cited 1978–1991). An intimate, connection between impact and ageing cannot be observed. However, the ageing behaviour seems to be clearly influenced by field characteristics and by special document/journal types, such as letters and short communications.
Although the field of scientometrics/bibliometrics is rapidly growing, and the interest in scientometric indicators is constantly rising, the field is in a crisis: subfields are drifting apart, the field is lacking consensus in basic questions and of internal communication, the quality of scientometric research is questioned by other disciplines. Among the causes stated are: the loss of integrating personalities; shift from basic and methodological research to applied bibliometrics; domination of the interests of science policy and business in commissioning and funding research; vendor policies and failing quality-management on the side of database-producers; misuse of bibliometric research results and disregard for scientific standards. To overcome the situation, the authors plead for integrative and interdisciplinary research approaches, for reinforcing fundamental, methodological and experimental research programs in scientometrics, for independent funding of research, and for an enhancement of scientometric databases. The need for acknowledged technical and scientific standards in research and publication is stressed. Finally, the establishment of aCode of Ethics for the field of scientometrics is proposed.
Authors:W. Glänzel, A. Schubert, U. Schoepflin, and H. Czerwon
A serious shortcoming of bibliometric studies based on theSocial Sciences Citation Index is the lack of a universally applicable subject classification scheme as individual papers are concerned. Moreover, the selective
coverage of more than thousand scientific journals per annum proved to be an insuperable obstacle in the delimitation of social
science subject areas. Subject classification of papers on the basis of assigning journals to subject categories (like those
found in the various supplements of ISI databases) works well in case of fully covered and highly specialised journals in
the social sciences, too, but fails for multidisciplinary and selectively covered journals. This study presents the results
of an item-by-item subject classification approach, where assignment is based on the analysis of the subject categories of
This analysis extends the results of an earlier study by the authors on the possibility of delimiting subfields in the hard
and life sciences based on reference analysis. The assignment proved also reliable for a considerable share of literature
in the social sciences. Due to the peculiarities of the database this share is lower in the SSCI than that in the SCI. Although
an iterated application of the procedure is expected to increase the number of classifiable publications, it is suggested
that in the sociated sciences the method should be used in combination with other means of subject assignment.