The paper tries to unearth the transition of Bibliometrics to Webometrics. A qualitative approach is employed by the researcher for the purpose of the study as it best suits the research topic under consideration. The introductory part of the paper focuses on the scope and importance of webometrics and it tries to trace the origin and development of Webometrics.
The introductory part also pinpoints the modern trends in Bibliometrics and elaborates on the various Bibliometric methods of research, making reference to the major laws employed in Bibliometric research. The literature review focuses on the usage of Webometrics and bibliometrics in various fields which include scientific research, academic studies and research, literature, maps, and mathematical models, and World Wide Webs.
A separate section of the literature review is devoted to the transition from Bibliometrics to Webometrics which elaborately reviews the literature on the topic. As Webometrics is regarded as an offshoot of informerics, another major concern in the literature review is to analyze the recent developments in informetrics and Webometrics.
The literature review also tries to make a comparative and contrastive study between bibliometrics and webometrics, as they are related and interrelated. The discussion and analysis part of the paper tries to analyze the literature reviewed and draw conclusions from the analysis. The paper seeks to provide necessary recommendations by which webometrics could conquer new horizons of knowledge.
Aims and Objectives
The aim of the paper is to discover the transition of Bibliometrics to Webometrics and to identify the most recent developments in the field of Webometrics. The paper also tries to throw light on the scope and significance of both Webometrics and Bibliometrics, and makes a comparative as well as a contrastive study of both.
Bibliometrics has undergone a drastic transformation through the years by incorporating innovative techniques which opened the scope of Webometrics. It has offered a systematic way of information accessibility and a unique retrieval system to modern Library and Information Science. The terms Bibliometrics, Webometrics, Cybermetrics, Informetrics, etc. are some standard tools of science policy and research management that were transformed with the time in the last few decades.
The development of science and technology and the subsequent increase in the number of people who use the internet have accelerated the growth and development of Webometrics. It requires a detailed and thorough study to complete the analysis upon the terms Bibliometrics and Webometrics before entering into the transition part.
The history of information society reveals that all major compilations of science researchers mostly take the help of publication and citation statistics and other bibliometric techniques. For W. Glanzel, some of such compilations are the National Science Board, European Report on S&T Indicators, observation of the science of the techniques, and so on. (W. Glanzel General Introduction ) Bibliometrics as a Research Field)
This research report reviews the techniques of bibliometrics adopted since 1958 by comparing and analysing early bibliometrics with current practice and its conversion into Webometrics. It delivers a bird’s eye view about the significant developments like new related applications, national research evaluation exercises, online citation indexes, patent analysis, visualization methods, and use of digital libraries. Webometrics is a modernized version of techniques of bibliometrics.
The last five to six decades have witnessed the two important technological innovations called the computerisation process of printing technology and the conversion of the complete publishing cycle to the Internet. Publishing cycle refers to submitting articles and its publication. These innovations have reduced total cost of printing process to a large extent.
By using computers more journals and books are made appear in print. These advantages of computerization provided the publishing world comparatively faster and probably cheaper communication arena throughout. Future prospects of bibliometrics and webometrics are also described in the latter part of this report.
Bibliometrics: The Origin and Development
Bibliometrics was put forward by Pritchard in 1969. He derived the term bibliometrics as “the application of mathematical and statistical methods to books and other media of communication” ((Source: Historical Remarks Page-6) BIBLIOMETRICS AS A RESEARCH FIELD) In a scientific approach Bibliometrics can be termed as the science that applies statistical and mathematical ways and techniques to books and other media of communication for its effective management. Bibliometrics is regarded as the standard term for the data about publications and information resources.
It uses “data on numbers and authors of scientific publications and on articles and the citations therein (and in patents) to assess the “output” of individuals/research teams, institutions, and countries, to identify national and international networks, and to map the development of new (multi-disciplinary) fields of science and technology”. (Source : Bibliometrics).
Bibliometrics is basically a research method adopted in library and information science. A quantitative analysis and statistics method are used to explain the patterns of publication of a specific field or body of literature. Researchers often take the help of bibliometric methods of evaluation to conclude the writer’s influence in the field of literature.
Therefore, in a profound analysis of the biometric research, the relationship between two or more writers can be judged or their works can be compared with each other. Generally bibliometric research develops the Social Science Citation Index, the Science Citation Index or the Arts and Humanities Citation Index to trace citations. The bibliometric research generally uses three laws called Lotka’s scientific productivity law, Bradford’s scatter law, and Zipf’s word occurrence law.
Lotka’s Law is named after Alfred J. Lotka (1926) and it describes the frequency of publication by authors in a given field. It states that “… the number (of authors) making n contributions is about 1/n² of those making one; and the proportion of all contributors, that make a single contribution, is about 60 percent (Lotka’s Law in Laws of Bibliometrics)”.
The above cited definition makes it clear that if there are a group of authors taken given field, sixty percent may have single publication, and fifteen and Seven percent of authors may create two publications (1/2² times.60) and three publications (1/3² times.60) respectively and so on. According to the Law of scientific productivity, only six percent may have more than 10 articles in their credit. Lotka’s Law can generally expected to be accurate but often not statistically exact while its application in large bodies of literature over a long period of time.
Bradford’s Law, which was first described by Samuel C. Bradford in 1934 can be referred as a general guideline to librarians for assessing total figure of core journals in any given field. The law divided the all available journals in a single field into three parts. Every part contains the same number of articles. Here are the three sections:- “
- a core of journals on the subject, relatively few in number, that produces approximately one-third of all the articles,
- a second zone, containing the same number of articles as the first, but a greater number of journals, and
- a third zone, containing the same number of articles as the second, but a still greater number of journals.
The mathematical relationship of the number of journals in the core to the first zone is a constant n and to the second zone the relationship is n². Bradford expressed this relationship as 1:n:n².” (Bradford’s Law).
The law was formulated by him as a result of his detailed bibliographical study in the field of geophysics that covered 326 related journals. He found 429 articles in 9 journals, 499 articles in 59, and 404 articles in 258. This way he assessed 9 journals to put in one-third of the articles, 5 times 9, or 45, to create the next third, and 5 times 5 times 9, or 225, to produce the last third. Generally it is seen Bradford’s Law is often not statistically precise. But it is still widely used as a trail and error method.
Zipf’s Law is named after the linguist George Kingsley Zipf (1949) and it emphasises on predicting the occurrence of words within a group of text or passage which is also called an empirical law by applying mathematical statistics. “The Law states that in a relatively lengthy text, if you “list the words occurring within that text in order of decreasing frequency, the rank of a word on that list multiplied by its frequency will equal a constant. The equation for this relationship is: r x f = k where r is the rank of the word, f is the frequency, and k is the constant” (Zipf’s Law)”.
