The Growth and Development of Research on Ecology in India: A Bibliometric Study

By Thanuskodi, S.; Venkatalakshmi, V. | Library Philosophy and Practice, June 2010 | Go to article overview

The Growth and Development of Research on Ecology in India: A Bibliometric Study


Thanuskodi, S., Venkatalakshmi, V., Library Philosophy and Practice


Introduction

Bibliometrics is an LIS research method. It is a quantitative study of the literature on a topic and is used to identify patterns of publication, authorship, and secondary journal coverage to get an insight into the growth of knowledge on that topic. This leads to better organization of information resources which, is essential for effective and efficient use. Bibliometrics has attained a sophistication and complexity, and has a national, international, and interdisciplinary character. The present study focuses attention on the bibliometric analysis publication in the area of ecology.

The term "Bibliometrics" was coined by Pritchard in 1969, and its practice can be traced back to the second decade of the 20 th century. A very early example of a bibliometric study was a "statistical analysis of the literature" of comparative anatomy from 1543 to 1860, which counted books and journal article titles, and grouped them by countries of origin within periods. In 1923, a study was conducted by Hulme on the history of science. His analysis was based on the seventeen sections of the English International Catalogue of Scientific Literature.

A third study was the pioneering work of Gross and Gross, reported in 1927. They counted and analyzed the citations in articles in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, and produced a list of significant journals in chemical education. Another prominent work was Bradford (1934) on the distribution of lubrication research. This research formed the backbone of the theoretical foundation of the bibliometric study, known as the "Bradford's Law of Scattering."

Bibliometrics has been known by other names, including "statistical analysis of the literature" (Cole and Eales 1917), while Hulme used the term "statistical bibliography" in 1923.

In 1948, the great library scientist S.R. Ranganathan coined the term "librametry", which referred to measurement used to streamline library services. "Bibliometrics" is analogous to Ranganathan's librametrics, the Russian concept scientometrics, FID's infometrics, and to some other well established sub-disciplines such as econometrics, psychometrics, sociometrics, biometrics, technometrics, chemometrics, and climetrics, where mathematics and statistics have been systematically applied to study and solve problems in a given field. The term "scientometrics" is currently used for the application of quantitative methods to the history of science, and obviously overlaps with bibliometrics to a considerable extent.

Bibliometric Laws

Bibliometric laws are statistical expressions that describe its mathematical basis. The three basic laws in bibliometrics are:

Lotka's Law. This is the earliest and most widely-applied study in measuring the scientific productivity of an author. Lotka claims that a large proportion of the literature is produced by a small number of authors and it is distributed so that the number of people producing 'n' papers is approximately 1/n 2

Zipfs Law is a statistical distribution of word frequency on a hyperbolic curve, which states: "If the words are arranged in their decreasing order of frequency, then the rank of any given word of the text will be inversely proportional to the frequency of occurence of the word."

Bradford 's Law is probably the best known bibliometric concept. It describes how the literature on a subject is distributed in journals. Bradford divides the articles found on a subject into three zones, which increase by a multiple of five. The relation between number of periodicals in the first zone and the successive zones is represented as 1:n:n 2.

Application of Bibliometrics

Bibliometrics has extensive application in identifying the research trends in a subject, trends in a authorship and collaboration in research, core periodicals, obsolescence and dispersion of scientific literature in estimating the comprehensiveness of secondary periodicals, author productivity and impact of research, distribution of scientific publications by universities, citation studies, and so on. …

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