R, Scientometrics, Knowledge Management, and Social Network Analysis

Bibliometric Overview of Library and Information Science Research in Spain

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Published in: Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 50(8), 1999, 675 – 680
Authors: V. Cano
Affiliation: Department of Communication and Information Studies, Queen Margaret College, Clerwood Terrace, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Cano (1999) reviewed the research in Library and Information Science in Spain from 1977 to 1994. Two journals, Revista Espanola De Documentacion Cientifica (RevDoc) and Documentacion de las Ciencias de la Informacion (Documentacion), which publications were mostly in Spanish were selected to be analysed. In the 17 years period, the two journals had a total of 354 articles.

The articles were then categorised into 11 classes, namely (1) The profession and LI&S Education; (2) Library History; (3) Publishing (Book History); (4) Education in L&IS; (5) Methodology; (6) Analysis of L&IS; (7) L&IS Service Activities; (8) Information Storage and Retrieval; (9) Information Seeking; (10) Scientific and Professional Communication; and (11) Other L&IS Aspects. The most popular topics were L&IS Services with 19.5% of the total publications, followed closely by Information Retrieval and Scientific and Professional Communication with 18.9% and 18.6% respectively. Cano mentioned that the popularity of topics was caused by the influence of Belgian and French documentalists such as Suzanne Briet, Paul Otlet, and La Fontaine. Briet emphasised on information retrieval, scientific communication and description of services, while Otlet and La Fontaine focused on .information technology, information retrieval, search strategies, and scholarly communication networks.

The methods used in producing the papers were also examined by Cano. The most commonly used method was empirical method with 119 articles, followed by discussion, literature review, and bibliography with 55, 30 and 29 papers. While mathematical methods were only used in 4 of the papers.

Cano also investigated the authorship patterns in both journals, and found out that 68% of the papers studied were single-authored papers. Cano noted that this tendency might be caused by the need for getting personal recognitions in order to get a permanent employment in Spanish civil service. A search in LISA database indicated that 77.7% of a total of 205 authors never published in any of the journals indexed in LISA. According to Cano, this does not mean that the Spanish L&IS researchers are not productive, but it might be caused by language barriers which affect the choices of journals.

Interestingly, there were only 7 authors who published in both journals. Cano argued that this was caused by the existence “gatekeepers” in each editorial board whose task was to maintain the continuity of their respective invisible colleges. This argument was supported by the fact that 109 out of 119 articles using empirical method were published in RevDoc, where most of the editors hold PhDs in sciences. While 31 out of 59 articles using literature review and bibliography methods were published in Documentation, where most of the editors hold PhDs in humanities, linguistics and literature.


Written by Mathias

April 28, 2007 at 1:01 am

Posted in Scientometrics

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