Zipf applied his law with James Joyce’s Ulysses’ analysis where in it was noticed that the tenth most frequent word occurred 2,653 times, the hundredth most frequent word occurred 265 times, the two hundredth word occurred 133 times, and so on. On the basis of this observation he derived a constant number approximately 26,500 calculated by the multiplication of ‘the rank of the word’ and ‘the frequency of the word’. This law is also not statistically perfect, but is worth for indexing.
Bibliometrics: Modern trends
Presently the bibliometric research is concentrated on three main target-groups with the characteristics of contemporary bibliometrics.
- Research for bibliometricians (Methodology) known as basic bibliometric research.
- Bibliometrics for scientific disciplines (Scientific information) has strong attachment with their speciality as they are purely scientific related which is associated with the quantitative research in information retrieval.
- Bibliometrics for science policy and management (science policy) is the field of research evaluation which involves the research the national, regional, and institutional structures of science and their comparative study.
Bibliometric method of research
In the bibliometric analyses specific standards are proposed for the units like books, monographs, reports, theses and papers in serials and periodicals. Among all of these the scientific paper of scientific journals are considered to be the most suitable unit for bibliometric studies. Publications, (co)authors, references and citations, being the elements of bibliometric analyses, have different ways of identification.
Some of which are; assigning of publications to the journals based on their appearance, differentiating the authors with respect to their corporate addresses of institutions or countries, categorising references and citations on the basis of their subjects , and so on. Bibliometric indicators, a set of more complex measures, act as statistical functions defined on bibliometric elements and units.
Bibliographies and bibliographic databases are treated as Data sources of bibliometric research and technology. Suppose a large publication list is given by a scientific organisation, it can be compiled and on the basis of that bibliometric analyses can be carried out. These data sources may be specialized databases involving range of subjects were provided in hard copies (printed formats) which were later converted into electronic form (magnetic tape, CD-ROM, on-line).
Medline (life sciences), Chemical Abstracts (chemistry-related literature and patents(!)), Inspec (physical sciences and engineering) and Mathematical Reviews (mathematics) are some such prominent databases. The Science Citation Index (SCI), databases of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI, Philadelphia, PA, USA) was the most generally accepted data source for bibliometric analyses.
The following distinctive features are considered as basic requirements of bibliometric technology.
- Multidisciplinarity involves all research domains of life sciences, natural sciences, mathematics and engineering.
- Selectiveness defines that SCI materials(periodicals) are generally chosen based on quantitative criteria.
- Full coverage implies all papers contained in periodicals are recorded.
- Completeness of addresses of all authors allows scientific way of analyses.
- Bibliographical references. By quoting reference with each document the process redefines references as sources. It helps to analyse citation patterns and to create citation indicators.
- Availability. SCI is available in various forms like; in printed edition, in electronic form on magnetic tapes, as on-line version and as CD-ROM edition. But the latter one gained popularity in the nineties. The Web of Science is an effective tool for traditional information retrieval missions.
Limitations of Bibliometrics
“According to a French organization, the Conseil national d’évaluation de la recherche (CNER 2002),” (Source : Limitations of Bibliometrics) the bibliometrics too have its limitations with its publication databases. Bibliometrics provides limited coverage to its publication databases. This property tends to exclude certain types of documents and stick towards particular kind of sources.
The research keeps on classifying the journals by maintaining a kind of discipline. It changes the style of the journals by replacing its titles which seems uncalled for in a broader perspective. The next constraint with bibliometrics is that in the given elements (periodicals, authors, citations, and references) the names are spelled in similar way which creates bewilderment in research. The very large number of authors and distribution of work are also considered as the limitations.
The self-citation and personal strategies and other concerns involving excessive, selective, secondary, negative and erroneous citations. As the research in general involves and purely based on the application of bibliographic databases, the above cited limitations may cause to reduce the reliability of the research evaluation. The lacunae are common to the data sources (databases) that projects limitations of the processes like compiling and indexing academic journals and articles, and situations and practices particular to that arena.
The literature review focuses on the roles of bibliometrics and webometrics in the current time, impacts, comparison and contrast, transition of webometrics from bibliometrics, significance, and usage in various fields come under literature review.
Usage OF Webometrics and Bibliometrics in various fields
As the evolution of webometrics is considered as the innovative process from bibliometrics, lots of fields are influenced by both. In the field of scientific research bibliometrics is used as a tool of evaluation and as a medium of communication. In the academic and literary scenario, webometrics is helpful to publish the finished or unfinished work in the web.
Moreover, it reduces the time of the ordinary mode of printing and publishing process. In literature both are used as an evaluation tool. Webometrics is used for maping and mathematical models. Webometrics is useful and influential in website development and database management. Other fields that are influenced by bibliometrics and webometrics are library and information science, nano technology and biotechnology, and scholarly communication.
Library and information science enjoys the benefits of webometrics that the search for appropriate book or periodical became so easy. Earlier it was so tiresome that the person who is in search of a book had to search the whole library. But now, with the help of webometrics, he/she can search for a specific book without touching the whole area.
The fields of nano technology and biotechnology are influenced by bibliometrics and webometrics, because it is so difficult to create appropriate medium for research and experimentation. Here, it is more possible to create a virtual medium to conduct experiments in the field of nanotechnology. Without the help of webometrics, it will be more expensive to conduct experiments in nanotechnology. Biotechnology is another booming area where the influence of webometrics can be traced. For scholarly communication, both bibliometrics and webometrics plays the role of a medium.
Scientific research and bibliometrics
Bibliometrics is taught widely in library and information science schools, so its impact over university education cannot be ignored. As it is the measurement of properties of documents and of document related processes, it is primarily applied to science related documentation, and is highly related to the method of measurement in the field of scientific research.
The importance given to bibliometrcs allows it to be the part of scientific research works in the form of documentation and it cannot be seen in a humanity library. The reason is that there is ample chance for research in scientific field, and in a humanity library there is less chance to trace the importance or use of bibliometrics.
Daniel Ramón Ríos points out that the field of scientific research applies to the methodology of bibliometrics : “In our country, if the tendency of these last years continues, as the use of computers and of processing word and calculation programs, the constant training and the network among libraries, the quantitative treatment of the information and documentation will be easier and the bibliometrics will be a basic instrument – but not the only one – to improve the efficiency in taking decisions for the acquisition of collections, identifications of users, analysis of human resources and valorization of financial resources, among other aspects.” (Daniel Ramón Ríos, August 24, 2000)
By using biometrics as the basic instrument, the quantitative treatment of the information and documentation will be easier. So, the impact of biometrics in the field of science related research is to be exploited and made use in further fields.
Bibliometrics and Academic scenario
Today, bibliometrics is undergoing revolutionary change in response to the web and web related developments. But related to new significant sources of information about scholarly communication, bibliometrics does not focus on academic papers. But David J. Kerr, a scientist and journal, editor points out that bibliometrics was so helpful and appealing for him to find out relevant articles and he further adds that he used to search for appropriate literature for his work.
