发布人:高教评价院  发布时间:2019-07-16   浏览次数:18

Fei Shu

Chinese Academy of Science and Education Evaluation, Hangzhou Dianzi University


The purpose of this study is to investigate LIS doctoral students’ publication since 1960s and reveal the connection between bibliometrics PhDs and their supervisors and peers. After investigating all LIS PhDs’ publications since 1960s, this study indicates that bibliometrics PhDs were more productive within the LIS PhD programs but had less connection with their supervisors and peers.

LIS, bibliometrics, PhD, publication, Web of Science


1. Introduction

Bibliometrics, defined as “the quantification of bibliographic information for use in analysis” [1], is frequently used in the field of Library and Information Science (LIS) and regarded as a subfield of LIS. However, it has been experiencing a disconnection between research and education in North America: bibliometrics is quite strong in research in terms of the number of publications but very weak in LIS education in terms of course offerings [2, 3]. It is questioned whether LIS is still an appropriate home for bibliometrics [3].


Previous studies indicate that publishing practice is a key element of PhD education for preparing PhDs to enter the academia [4, 5]. Supervisors play a crucial role in facilitating PhDs to choose research topics [6] and improve their publishing competency via co-authorship [4]. Unfortunately, we know little on whether bibliometrics PhDs receive adequate support from their supervisors to publish their research. The purpose of this study is to investigate LIS doctoral students’ publication since 1960s and reveal the connection between bibliometrics PhDs and their supervisors as well as their peers.

2. Literature Review

Lack of bibliometrics education in North America has been addressed within the LIS community. After investigating 3,686 course titles as well as their descriptions from 55 ALA accredited master’s programs, Beheshti and Tang [7] find only 13 courses containing the term bibliometrics, informetrics or webometrics. Corrall, Kennan and Afzal [8] indicate that most library staff offering bibliometric services has not acquired formal education or training on bibliometrics after surveying 140 libraries in Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom.


Although bibliometrics research is very prominent in both information science [9, 10] and library science [11], many contributions are made by bibliometricians whose education background are not LIS (e.g. physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, etc.). Indeed, North American scholars published 772 articles in Scientometrics between 2006 and 2015, but only 297 articles (38.5%) were contributed by researchers from traditional LIS schools. Zhao [3] questions whether current LIS graduate programs offer adequate education or training on building bibliometric competencies.


Previous studies indicate that publishing practice should play an important role in doctoral education for preparing students’ future research career [4, 5] but most doctoral students do not receive adequate support to publish their research [12, 13]. Kamler [4] finds that co-authorship with supervisors could improve doctoral students’ publication productivity. Unfortunately, no study investigates whether collaborating with supervisors as well as peers could influence bibliometrics PhDs’ publishing productivity.

3. Methodology

A manually validated list of LIS doctoral students who graduated between 1960 and 2013 and their supervisors was compiled first from the MPACT database [14], which records all LIS PhDs from 1930 to 2009, and second, LIS PhDs who graduated after 2010 and their supervisors were identified and added to the list by searching the ProQuest Thesis and Dissertation Database and corresponding university websites. This process produced a list of 3,561 LIS PhDs and 928 LIS doctoral supervisors. As a result, 3,172 student-supervisor pairs (including co-supervision) were formed. After manually checking all dissertation titles and abstracts, 176 bibliometrics PhDs as well as their 188 supervisors were identified based on the assessment whether their dissertations were bibliometric studies.


Based on the list of LIS PhDs, all their papers published between six years before and two years after their graduation, defined as doctoral studies or supervision period, were retrieved from the Web of Science (WoS). Supervisors’ publications during the same supervision period were also retrieved correspondingly. All citations to these papers were also collected.

4. Preliminary Results

From 1960 to 2013, 3,561 PhDs graduated from 44 LIS programs while 28 LIS schools produced 178 bibliometrics PhDs. The number of LIS PhDs has increased from 18 in 1960 to 114 in 2013 and reaches its highest number of graduates (116) in 2010. Meanwhile, the number of bibliometrics PhD has increased from 4 in 1960s to 62 in 1980s but decreased to 19 in 2010s. The ratio of bibliometrics PhDs within LIS PhDs has increased from 2.3% in 1960s to its highest as 8.7% in 1980s then decreased to its lowest as 1.6% in 2010s. In addition, 16.0% (571/3,561) of LIS PhDs got faculty positions in North America while the ratio is only 11.9% (21/176) within bibliometrics PhDs.


Comparing to other LIS PhDs, bibliometrics PhDs were more productive in terms of the number of publications. 26.1% (930/3,561) of LIS PhDs had at least one publication indexed by the WoS during their doctoral studies, and they published 1,951 articles with an average of 0.51. Meanwhile, 31.8% (56/176) of bibliometrics PhDs published a total of 143 articles during their studies with an average of 0.81. LIS PhDs are the first author of 58.0% of their publications while bibliometrics PhDs’ names appear first in 70.6% of their papers. 81.8% of bibliometrics PhDs’ publications were cited on average 10.85 times compared to average 7.90 citations received by 72.0% of LIS PhDs’ papers.


Bibliometrics PhDs collaborated less with their supervisors and peers within the LIS PhD programs. 32.4% (632/1,951) of LIS PhD’s publications are co-authorship with supervisors while this ratio is 30.0% (43/143) within bibliometrics PhDs. When excluding the co-authorship with supervisors, LIS PhDs collaborated with their peers, either within the same institution or from other institutions, and correspondingly contributed 15.6% and 20.0% of their publications. On the other hand, only 10.0% of bibliometrics PhD’s publications come from the collaboration within the same institution, and 14.0% of these papers were co-authored with peers from other institutions.



Figure 1 Comparison between LIS PhD and Bibliometrics PhD in terms of their research performance

5. Findings

Based on the investigation of LIS PhDs’ publication since 1960s, I found that bibliometrics PhDs were more productive within the LIS PhD programs but had less connection with their supervisors and peers. In addition, although the bibliometric research is prominent in LIS, the ratio of bibliometrics PhDs within LIS PhDs has decreased since 1980s. It seems that bibliometrics is isolated within the LIS education, not only in course offerings but also in research collaboration. Since this is only a preliminary paper, further investigation on the PhD studies of those LIS bibliometrics PhDs should be conducted in the future.


This study is supported by iFellows Doctoral Scholarship provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Doctoral Research Scholarship provided by the Fonds de recherche société et culture Québec (FRQSC). 


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[14]MPACT. The MPACT Project [M]. 2010.


Author Biography

Fei Shu

Professor at Chinese Academy of Science and Education Evaluation (CASEE) at Hangzhou Dianzi University. Fei is also an associate researcher at École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l'information at Université de Montréal. His research interests include but not limit in the domain of scholarly communication and bibliometrics.