21.4351, Disc: Bibliometrics in NRC Rankings

Mon Nov 1 02:13:40 UTC 2010

LINGUIST List: Vol-21-4351. Sun Oct 31 2010. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.

Subject: 21.4351, Disc: Bibliometrics in NRC Rankings

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Date: 29-Oct-2010
From: Raul Aranovich [raranovich at ucdavis.edu]
Subject: Bibliometrics in NRC Rankings

-------------------------Message 1 ---------------------------------- 
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2010 22:10:46
From: Raul Aranovich [raranovich at ucdavis.edu]
Subject: Bibliometrics in NRC Rankings

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Recently, the National Research Council released its ranking of 52 doctoral
programs in linguistics. Their rankings are partially based on bibliometric
information about publications and citations, taken from the Web of Science
database. I would like to ask if anyone has examined the publication and
citation indexes for their departments closely, and if any issues have come
up with respect to that.

The reason I am asking this is because while comparing the NRC
bibliometrics to those of my own program, I found some gaps in one of the
WoS databases. In WoS, linguistics journals can be found in two different
citation indexes: the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) and the Arts
and Humanities citation index (AHCI). However, when running citation
searches for myself and some of my colleagues, different results were
returned when the search was limited to the SSCI and when it was run over
both indexes (in some cases, the same journal seems to have been indexed
only partially in one of the databases, but fully in the other one).

My question is, then, which of the two citation indexes the NRC rankings
seems to be based on. As a test case, I examined the publication indexes
for the linguistics doctoral program at the University of Connecticut (it
was a matter of convenience, since they are relatively small and their
'faculty allocation' according to the NRC tables was close to their
actual faculty). What I found is that the reported publication index
corresponds to the one they get on the SSCI only. If the results from the
SSCI are added to those of the AHCI, however, their index is about three
times higher (I have cleared this up with their department, having received
their permission to disseminate these facts). I am wondering if any other
departments have found similar discrepancies. 

The NRC program comparisons are intended to improve the quality of graduate
education in US universities. The data they research and summarize can be
very useful as a tool to evaluate one's program, and to make changes
accordingly. But for this to have a real impact it is essential to
understand the nature of the information they collect. I hope your answers
will help to clarify their bibliometrics. 

Linguistic Field(s): Discipline of Linguistics

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