Here, he used bibliometrics for his search and it was quite appealing because it helped him to trace the most relevant article “but to identify previously unknown gene associations simply by assessing the patterns of gene names used in Medline documents. Successful science must surely, in part, be about such innovative use of existing knowledge and resources.” (David J. Kerr, 2004)
So, with the help of bibliometrics and by using existing knowledge and resources, the task can be accomplished successfully. Only by the proper use of existing knowledge and resources, innovation in the field of science is possible. So, the impact of bibliometrics can be traced in scholarly communication, science and technology.
Bibliometric methods used as evaluation tool in literature
In1958, bibliometrics was not this much accepted and it was not even considered as field for further development, and was not acclaimed as a well co-coordinated group. The growth and development of biliometrics was so rapid and further offshoots like webometrics emerged from it. Irene Wormell in his research article states that bibliometrics is used worldwide as a tool to evaluate the impact of scientific, political, and business developments.
As a tool for evaluation, bibliometrics can foresee the developments in different fields and the roles that are played differs according to the growth and development. The mere existence of bibliometrics replaced the traditional sources of information storage devices and it is undergoing change due to innovative ideas in science and technology. “the traditional information entities (scientific articles and the citations given to and taken from them) are replaced by webpages with external and internal links.
The methodological studies are intended to test the usability of large international citation databases and the World Wide Web as feasible and reliable tools in quantitative analyses for gathering useful information for business intelligence” (Irene Wormell, 2001)
When the world wide web came into existence, the scope and importance of bibliometrics as an evaluation tool increased, and the analysis of the collected data was considered as much more easier.The commercial value of bibliometrics as a field scientific research is booming and it is because of the development of important international bibliometric databases. The impact of bibliometrics is rapidly developing in important areas like nanotechnology and biotechnology.
Use of webometrics in maping and mathematical models
The advantage of webometrics upon bibliometrics is that it is web related and contains a wide range of scholarly related artifacts. The research related to webometrics is conducted by both information scientists and computer scientists, but the motivation and the end result may be different.
Here, Moses A. Boudourides, Beatrice Sigrist and Philippos D. Alevizos point out that webometrics is highly useful in the construction of cognitive maps and mathematical models of the web. “Abraham (1996, 1996a) has undertaken several steps into what he calls “webometry” aiming to the construction of cognitive maps and mathematical models of the web. Among them an interesting technique, he describes, is a complete, step-by-step procedure for the measurement of the connectivity of a sub-web of the web” (Moses A. Boudourides, Beatrice Sigrist and Philippos D. Alevizos, 1999)
As the webometrics is considered as an offshoot of bibliometrics, there exists a wide difference and webometrics undergoes transformation. But there is rare chance for bibliometrics to be a part of modern technology because it is far behind and is considered as outdated. Only the similarity that can be seen is that both are helpful in scholarly fields and the scope of webometrics is ever widening. When the field of information science is considered, webometrics is expanded from the initial focus on bibliometric style investigations to descriptive and social science oriented research.
Influence of webometrics on websites
The evolution of webometrics can be traced under the influence and response to new web developments. Moreover, it provides valuable descriptive results to the various fields that are associated with and it is commercially applicable to data mining techniques. For example, when a research project is started by publishing a website, it can be analyzed with webometrics long before its research is published.
Aminpour and Farzaneh is of the opinion that the studies and surveys which were intended to trace the influence and interrelation between webometrics and web prove that both are closely related and influence each other. To a Medical University it is crucial that it may be ranked low because of fewer web pages published. “Finally the universities ranked according to these parameters.
The results show that although Tehran University of Medical Sciences is first in the number of web pages. The overall results suggest that Iranian universities of medical sciences are not well known internationally due to their poor scholarly publications and focus on Persian language in their web pages.” (Aminpour and Farzaneh, 27 February 2008)
Studies related to the reliability and influence of webometrics and web proves that both influence and is supported by each other. When a survey is conducted in Iran on the basis of web pages, Tehran University of Medical Sciences came first in the number of web pages.
This survey proves that the Medical Universities in Iran are not internationally well known because of the poor scholarly publications and due importance given to Persian language in the web pages of their Medical Universities. So, it can be concluded that webometrics and web is interrelated and influence each other.
The transition of Bibliometrics to Webometrics
Through the investigation of the research evidences, it has been maintained that there are various types of developments in the field of Library and information science (LIS) and in the subsequent fields in the sociology of science and science and technology studies. The innovations in the area include an assortment of theories and methodologies with reference to quantitative aspects of producing different types of information, their organisation, dissemination and the employment by different users in various contexts.
The methods and strategies in the area that are now considered as contributing to the transformation in the area mainly include webometrics. These developments in area have been a historical phenomenon and it started during the first half of the twentieth century.
The developments in the area can be traced as arousing from the statistical studies of bibliographies and scientific journals and these early studies exposed bibliometric power laws such as Lotka’s law on productivity distribution among scientists. Other such significant laws include Bradford’s law on the dissemination of literature on a particular topic over different journals and Zipf’s law of word frequencies in texts. There have also been several such power-law distributions which are identified on the Web.
The distribution of TLDs (top level domains) on a given topic or inlinks per Web site etc are examples of these. The development of the Web has been mainly as a global document network which initially developed for scholarly use. It is at the present occupied by a diversity of users and used for various purposes. These characteristic features of the Web represent a reasonable research field for bibliometrics and the subsequent areas of scientometrics and informetrics.
In the current studies in library and information science the innovations in the area have acquired pertinent significance. Webometrics as well as cybermetrics contribute to such studies and they are currently the two most commonly adopted terms in the promising research fields. To understand webometrics in its complete sense, the definition of the term by Björneborn may be useful.
He defines it as “The study of the quantitative aspects of the construction and use of information resources, structures and technologies on the Web drawing on bibliometric and informetric approaches.” (Björneborn,L. (2004). Small-world link structures across an academic Web space: A library and information science approach.
Doctoral dissertation, Royal School of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen, Denmark) In other words, webometrics can be comprehended as the quantitative analysis of web phenomena which draws upon informetric methods, and characteristically addresses the problems associated with bibliometrics. (L. Björneborn and P. Ingwersen, Toward a basic framework for webometrics, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 55(14) (2004) pp 1216-1227)
It is also significant to comprehend that webometrics is the result of the recognition that the web is a gargantuan document ordnance which includes many academic-related documents. (T.C. Almind and P. Ingwersen, Informetric analyses on the World Wide Web: Methodological approaches to ‘Webometrics’, Journal of Documentation 53(4) (1997) 404-426)
In addition, there are various other aspects of the web which contribute to the research studies. Thus, the web incorporates citation indexes which are in the form of commercial search engines, and this has great value to the researchers who may exploit these facilities. In this connection one may also maintain that the major search engines of the modern age extent search results involuntarily to the computer programs of the researchers. The provision of these facilities permits comprehensive researches in the modern world.
