Two decades of "Scientometrics" An interdisciplinary field represented by its leading journal

Urs Schoepflin, Wolfgang Glänzel

Research output: Article

43 Citations (Scopus)


The development of the field of bibliometric and scientometric research is analysed by quantitative methods to answer the following questions: (1) Is bibliometrics evolving from a soft science field towards rather hard (social) sciences (Schubert-Maczelka hypothesis)? (2) Can bibliometrics be characterised as a social science field with stable characteristics (Wouters-Leydesdorff hypothesis)? (3) Is bibliometrics a heterogeneous field, the sub-disciplines of which have their own characteristics? Are these sub-disciplines more and more consolidating, and are predominant sub-disciplines impressing their own characteristics upon the whole field (Glänzel-Schoepflin hypothesis)? The Price Index per paper, the percentage of references to serials, the mean references age, and the mean reference rate are calculated based on all articles and their respective references in Scientometrics in 1980, 1989, and 1997. The articles are classified in six categories. The findings suggest, that the field is in fact heterogeneous, and each sub-discipline has its own characteristics. While the contribution of these sub-disciplines in Scientometrics was still well-balanced in 1980, papers dealing with case studies and methodology became dominant by 1997.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-312
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - jan. 1 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences

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