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bibliometrics,” described it as the “application of mathematics and statistical
methods to books and other media of communication”. In a later article, Pritchard
explained bibliometrics as the “metrology of the information transfer process and its
purpose is analysis and control of the process”.
Bibliometrics is the statistical analysis of bibliographic data, commonly
focusing on citation analysis of research outputs and publications, i.e. how many
times research outputs and publications are being cited. Bibliometric analysis is
becoming an increasingly important way to measure and assess research impact of
individuals, groups of individuals or institutions.Due to limitations associated with
bibliometrics (as highlighted in the issues and limitations section), bibliometric
measures should always be used in conjunction with other data such as funding
received, number of patents, awards granted and qualitative measures such as peer
Historical Development of Bibliometrics
Since the relation between the terms “bibliometrics” and “statistical
bibliography” has now been established, it seems imperative that a history of
bibliometrics should begin with its predecessor, statistical bibliography and its
components: statistics and bibliography.

Types of Bibliometrics
Bibliometrics, called quantitative science, is divided into two areas:
descriptive and evaluative. These two areas may also be divided as follow:
1. Productivity Count (Descriptive)
a. Geographic (Countries)
b. Time periods (Ears)
c. Disciplines (Subjects)
2. Literature Usage Count (Evaluative)
a. Reference
b. Citation

The two groups as those describing the characteristics or features of a
literature (descriptive studies) and those examining the relationships formed
between components of a literature (behavioral studies)”. Productivity count made
by a count of papers, books, and other writings-- often on the basis of a specialized
abstracting journal. Literature Usage Count made by counting the references cited
by a large number of research workers in their papers.
Descriptive bibliometrics study includes the study of the number of
publications in a given field, or productivity of literature in the field for the purpose
of comparing the amount of research in different countries, the amount produced
during different periods, or the amount produced in different subdivisions of the
field. This kind of study is made by a count of the papers, books and other writings in
the field, or often by a count of those writings which have been abstracted in a
specialized abstracting journal. While evaluative bibliometrics study includes the
“study of the literature used by research workers in a given field”. Such a study is
often made by counting the references cited by a large number of research workers
in their paper.
Why use bibliometrics
Bibliometrics could help with a number of activities, including:
 Demonstrating the importance and impact of your own research and/or that
of your research group. This can be useful for:
- applying for tenure, promotion or grants
- including bibliometric data on your CV
- demonstrating the value of your research to your institution
- demonstrating return on investment to funding bodies, industry and the
general public
 Identifying areas of research strength and weaknesses. This can be useful for:
- informing future research priorities for an institution
 Identifying top performing journals in a subject area. This can be useful for:
- deciding where to publish
- learning more about a subject area
- identifying emerging areas of research
 Identifying top researchers in a subject area. This can be useful for:
- locating potential collaborators or competitors
- learning more about a subject area
- informing the recruitment process
There are a number of limitations associated with bibliometrics; therefore it is
important to use bibliometric measures in conjunction with other measures. The
following section lists some of the main limitations.
Issues and limitations of bibliometrics
The use of bibliometrics continues to remain controversial due to the
following issues and limitations:
 Citations patterns can differ greatly between disciplines, for example, in
certain disciplinesresearch outputs may be cited more frequently than in other
disciplines. Therefore it is important to compare researchers, or groups of
researchers against those from the same or similar discipline.
 Some disciplines such as the arts, humanities and social sciences rely less on
publishing in journals yet bibliometrics commonly focuses on journal article
 A paper may be cited in a negative rather than a positive way yet the citation
would still be counted.
 The tools used to gather bibliometric data do not cover all research areas and
do not index all publications. Results will vary depending on the tool you use.
 Manipulation of the system by researchers inappropriately self-citing, citing
colleagues, splitting outputs into many articles etc can distort the data. A
number of bibliometric tools now allow you to exclude self-citations.
 Experienced researchers will have an advantage over early career researchers
when using certain metrics as they will have produced more outputs.
Therefore it is important to compare researchers who are at the same stage of
their career.
It is important to remember that bibliometric measures don’t necessarily
measure the quality of research output and instead focuses on the impact of
research, i.e. how often the work is being cited. Just because a research output is
highly cited doesn’t necessarily mean that the work is of good quality. This is why it
is important to use bibliometrics in conjunction with other data such as funding
received, number of patents, awards granted and qualitative measures such as peer

What bibliometric support does the Library provide
The University Library offers basic help and guidance regarding publication
strategy, elementary bibliometric analyses. Contact the Library if you want us to
arrange a lecture on bibliometrics and bibliometric tools for subject and journal
analyses, or if you want individual guidance concerning these matters.
bibliometrics & impact factors
The most commonly used measures to assess the impact of either a particular
publication or of a particular researcher are:
1. Impact factor: a measure of the impact of a particular journal.
2. Other journal-based metrics including SCImago Journal & Country Rank and
3. h-index, e-index etc: a measure of your personal impact
4. Times cited: find how often your papers have been cited
Useful tools:
1. ResearcherID: to calculate your personalised bibliometrics (Web of Science, DIT
Library Website Database listing)
2. Cited Reference Search (Web of Science, DIT Library Website database listing)
3. Journal Citation Reports (DIT Library Website database listing)
4. Google Scholar Citations
5. citations with a social media impact
Impact factors
The impact factor of a journal is a quantitative tool for evaluating the relative
importance of a
journal. It is a measure of the frequency with which its published papers are cited up
to two years after publication.
To find out an impact factor use Journal Citation Reports. JCR is available on the
DIT Library
database listing and is the key source of information about the impact of a journal,
giving impact factors, cited half-life and immediacy index for each title. JCR covers
specialties in the areas of science, technology, and the social sciences and is updated
annually in two editions. The Science edition covers over 5,000 journals while; the
Social Sciences edition covers over 1,500 journals.