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Bibliometrics in a digital age: help or hindrance

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Bibliometrics are a range of techniques and quantitative measures that provide an analysis of written publications such as books and articles, and which assess the impact of research outputs. They are commonly applied to individual authors in the form of citation metrics but can also be used to assess the influence of research groups or even entire institutions. With the increased importance of social media as a means of communicating and publicising research findings, additional alternative measures of impact (altmetrics) are now being used. In addition to analysing the reach of a research output, bibliometrics can also be used as search tools to identify related and updated research, author networks and connections between institutions. This review summarises the range of tools and services that are available, their advantages and disadvantages, and some of the challenges and issues presented by the existence of multiple digital versions of research outputs.
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Keywords: ALTMETRICS; BIBLIOMETRICS; CITATION INDEXES; GOOGLE SCHOLAR; H-INDEX; IMPACT FACTORS; SCOPUS; WEB OF SCIENCE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2018

This article was made available online on 21 August 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Bibliometrics in a digital age: help or hindrance".

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  • SCIENCE PROGRESS has for over 100 years been a highly regarded review publication in science, technology and medicine. Its objective is to excite the readers' interest in areas with which they may not be fully familiar but which could facilitate their interest, or even activity, in a cognate field. Science Progress commissions world authorities to contribute articles on the most interesting, important and meaningful topics - ranging from cosmology to the environment - and ensures that they are presented for the most effective use of those in both academia and industry.

    Truly, Science Progress publishes an eclectic mix of articles that no library can afford to be without.

    Cover image: Plastic debris washed-up on a river bank. The manufacture and use of different types of plastic, and the effects of pollution by these materials are discussed in the article on pages 207–260. Credit: By igorstevanovic/Shutterstock.com.

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