It is most significant to establish that the ranking of the world universities based upon their web sites and online impact has been an important and most observable output of webometrics. (I.F. Aguillo et al., Scientific research activity and communication measured with cybermetrics indicators, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 57(10) (2006) 1296-1302)
In this analysis of the transformation of bibliometrics to webometrics, it is also of immense value to relate that the facilities that are provided in the webometrics have superior advantage compared to bibliometrics. Link analysis, web citation analysis, search engine evaluation and purely descriptive studies of the web are the various attractive features of webometrics. The several types of webometrics research have been performed by information scientists as well as computer scientists though their motivations differ.
It is most relevant to note that webometrics, in the information science, has expanded from its original focus on bibliometric-style investigations to more evocative and social science oriented research. Research evidences confirm that the techniques of webometric will still advance more and reach new heights in response to new web developments which endeavour to supply priceless colourful results.
It is most significant to relate to some of the most applicable aspects of webometrics in relation to the traditional bibliometrics. These superior characteristics of the webometrics in relation to bibliometrics play a central role in the transformation of the traditional bibliometrics to more innovative and advantageous webometrics. As Mike Thelwall maintains, there are three main appeals of webometrics in contrast to traditional bibliometrics. “First, the web can be timelier than the ISI databases.
A typical research project might get funded, conduct research, report findings and then submit articles to journals. The time lag between the start of the project and the publication of the results in a journal is likely to be at least two years. Hence ISI-based bibliometrics is inevitably always retrospective, describing the research of years ago.
In contrast, a research project might start by publishing a web site and could therefore be analysed with webometrics long before its research is published. The second advantage of the web is that it contains a wide range of scholarly-related artefacts, including presentations, patents, data, software and general web sites.
Hence webometrics is potentially able to gather a wide range of evidence of research impact or connections. Finally, the web is free to access for all web users and so it potentially opens bibliometric-style analyses to those who could not access or afford ISI data.” (Mike Thelwall, Bibliometrics to Webometrics, Journal of Information Science, 34 (4) 2007, pp. 1–18)
The greater significance of the webometrics compared to the bibliometrics has been maintained through the years in several researches in the area. All these studies also concentrate on the investigation of how the development of webometrics from the bibliometrics happened historically.
It is of primary notice that the virtual space is an existing material development of the information society and the development in the webometrics needs to be related in this connection. This social structure has given rise to more sophisticated and advantageous system of webometrics compared to the traditional bibliometrics. Bibliometrics and scientometrics were the original systems in library science and these were the primary applied to books and scientific articles respectively.
In contrast to these techniques which relate to books and scientific articles, webometrics may be established as a methodology for the World-Wide-Web and the most innovative strategies in the field. In their study of webometrics and the self-organisation of the European information society, Moses A Boudourides et al point out that the increased implication of electronic communication, in particular, of the Internet is the most relevant development in the area for a long time now.
These developments also correspond to the digital libraries, big distributed data bases, and other networked computerised resources which broaden and substitute traditional printed media. “Bibliometrics,” as they define it, “is the quantitative study of patterns in written communication as in books, journals and other printed material.
When it refers to scientific production and communication, it is usually called scientometrics. This field was initiated in the sixties by the pioneering work of Derek de Solla Price, Maurice Goldsmith and Eugene Garfield. The common source of data for this analysis is the Science Citation Index (SCI) and the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), both of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI).
To discern this intellectual structure of science, scientometric techniques were developed and used.” (Moses A Boudourides et al, Webometrics and the Self-Organization of the European Information Society) http://hyperion.math.upatras.gr/webometrics/ These explorations relate to the developments in the area that led to the ultimate establishment of the webometrics.
In the development of the webometrics, various factors are included which may be comprehended in relation to the web. Thus, there is also scope for the feasibility analysis of bibliometrics on the web. Investigations in the area also correspond to the scope of scientometric analyses that can gain consistent and interpretable results at the level of the web.
As the web stands for Cyberspace and it develops a social structure, there is ample provision for webometrics which may be the best on the hand methodology to analyse this social structure. According to Moses A Boudourides et al, webometrics is the quantitative studies of electronic communication realised by the extremely linked web.
According to Almind and Ingwersen, the utilisation of traditional informetric processes can be comprehended as a preliminary topic of analysis on the web. It is commonly feasible for any kind of statistical aspects including language, word, and phrase frequencies, the characteristics of authors, their productivity and the degree of their collaboration.
Accordingly, the traditional informetric methods are also useful as citation analysis for the allocation over authors, institutions, and for the measure of growth of a subject or a database. The related growth of new concepts, definition and measurement of information and types and characteristics of recovery performance measure etc also can be comprehended in this background. (Almind, Tomas, C.; Ingwersen, Peter (1997): Informetric analyses on the World Wide Web: Methodological Approaches to ‘Webometrics’. In: Journal of Documentation, Vol 53:4, 404-426)
Webometrics can be clearly comprehended as “the study of quantitative aspects of the construction and use of information resources, structures, and technologies on the Web, drawing on bibliometric and informetric approaches” (Björneborn, L. (2004). Small-world link structures across an academic Web space: A library and information science approach.
Doctoral dissertation, Royal School of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen, Denmark) There are four main research areas of webometric concerns according to Björneborn and they are web page content analysis, web link structure analysis, web usage analysis, and web technology analysis.
Recent developments in Informetrics and Webometrics
The most recent development in the field of informetrics corresponds to the transition of bibliometrics to webometrics. Webometrics which is a subcategory of informetrics suggest the most updated developments in the field. Whereas Wilson (1999) through his exceptional review article contributed to the awareness of the developments in informetrics, there have been several current studies which focus on the sub-topic webometrics.
The more recent review of webometrics by Thelwall, Vaughan, and Bj¨orneborn (2005) includes such relevant studies. Tague-Sutcliffe’s definition of informetrics seems to provide a starting point on the topics and according to them, “Informetrics is the study of the quantitative aspects of information in any form, not just records or bibliographies, and in any social group, not just scientists”. (p. 1, Tague-Sutcliffe, J. (1992)
According to Egghe the informetrics is “the broad term comprising all the—metrics studies related to information science, including bibliometrics (bibliographies, libraries…), scientometrics (science policy, citation analysis, research evaluation, …), webometrics (metrics of the web, the Internet or other social networks such as citation or collaboration networks)…” (p. 1311, Egghe, L. (2005)
Whereas Hood and Wilson (2001) endow with a wide-ranging argument of the terms informetrics, bibliometrics and scientometrics, it was Bj¨orneborn and Ingwersen (2004) who concentrated on the most innovative metrics of webometrics.
