Factors Limiting the Number of Articles and Citations

Scientific disciplines are the strength of WOS and SCOPUS. This is especially obvious in rankings such as SIR that include research and medical institutes. Subject matter, language, country of origin and format understate the scholarly output in social science and humanities and put pressure on authors to publish in high impact journals at the expense of local research. Local journals or books publish scholarly output in these fields in the local language. In an article published in Scientometrics and summarized in Nature, Van Raan et al. (2011) reported that the language effect is important across multiple disciplines for articles published in German and French. While rankers now include separate listings for social sciences and humanities universities, these rankings are still based on the WOS or SCOPUS publications.

Table 3 Comparison of Key Sources ((Pagell 2008), updated 2013)

Table 3 (continued)

Table 4 Journal Impact Factors for Selected Fields. (Extracted from JCR, September 2013)

FIELD

Total Cites

Median Impact

Aggregate

Impact

Aggregate Cited Half-Life

# Journals

Neuroscience

1787981

2.872

3.983

7.5

252

Medical Research

562580

2,263

3.307

6.9

121

Zoology

291515

1.059

1.521

>10

151

Telecommunications

149916

0.962

1.335

6.3

78

Sociology

129174

0.829

1.054

>10

139

Economics

450167

0.795

1.193

>10

333

History

11787

0.231

0.344

>10

69

Table 4 displays impact factors for selected fields from the 2012 Journal Citation Reports

The most ranked journal from this selection, Nature Review in Neuroscience has an aggregate impact score of 35.9 and most highly ranked in the social sciences area, Journal of Economic Literature has an aggregate impact score of 10.160. JCR is transparent, showing the calculations for the metrics. Worldwide rankings generally use Essential Science Indicators, which is a sub-set of Web of Science and a separate subscription.

A user can download the entire SNIP and SJR dataset (with minimal registration), allowing an analyst to sort by scores, general topic, field or country but it lacks the underlying methodology. In the 50 most impactful journals using SJR, only three were exclusively in the Social Sciences.

Table 4 in Pagell's original version (2009) includes data on Chinese social science and humanities articles published abroad from the Information Network of Humanities and Social Sciences in Chinese Universities. That data have not been updated and the Chinese Social Science Citation database ceased a couple of years ago. Table 5 provides data retrieved from WOS and SCOPUS on the same universities. Data estimate the total number of articles in social sciences and humanities in these databases and the number published in Chinese.

The situation for Asian institutions is more positive in the sciences. The U.S. National Science Board tracks the growth of non-U.S. science and engineering (including social science) output in Science and Engineering Indicators. Below are some of the 2012 data (Academic Research 2012)

• “The United States accounted for 26 % of the world's total S&E articles in 2009, down from 31 % in 1999. The share for the European Union also declined, from 36 % in 1999 to 32 % in 2009.

• In Asia, average annual growth rates were high—for example, 16.8 % in China and 10.1 % in South Korea. In 2009, China, the world's second-largest national producer of S&E articles, accounted for 9 % of the world total.

• Coauthored articles grew from 40 % of the world's total S&E articles in 1988 to 67 % in 2010. Articles with only domestic coauthors increased from 32 % of all articles in 1988 to 43 % in 2010. Internationally coauthored articles grew from 8 to 24 % over the same period.

Table 5 Chinese Universities Publishing Social Science Articles in WOS and SCOPUS

University

Total Number of Articles WOS

Total Number of Articles In Chinese WOS

Total Number of Articles SCOPUS

Total Number of Articles in

Chinese SCOPUS

Peking U

4488

48

2993

307

Zhejiang U

3521

98

2085

197

Fudan U

2243

30

1324

62

Wuhan U

1263

49

3411

1304

Renmin U

1230

60

4079

430

Xiamen U

906

21

968

56

TOTAL

13651

306

14860

2356

About 6 % of all articles in SCOPUS have a Chinese address and 30 % of those are in Chinese. 4 % of all articles in WOS are from a Chinese address and only 5 % of those are in Chinese. Web of Science and Scopus, searched 30 September, 2013

• U.S.-based researchers were coauthors of 43 % of the world's total internationally coauthored articles in 2010.”

The appendix to the report includes data by region, country and broad discipline,

but not by university.

Jin and Hong (2008), in their article ranking economics departments in East Asian universities, note that “when journal quality and sample periods were adjusted favorably to East Asian schools, the current research productivity of top-tier East Asian universities was found to be close to that of major state universities in the United States a decade ago”

Figure 2 displays the calculations for the percent of articles in WOS for four Asian-Pacific countries. It shows the rapid growth of articles from Taiwan and Korea and the much slower growth for English language Singapore and New Zealand. The number and percent of Chinese articles in WOS is growing annually and is up to almost 4 %, similar to the number of articles in Japanese, French and German. Growth of peer reviewed articles from Asia-Pacific as indicated in data from WOS and Science and Engineering Indicators will have a positive impact on the number of Asian-Pacific universities appearing in the research rankings.

 
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