Ferruccio Biolcati Rinaldi

What Data Sources and Bibliometric Indicators for Social Sciences? Some Results from a Case Study

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: social sciences and humanities, reliability and validity, case study.

The article focuses on the debate in the social sciences and the humanities about the evaluation of research through bibliometric indicators. Many scholars call into question the validity of bibliometric indicators for social sciences and the reliability of the databases, but there are few empirical studies that have sought to verify the real impact of this state of things in the Italian context. After reviewing the national and international debate, the case at the center of the analysis - an academic department based in Milan - is introduced. A proposal for conceptualizing scientific production is advanced and data sources and indicators used to put this conceptualization into practice are described. Data analysis aims to highlight the strengths and limitations of bibliometric indicators for the social sciences, as well as to study the reliability and validity of the proposed indices: simple analytical tools will be used to try to maintain a balance with information capacity of the collected data that is somewhat limited (since it is a local case). In conclusion it is argued that the problem is not only the insufficient coverage of the literature of social sciences from the available data sources, but also the inadequate conceptualization of scientific production.

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