According to them, webometrics studies concerning the Web, is a subcategory of cybermetrics which means studies of all Internet applications, though these are frequently used interchangeably. The work by Hood and Wilson (2001) has immense value as it focuses on the usage and the history of scientometrics, bibliometrics and informetrics which can contribute to a perfect awareness of the developments in the area.
In the analysis of the recent developments in informetrics and webometrics, the usefulness of an investigation of the citation analysis is immense as it provides evidence for the historical growth and transformation of bibliometrics. Moed (2005) in his book on citation analysis, Citation Analysis in Research Evaluation, concentrated on the assessment of scholarly research presentation of individuals, groups and institutions aiming at demonstrating that citation analysis is a valuable device in these evaluations.
The book also has immense value as it ponders over the uses and limits of citation analysis. Citations networks, according to Davenport and Cronin (2000), are prototypes for representing trust in virtual environments.
Cronin (2000) understood references, citations and acknowledgements in terms of signs, and discusses the reciprocal relations between references and citations. Citation networks, as Fang and Rousseau (2001) perceived, are lattices which comprise diamonds as the basis structures. The term diamonds is equivalent to bibliographic coupling and to co-citation.
Cocitation analysis is another related area which in present time gave way to substantial debate on the appropriate similarity measure to be used in the topic. Whereas some critics in the field favoured Pearson’s view (White, 2003b; Bensman, 2004), there have also been severe criticisms against its use. (Ahlgren, Jarneving, and Rousseau, 2003)
The author cocitation analysis is an example for the cocitation study in the recent years which was done in the field of human behavioural ecology (Sandstrom, 2001). The application of cocitation analysis of extremely cited papers by Small (2006) tracking the emergence and growth of research areas also needs mention. In the current era, the creation of cocitation clusters for overlapping periods of time suggests the developments in the area. Significantly, this technique is illustrated for and used in some promising fields such as webometrics.
The emergence of webometrics also indicates the developments in the area of indicators including h-text and impact factor and other bibliometric indicators. These developments suggest the immediate emergence of webometrics and connect to the most modern innovations on the transformation of the webometrics from the traditional bibliometrics.
There have been several developments related to the h-index and the definition of h-index as given by Hirsch (2005) has significant value. “A scientist has index h if h of his or her Np papers have at least h citations each and the other (Np–h) papers have ≤h citations each.” (Hirsch, 2005, p. 16569) The h-index is a distinct indicator that characterises the scientific production of a researcher and this is the most observable advantage of the technique.
According to Batista, Campiteli, Kinouchi, and Martinez (2006) the h-index is field dependent and they recommend modification of the measure to give an explanation for multi-authorship. Ronald Rousseau in his “Reflections on Recent Developments of the H-Index and H-Type Indices” lists out the advantages of the h-index. The list was prepared on the basis of the studies by Hirsch (2005), Glänzel (2006) and Liu & Rousseau (2007). These are as follows:
- It is a mathematically simple index.
- It is a better index than total number of publications or total number of citations alone.
- It encourages high quality (or at least highly visible) work.
- The h-index can be applied to any level of aggregation. This means: not only to scientists but also to different groups of scientists, such as all scientists belonging to a research institute, belonging to a university, even belonging to the same country.
- It combines two types of activity (in the original setting this is citation impact and publications).
- Increasing the number of publications alone does not have an immediate effect on this index.
- It is a robust indicator in the sense that small errors in data collection have no or little effect.
- Single peaks (top publications) have hardly any influence on the h-index.
- In principle, any document type can be included.
- Publications that are hardly ever cited do not influence the h-index. (Reflections on recent developments of the h-index and h-type indices, by Ronald Rousseau).
The background and history of the impact factor also suggest the development in the indices. Gl¨anzel and Moed (2002) explicate the strong points and the issues of impact factor and investigate upon the technical and methodological features of the indicator. Rousseau (2002b) reviews the different types of impacts factors and the major issues surrounding them whereas Ingwersen, Larsen, Rousseau, and Russell (2001) elucidate on the variation between synchronous and diachronous impact factors. There have also been several other bibliometric indicators which indicate the emergence of webometrics.
Webometrics can be identified as the most recent and advantageous development among these innovations in informetrics. That is to say, this promising subfield of informetrics, i.e. webometrics, has given rise to the most sophisticated innovations in the field. There have been several studies on the emergence of webometrics.
According to Judit Bar-Ilan, “Webometrics, or more exactly “Web impact factors, Web links, Journal Web sites, university Web sites and counting links” is also defined as one of the research fronts in ISI (Thomson)’s Essential Science Indicators.” (Judit Bar-Ilan, Informetrics at the beginning of the 21st century—A review, ScienceDirect, Journal of Informetrics 2 (2008) 1–52) The usefulness of Web and the Internet in the research activities is often maintained and their influence on research indicates also the scope of webometrics. According to the results of surveys by Barjak, there has been a positive relationship between Internet use and research productivity. (Barjak, 2006)
At this point, it is also relevant to make an evaluation of web impact factor of webometrics sites. Web impact factor of webometrics sites is one of the areas that need to be comprehended well. Until the emergence of the Web, informetrics was concerned chiefly with the printed publications. The usefulness of the bibliographical databases, especially the citation databases as major sources of informetric data is notable. There is immense distinction between the Web and Web data.
These differences are due to the size of the Web, the dynamic nature of Web pages and Web links and the available tools to study the Web such as crawlers and commercial search engines. “Thus it is of utmost importance to understand the challenges, the features, and the limitations of this new medium and the tools for studying it. Because of the problems with direct application of informetric analysis… it is necessary to develop new measures and indicators to study the Web.
Obviously, the Web cannot be ignored in the informetric setting, since it has become a major information and communication source in both the academic and everyday life.” (Judit Bar-Ilan, Informetrics at the beginning of the 21st century—A review, ScienceDirect, Journal of Informetrics 2 (2008) 1–52)
In an analysis of the web impact factor, the relevance of link pages including the internal in-links and external in-links is often established. The traditional formula for counting Web Impact Factors or WIFs may be understood as the total number of link pages, which includes internal in-links as well as external in-links, divided by the total number of web pages indexed by the search engine. “This gives a figure of what impact the studied sites have on the web.
It’s a simple measure of how often a single page has been linked to in average or what kind of impact a single web page has created on average. Web sites with higher WIF could be considered to be more prestigious or to have higher impact on the web than sites with a lower WIF.” (Web impact factor of webometrics sites).
