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Towards quality measures for bibliometric indicators

As with all social science data bibliometric data and indicators are strongly dependent on the methods and mechanisms adopted for their production. Consequently bibliometric indicators potentially contain incomplete or imprecise information and in some cases might even be erroneous. In contrast to other fields of social science research, the debate on this problem is far from being exhaustive in bibliometric research. It often remains limited to the eclectic description of issues. In many cases, neither any indication on the scope of the problems and uncertainties nor any conclusions on the reliability of the resulting indicators are available. Hence statements on the quality and limitations of bibliometric knowledge are difficult to sustain. It is left to the user of the data and indicators to decide in which contexts the indicators are reliable enough to be applied. This is the departing point of the project “Towards quality measures for bibliometric indicators”. In the first stage of the project methods for matching references and target documents, methods for the disambiguation of authors, counting methods, methods for identifying self-citations and the coverage of bibliometric databases will be compared. The overall aim of the project is to improve the quality of bibliometric analysis by providing information on the reliability of bibliometric data and indicators.

The project is integrated into bibliometric research conducted at iFQ. As part of the Competence Centre for Bibliometrics the project will be implemented in cooperation with the Bielefeld University, ISI Fraunhofer and FIZ Karlsruhe. It explicitly contributes to improving the quality of the bibliometric databases currently developed within the Competence Centre for Bibliometrics and used in all analyses conducted within this framework. All resulting methods will be implemented into the in-house databases and made available to potential users of the database.

Duration: 2010 – 2014
Co-operation partners: Bielefeld University, ISI Fraunhofer and FIZ Karlsruhe
Funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Contact person: Paul Donner
Detailed information: Towards quality measures for bibliometric indicators