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      Professional and citizen bibliometrics: complementarities and ambivalences in the development and use of indicators—a state-of-the-art report

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          Abstract

          Bibliometric indicators such as journal impact factors, h-indices, and total citation counts are algorithmic artifacts that can be used in research evaluation and management. These artifacts have no meaning by themselves, but receive their meaning from attributions in institutional practices. We distinguish four main stakeholders in these practices: (1) producers of bibliometric data and indicators; (2) bibliometricians who develop and test indicators; (3) research managers who apply the indicators; and (4) the scientists being evaluated with potentially competing career interests. These different positions may lead to different and sometimes conflicting perspectives on the meaning and value of the indicators. The indicators can thus be considered as boundary objects which are socially constructed in translations among these perspectives. This paper proposes an analytical clarification by listing an informed set of (sometimes unsolved) problems in bibliometrics which can also shed light on the tension between simple but invalid indicators that are widely used (e.g., the h-index) and more sophisticated indicators that are not used or cannot be used in evaluation practices because they are not transparent for users, cannot be calculated, or are difficult to interpret.

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          Most cited references 85

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          I propose the index h, defined as the number of papers with citation number > or =h, as a useful index to characterize the scientific output of a researcher.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                loet@leydesdorff.net
                p.f.wouters@cwts.leidenuniv.nl
                bornmann@gv.mpg.de
                Journal
                Scientometrics
                Scientometrics
                Scientometrics
                Springer Netherlands (Dordrecht )
                0138-9130
                3 October 2016
                3 October 2016
                2016
                : 109
                : 3
                : 2129-2150
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 15793, 1001 NG Amsterdam, The Netherlands
                [2 ]Centre for Science and Technology Studies CWTS, Leiden University, P.O. Box 905, 2300 AX Leiden, The Netherlands
                [3 ]Division for Science and Innovation Studies, Administrative Headquarters of the Max Planck Society, Hofgartenstr. 8, 80539 Munich, Germany
                Article
                2150
                10.1007/s11192-016-2150-8
                5124044
                27942086
                © The Author(s) 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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                © Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

                Computer science

                evaluative bibliometrics, scientometric indicators, validity, boundary object

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