The studies in the informetrics suggested that its techniques could be applied to the Web. Thus, Larson (1996) concluded that cocitation analysis has immense possibility as it may be applied when citations are substituted with links. According to Rousseau (1997), Lotka functions (power laws) are useful as they can explain the distribution of areas for a given query, and also the distribution of links to the retrieved Web pages. Whereas Bar-Ilan (1997) indicated the applicability of Bradford’s law for postings in newsgroups,
Ingwersen (1998) commenced the concept of Web Impact Factor (WIF) which is the analogue of Impact Factor. He also suggested how the AltaVista search engine is useful in the calculation of the Web Impact Factors. According to him, the Web Impact Factor is the natural analogue of the Impact Factor, i.e. “the number of pages linking to a site divided by the number of pages in the site. External-WIF (excluding linking pages that reside on the given site) was also defined.
Later these measures were refined by Thelwall (2001), who showed that when considering links between university websites within the UK a WIF, where only pages linking to research oriented pages within the Web site divided by the number of full-time equivalent faculty members correlated best with the results of the UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).” (Judit Bar-Ilan, Informetrics at the beginning of the 21st century—A review, ScienceDirect, Journal of Informetrics 2 (2008) 1–52).
In this analysis of the webometrics, it is also viable to have a thorough understanding of the data collection methods of the system. Thus, it will be specifically noted that there are two most important methods of data collection for webometric research. They are crawlers and search engines. As Judit Bar-Ilan would suggest, “Commercial search engines are not primarily intended for webometric research, thus they have many limitations for these kinds of applications.
On the other hand for building, running and maintaining crawlers, technical and programming knowledge, computing and storage resources and time are needed… The crawler is freely available from http://socscibot.wlv.ac.uk/, the existing crawls and tools for analyzing the data are available from http://cybermetrics.wlv.ac.uk/database/.” (Judit Bar-Ilan, Informetrics at the beginning of the 21st century—A review, ScienceDirect, Journal of Informetrics 2 (2008) 1–52).
The commercial search engines, though they are freely available, are not the perfect tools for collecting data for webometric research. It is in this connection that the value of academic web is often maintained. It is primary to recognise that the informetricians largely depend on academic web sites and academic use of the Web. The various studies in the area also suggested the value of academic sites. The academic researches mainly focus on such sources and there are several commercial sites which also relate to the question.
Judit Bar-Ilan has dealt with a profound review of the informetric literature published between 2000 and 2006. This review provides an important study material in an analysis of the transformation of bibliometrics to webometrics. The conclusion put forward by this review has immense value in this discussion.
“At the beginning of the 21st century, besides the “traditional” major informetric topics, citation analysis, theory and productivity measures that continue to thrive, we witness the emergence of new topics, like webometrics, the h-index and open and electronic access and the strengthening of previously existing topics, like mapping and visualization, text and data mining.
A major development that influences informetrics is that besides the ISI Citation Databases there is an additional comprehensive citation database, Elsevier’s Scopus, and even though it has limitations, Google Scholar provides freely available citation data. In addition the number of regional (citation) databases is growing.” (Judit Bar-Ilan, 2008).
Comparison and contrast between bibliometrics and webometrics
Bibliometrics and webometrics are both related with library and information science. It is the quantitative study of prototypes in written communication in books and journals. After the induction of computerization and Internet it has improved and simplified in a wide perspective. The emergence of the Internet during the 1990s gave way to globalization at a supra-institutional level which developed direct relations between science, technology, and the market economy.
The different functional mechanisms maintained a sense of coordination across the world. The web proved to be an interesting and easiest way of accessibility to millions of information about academic searching. On the transition from Bibliometrics to Webometrics would be termed as a contemporary mechanism during this period.
Webometrics is used for conducting relational analysis such as Identifying group of organizations and departments have similar research subjects in which IT communication has an important role. These researches can assess how the research groups use information. Comparing to bibliometrics, webometrics is based on modernised scholarly activities. It may be a compulsory function. As Sean B. Eom suggests: “The terms bibliometrics, librametry scientometrics, and informetrics are frequently used interchangeably.
Even in the late 1980s, all three terms were not clearly distinguishable from one another. The chaotic state of terminologies existed until the late 1980s” (Sean B. Eom) The webometrics plays the role to helping us to understand how researchers and other scholars use web and share information.
The diagram given below describes the conceptions of informetrics, bibliometrics, webometrics and scientometrics. The informetrics field in the diagram embracing the overlapping fields of bibliometrics and scientometrics. As per the diagram it is presumed that bibliometrics observes the quantitative aspects of the creation, distribution and use of stored information. The figure further shows the field of webometrics entirely comes under bibliometrics.
Being the recorded information stored on web servers, the web documents regardless to its form of text or multimedia are related to bibliometrics. Unlike the older version of conventional bibliometrics which uses archival system of paper documents, Webometrics is, by virtue, temporary only. Webometrics is somewhat covered by scientometrics, since majority of the scholarly activities today are web-based whilst other such activities are even beyond bibliometrics, i.e. non-recorded, like inter-personnel conversation.
Furthermore, webometrics is entirely covered by the field of cyber metrics. In the given diagram, cyber metrics arena stretches out or exceeds out from bibliometrics. This is due to its some activities that are often communicated synchronously, not stored always, like in chat rooms. In the process of online chatting a sort of direct communication process is going on. No information is saved during that time or the activity relating to recoding or storing is not required during that process. So, some times it got such exceptions.
Relationships between the LIS fields of infor-/biblio-/sciento-/cyber-/webo-metrics. Sizes of the overlapping ellipses are made for sake of clarity only.
In the existing techniques bibliometrics accepts the webometrics as the family member and expands the field of its scope of IT based information gathering, as webometrics inevitably will contribute with further methodological developments of web-specific approaches. As ideas rooted in bibliometrics, scientometrics and informetrics contributed to the emergence of webometrics, ideas in webometrics might now contribute to the development of these embracing fields.
Bibliometrics is based on library and information science. It is the quantitative study of prototypes in written communication in books and journals. The web reveals new informations about academic searching. Webometrics is used for relational analysis such as Identifying group of organizations and departments have similar research subjects. These researches can assess how the research groups use information.
Comparing to bibliometrics, webometrics is based on scholarly activities. It may be a compulsory function. The webometrics plays the role to helping us to understand how researchers and other scholars use web and share information. In bibliometrics, researchers are inspired to follow only the subject matter. Bibliograpy is based on some recorded information. This recording may be temporary as all paper is not properly stored. Today scholarly activities are based on web.
Others practice bibliometrics. Only a minority are beyond bibliometrics and webometrics.. They go through other faculties like non recorded information and person to person conservation etc. The field of cybermetrics exceeds the boundaries of bibliometrics; some activities in webomatrics are not recorded but rather communicated synchronously.
We can say that the ideas contained in bibliometrics and informatics has contributed to the emergence of webometrics: “Webometrics, a modern, fast-growing offshoot of bibliometrics, is reviewed in detail. Finally, future prospects are discussed with regard to both bibliometrics and webometrics”. (Bibliometrics to webometrics) Webometrics inevitably lead to a different terminology. In the case of a problematic terminology webometrics have the favour of an external link.
