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  • 1 Observatoire des sciences et des technologies (OST), Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la science et la technologie (CIRST), Université du Québec ? Montréal; Science-Metrix Montréal, Québec (Canada); Montréal, Québec (Canada) Montréal, Québec (Canada); Montréal, Québec (Canada)
  • | 2 Science-Metrix Montréal, Québec (Canada) Montréal, Québec (Canada)
  • | 3 Science-Metrix Montréal, Québec (Canada) Montréal, Québec (Canada)
  • | 4 Observatoire des sciences et des technologies (OST), Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la science et la technologie (CIRST), Université du Québec ? Montréal Montréal, Québec (Canada) Montréal, Québec (Canada)
  • | 5 Observatoire des sciences et des technologies (OST), Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la science et la technologie (CIRST), Université du Québec ? Montréal Montréal, Québec (Canada) Montréal, Québec (Canada)
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Summary  

The goal of this paper is to examine the impact of linguistic coverage of databases used by bibliometricians on the capacity to effectively benchmark the work of researchers in social sciences and humanities. We examine the strong link between bibliometrics and the Thomson Scientific's database and review the differences in the production and diffusion of knowledge in the social sciences and humanities (SSH) and the natural sciences and engineering (NSE). This leads to a re-examination of the debate on the coverage of these databases, more specifically in the SSH. The methods section explains how we have compared the coverage of Thomson Scientific databases in the NSE and SSH to the Ulrich extensive database of journals. Our results show that there is a 20 to 25% overrepresentation of English-language journals in Thomson Scientific's databases compared to the list of journals presented in Ulrich. This paper concludes that because of this bias, Thomson Scientific databases cannot be used in isolation to benchmark the output of countries in the SSH.

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Scientometrics
Language English
Size B5
Year of
Foundation
1978
Volumes
per Year
1
Issues
per Year
12
Founder Akadémiai Kiadó
Founder's
Address
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
Springer Nature Switzerland AG
Publisher's
Address
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
CH-6330 Cham, Switzerland Gewerbestrasse 11.
Responsible
Publisher
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 0138-9130 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2861 (Online)