You might have seen that the June 1st First Fridays session is on bibliometrics.
Even if you’re not sure what that means, you’re probably already familiar with at least a little of it. You might have noticed that some places you search for journal articles, such as Web of Science, CINAHL, and Google Scholar, list an article’s references and/or how many times the article has been cited. Sometimes they’ll give you links to the citations and citing articles, because those are probably related to your search topic. That’s one part of bibliometrics.
The rest of bibliometrics builds on tracking those citations between papers. They’re used to determine the popularity and influence of articles, researchers, journals, and institutions. Some of the more popular metrics include impact factors, eigenfactor, and H factor.
Impact factors assess the popularity of a journal essentially by how many times it has been cited in a certain period of time compared to how many articles it has published during that period of time. You can find journals’ impact factors in Journal Citation Reports (“Bibliometrics,” 2010). Eigenfactor is similar, but it also takes into account how influential the journals doing the citing are (“Overview,” 2012).
Meanwhile, H factors are used to assess individual researchers’ influence by how often their own articles are cited (“Bibliometrics,” 2010).
Incidentally, bibliometrics make it important to format your citations correctly and avoid mistakes when you’re writing an article for publication—humans can usually find an article even if the citation is not perfectly formatted or has a couple minor mistakes, but databases doing the same thing automatically aren’t as robust. If you don’t get a citation right, Web of Science might not be able to link your article to the article you’re citing, which makes both harder to find.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to learn about bibliometrics:
- They can help you find articles relevant to your research.
- They can also help you identify important journals in your field. This is useful both in evaluating articles and in choosing where to publish your own articles.
- If you’re a professor, or want to become one, they will probably be used to evaluate you during your tenure review.
If you want to know more about it, come to our First Fridays session on June 1st! Please RSVP by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the session, go to http://library.ucla.edu/biomed.
Bibliometrics. (2010). In NIH Library. Retrieved from http://nihlibrary.nih.gov/ResearchTools/Pages/bibliometrics.aspx
Overview. (2012). In eigenFACTOR.org. Retrieved from http://www.eigenfactor.org/methods.php
<submitted by Vicki Burchfield>