Webometrics widely accept two terms llke in-link and out-link. In- link means information directed to the subject. The term out-link provides a wider meaning. Both are related to the field of computer science. The underlying notion is that the use of both bibliometrics and webometrics concepts are more similar in other words both are semantically related. When we are zooming on site it may be joined with a lot of subunits in the shape of subtitles and are arranged hierarchically.
Here a person who search will get chance to go secondary data. These kind of adequate terminology makes clear three elements
- It modifies researcher’s investigated ling level
- consuming the highest level of knowledge transformation and provides
- an easy acquisition of information.
In bibliometrics, researchers are inspired to follow only the subject matter. Bibliograpy is based on some recorded information. This recording may be temporary as all paper is not properly stored. Today scholarly activities are based on web. Others practice bibliometrics. Only a minority are beyond bibliometrics and webometrics..
They go through other faculties like non recorded information and person to person conservation etc. The field of cybermetrics exceeds the boundaries of bibliometrics; some activities in webomatrics are not recorded but rather communicated synchronously.
Webometrics is improbable to replace the traditional bibliometrics but can be useful for some other purpose. First it can be used for fast pilot studies to recognize areas for follow up regular bibliometric analyses. Next it can be used to evaluate how far the researchers are successful in publicizing their product online. Thirdly it can be used for relational analyses of statement in corrective of geographic areas of science.
In spite of differences, both of them are parallels in the field of knowledge transformation. Both bibliometrics and webometrics are the result of intellectual effort, both of them provides information and subject to a process of examination.
As bibliometrics is used as a tool for evaluation and ranking of achievement of research institutes or university departments, the publications are still published in native language of the researchers. But webometrics is used in higher education institutions and the web itself poses a large number of challenges to perform web studies.
Alexander Botte points out that worldwide bibliometric approaches offers several high prized information products. The American Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) is such a company which offers valuable information products worldwide. “The American Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), now part of the Thomson Company offers several high prized information products which build the basis for most of all bibliometric approaches worldwide.
Through the so called ‘Web of Knowledge’ you can get access to the three core citation indexes: The Science Citation Index, the Social SCI and the Arts and Humanities CI (SCI, SSCI, AHCI).” (Alexander Botte, September 2004) If you are interested to get access to the core indexes, you can choose among three core indexes: namely The Science Citation Index, the Social SCI and the Arts and Humanities CI (SCI, SSCI, AHCI) Bibliometrics offers better visibility and accessibility to valuable research undertaken by scholars.
Moreover, it is useful for planning future focal points of research. But the data extracted from hyperlinks is so limited. So, by comparing and contrasting both the evaluation tools and the mediums of communication, it can be concluded that the advantages of webomerics covers its disadvantages and it is considered as more valuable than bibliometrics in the field of research, science and technology etc.
Webometrics is improbable to replace the traditional bibliometrics but can be useful for some other purpose. First it can be used for fast piolet studies to recognize areas for follow up regular bibliometric analyses.
Next it can be used to evaluate how far the researchers are successful in publicising their product online. Thirdly it can be used for relational analyses of statement in corrective of geographic areas of science. In spite of differences both of them are parallels in the field of knowledge transformation. Both bibliometrics and webometrics are the result of intellectual effort, both of them provides information and subject to a process of examination.
Discussion and Analysis
It is evident from the literature reviewed that the scope of bibliometrics has increased considerably due to its wide application in library science and informatics. It is widely employed in the scientific, academic and literary scenario, opening wider horizons of knowledge for information seekers and academics.
The transition from bibliometrics to webometrics has accelerated sharing of information as it is devoid of the formalities of printing and publishing. Scientific research has assumed new realms with the emergence of Bibliometrics and Webometrics as two interlinked tools of evaluation.
The methodology of bibliometrics has become crucial for the documentation of scientific research (Daniel Ramón Ríos, 2000), and has equipped both scholars and students with existing knowledge and resources (David J. Kerr, 2004). Irene Wormell (2001) postulates that bibliometrics is an effective tool of evaluation in assessing the political, scientific and business developments.
For Moses A. Boudourides, Beatrice Sigrist and Philippos D. Alevizos (1999) reinforce the significance of bibliometrics in the construction of cognitive maps. All these literature reviewed point to the scope and significance of both bibliometrics and webometrics in various fields and disciplines and one can undoubtedly state that the future horizons of knowledge and information sharing will be best explored with the usage of bibliometrics and webometrics.
The increasing rate of various World Wide Webs and web designs has accelerated the development and growth of both the disciplines and they have considerably added to the accessibility of various information.
A discussion on the literature review also shows one how bibliometrics and webometrics have developed themselves to be highly influential. As the International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science makes it clear, “The utilization of online bibliometric methods for trend analysis, issue management, knowledge mapping and generating business and social INTELLIGENCE is a trend that extends the boundaries of the field and signifies its multidisciplinary character” (p. 319- 320).
Bibliometrics has given way to the spread of Webometrics as internet and web articles formed a majority of the information shared. The scope of Webometrics has increased considerably as it deals with web page, content analysis, their structure and then way search engines like google or yahoo perform. Webometrics has been regarded as one of the most innovative developments in the field of information science or informetrics.
Under webometrics, the web is regarded as a “dynamic citation network where the traditional information entities and citations are replaced by Web pages, with hyperlinks acting rather like citations” (p. 320) ( International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science. Edited by John Feather & Paul Sturges.Routledge : New York, 2003. ). The immense possibility of webometrics lies in the fact that it provides international link towards various information and makes possible the statistical data regarding web links on various issues and topics.
The interrelation between webometrics and World Wide Webs is clearly depicted by Aminpour and Farzaneh (2008) and one can clearly take it for granted that the rapid spread of various World Wide Webs foreshow the areas that webometrics is still to establish its domain. The literature reviewed throws light on the interrelationship between both bibliometrics and webometrics, maintaining both a comparative and contrastive study between the two.
Even though the terms bibliometrics, informetrics and webometrics are used interchangeably, there are considerable differences among the three. Both bibliometrics and webometrics form parts of the larger whole informetrics. In fact, webometrics is an offshoot of bibliometrics even though the former has been fast-growing due to the immense development in the field of science and technology and the subsequent increase in the number of internet users. Therefore, webometrics covers a wide range of area and has proved to be the best evaluation tool in the field of research, science and technology.
A discussion on the recent developments in informetrics and webometrics deserve primary attention in this regard. The development in the field of webometrics is closely linked with the citation analysis and it provides evidence for the historical growth and development of Webometrics as a separate branch ( Moed 2005).
