An item-by-item subject classification of papers published in journals covered by the SSCI database using reference analysis

W. Glänzel, A. Schubert, U. Schoepflin, H. J. Czerwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A serious shortcoming of bibliometric studies based on the Social Sciences Citation Index is the lack of a universally applicable subject classification scheme as individual papers are concerned. Moreover, the selective coverage of more than thousand scientific journals per annum proved to be an insuperable obstacle in the delimitation of social science subject areas. Subject classification of papers on the basis of assigning journals to subject categories (like those found in the various supplements of ISI databases) works well in case of fully covered and highly specialised journals in the social sciences, too, but fails for multidisciplinary and selectively covered journals. This study presents the results of an item-by-item subject classification approach, where assignment is based on the analysis of the subject categories of reference literature. This analysis extends the results of an earlier study by the authors on the possibility of delimiting subfields in the hard and life sciences based on reference analysis. The assignment proved also reliable for a considerable share of literature in the social sciences. Due to the peculiarities of the database this share is lower in the SSCI than that in the SCI. Although an iterated application of the procedure is expected to increase the number of classifiable publications, it is suggested that in the social sciences the method should be used in combination with other means of subject assignment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-441
Number of pages11
JournalScientometrics
Volume46
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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Social sciences
social science
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life sciences
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coverage
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literature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences

Cite this

An item-by-item subject classification of papers published in journals covered by the SSCI database using reference analysis. / Glänzel, W.; Schubert, A.; Schoepflin, U.; Czerwon, H. J.

In: Scientometrics, Vol. 46, No. 3, 1999, p. 431-441.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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