Academic journal article LIBRES: Library and Information Science Research Electronic Journal

Use of Bibliometrics in LIS Research

Academic journal article LIBRES: Library and Information Science Research Electronic Journal

Use of Bibliometrics in LIS Research

Article excerpt


Library and Information Science (LIS) literature mirrors the development of the LIS profession, which needs to be analyzed for growth of the profession and to overcome its weaknesses. Bibliometric methods have been widely used in LIS research for analysis of literature. This study aims to review use of bibliometrics in LIS research. It concludes that bibliometrics has been found to be very useful in solving diverse issues. However, its application to LIS literature is not very common in Pakistan and this area of research needs attention. It recommends provision of better access to literature, comprehensive bibliographical control and sharing of best practices to enhance the use of bibliometrics in LIS research.


Bibliometrics; LIS research; Library and Information Science; Pakistan.


The research process is imperative for the development of society and research results are valuable for the benefit of general public. Therefore, a central place is given to research in any development plan initiated in developed countries. This has resulted in scientific, social, political, economic and cultural development of the people. Research has been defined by Gay (1997) in these words: "Research is the formal, systematic application of the scientific method to the study of problems" (p. 20). Hernon (1999) is of the view that "In the social sciences, research is problem-centered and may not be aimed at developing cumulative theory. It might fulfill another function, such as description or evaluation" (p. 263).

Research is carried out for development of knowledge, improvement of existing knowledge, to provide solutions to specific problems, and to improve processes and practices. Since research findings have significance and value for society, research has attained an important place in all fields of knowledge. In the field of library and information science (LIS), research has played a crucial role in the creation and improvement of knowledge relating to the collection, organization, preservation and dissemination of information in different formats. This has resulted in the scientific, social, political, economic and cultural development of humankind.

Literature produced by LIS researchers is important for future development of the profession. It should be analyzed to observe prevailing trends in the profession but analysis cannot be done unless the literature is properly documented. Bibliographic control and analysis of research literature are time consuming and require concerted efforts on the part of researchers. Bibliometric analysis of existing literature acknowledges the efforts made by people and organizations involved in the research process. It also provides useful guidance for future research as it points out the areas which need future consideration.


The objectives of this study are:

1. To review the use of bibliometric methods in LIS research.

2. To highlight bibliometric analyses conducted in Pakistan.

3. To recommend measures to improve LIS research by using bibliometric methods.

Significance of the Study

Professional development of a country in any field can be determined through literature produced in that field. This study, aimed at reviewing the use of bibliometric methods in LIS research, illustrates how bibliometric methods have been used in the library and information profession for analysis to solve different issues. This study also provides detailed review of bibliometric studies conducted in Pakistan. It will enable LIS researchers to develop an understanding of the present state of bibliometrics in Pakistan. It is the first review of bibliometric studies to originate from Pakistan. Recommendations of this study will provide guidelines for promotion of research in library and information science.

Research Design

This study is based on a literature survey. Existing literature has been utilized to review the use of bibliometrics in LIS research. …

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