The reciprocal relationship between references and citations has formed a theoretical basis for biliometrics (Davenport and Cronin (2000) and the advanced form of co-citation analysis can be considered as yet another recent development in this regard. Recent bibliometric indicators in this field like the h-text and impact factor have provided new dimension to the immense possibility of webometrics. The h-index is regarded as a distinct indicator that evaluates the scientific production of a researcher (Hirsch (2005) and as such it has a significant value for webometrics.
The transition of bibliometrics to webometrics has given rise to several advantageous condition in the academic and research field. The immense popularity of the Web has given a great scope for webometrics. Webometrics has great role in the modern information world and it is defined as the study of the quantitative aspects of the construction and use of information resources, structures and technologies on the Web, drawing on bibliometric and informetric approaches.
This definition of the webometrics gives a complete picture of the various elements included in it. Thus, the study of the webometrics sees the method as incorporating the quantitative aspects of both the construction side and the usage side of the Web. In this analysis it was found that there are four chief areas of present webometric research.
They are Web page content analysis, Web link structure analysis, Web usage analysis which includes log files of users’ searching and browsing behaviour, and Web technology analysis such as search engine performance. It is significant to comprehend that all the four core research areas suggested above consist of studies of changes on the dynamic Web of page contents, link structures and usage patterns over time.
The definition of webometrics concludes that the innovation in the area is in line with bibliometrics and informetrics. As Lennart Björneborn puts it, “this domain lineage is stressed by the formulation “drawing on bibliometric and informetric approaches” because “drawing on” denotes a heritage without limiting further methodological developments of Web-specific approaches, including the incorporation of approaches of Web studies in computer science, social network analysis, hypertext research, media studies, and so forth.” (Small-World Link Structures across an Academic Web Space: A Library and Information Science Approach, Lennart Björneborn).
In fact, webometrics can be best comprehended as a sub category of the developments in informetrics.
Conclusions and Findings
In the modern technologically advanced world, the developments in the communication sector are always stressed. These developments including the Web, wide application of Internet, and research methodology gave rise to advanced use of bibliometrics scholarly publishing. The traditional methods of researches and studies in the period of books and journals concentrated on bibliometrics and the subsequent techniques.
However, the development in the communication field helped a drastic change of bibliometrics and the related techniques in the research strategy towards the implementation of the webometrics and other innovations in the area. That is to say, the transformation of webometrics from the traditional bibliometrics has been found the result of the various background conditions which contribute to the advancement in communication.
In the last fifty years, the academic world has seen two central technological changes in scholarly publishing as well as two main changes in the way research may be quantitatively analysed. There have also been copious less important developments in the field. The computerisation of the printing process and the exchange of the entire publishing cycle, such as submission of articles, refereeing and publication, to the Internet are the two publishing changes that provided the favourable environment for the transition of webometrics from bibliometrics.
The creation of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI, now Thomson Scientific) citation database linked with the sociological theory contributed the first major change for the development of quantitative analysis. “The second major development for bibliometrics was the web publishing of an increasingly broad range of research-related documents, from articles to email discussion lists, allowing the creation of a range of new metrics relating to their access and use.” (Mike Thelwall, Bibliometrics to Webometrics, Journal of Information Science, 34 (4) 2007, pp. 1–18).
In short, the transition of webometrics from bibliometrics has been the result of the environment which provided the precondition for the change. To be specific, this transformation of the bibliometrics to webometrics took place in 1958 when there was change in all recognition of bibliometrics in scholarly research.
The technique of bibliometrics which was once the centre of numerous science assessment research groups around the world as well as the method deeply discussed in the field of library and information science gave way to more advanced and innovative techniques of research. Webometrics, which is the key component of the infometrics, has been found the most innovative development in the area.
The development and transition of the webometrics from the traditional bibliometrics has been historical in character. The work of Eugene Garfield and his Science Citation Index played a central role in this development. In this paper the focus has been on the transition from bibliometrics to webometrics which has an immense value in the current scholarly research.
In the analysis of this historical transition of the traditional bibliometrics to innovative webometrics since 1958 has been mainly by comparing early bibliometrics with webometrics and an investigation into the current developments in the area. Apart from giving an outline of the variety of recent developments in the webometrics, the study also conducted an analysis of the historical development of webometrics. The ultimate conclusion of the study has been that webometrics is the most modern, innovative, and fast-growing, offshoot of bibliometrics.
The study brought out some useful conclusions that are very much in support of the growing importance of webometrics over Bibliometrics. The transition from Bibliometrics to webometrics can rightly be understood under the context of the recent developments in the field of science and technology that man has acquired.
The transformation from Bibliometrics to webometrics has witnessed a number of techniques, laws, researches and innovations that passed through ages. Though both of the research related terms deals with Library and Information science, they differ in their style of application. Bibliometrics uses various techniques like citation analysis, co-citation anaylysis and hard copies of publications and information sources, whereas webometrics completely depends on the web world for the sources.
The detailed analysis about both researching tools and their transition reveals about the significant developments of related applications, national research evaluation exercises, online citation indexes, patent analysis, visualization methods and use of digital libraries.
With the advent of computerization, all processes relating to the printing and publishing cycle have been relied upon computers and internet. It provided the publishing world a faster and fairly cheaper business environment. Bibliometrics related works relied up on conventional printing process which is more time consuming. But Web related printing and publishing process of academic and scholarly works can be easily accessible or retrievable.
Bibliometric methods of assessment confirm the writer’s influence in literature. It also provides a tool for judging more than one writers or comparing their works. Various laws like Lotka’s law, Bradford’s law and Zipf’s law are used as special techniques for the said research. But all of the above mentioned laws are not statistically precise every time.
Modern trends of bibliometric research is concentrated on three main target groups ie. Library science, scientific information retrieval, and making science policy. Its scope of research extended from Library science to information retrieval and finally to Sociology of Science.
Based on the growth of bibliometrics, the methodology has developed its own branches. Data sources of bibliometrics research and technology are considered as outdated and there must be a renovation to introduce a new way of updated technology. The limitation of bibliometrics is that it faces the problem of outdated system of printing and publishing which was more time consuming.
It is evident from the literature review that Webometrics has wider scope and significance in various fields like scientific research, academic scenario and engineering/ medical / biotechnology / nano technology/ polictics / business / space / defense researches. With the increase usage of electronic communication, particularly the use of web, a new form of research technique that transformed the world of information sharing emerged from bibliometrics known as Webometrics.
Based on the study and analysis, it is expected that webometrics is purely and completely associated with internet or web where in the archive would be the modern SAN (Storage Area Network) system whereas the predecessors used the technology of hard copies of publications and information resources for which a physical archival system was needed.
In bibliometrics, the scope of information retrieval is limited, but now it has totally been changed because of the webometrics that extends its range beyond the area premises and spreads its branches across the horizons of knowledge. There is a proverb called ‘physical efforts need time, but logical efforts minimise time’ which has been proved by the advent of Information Technology and Webometrics.
With a single mouse click now a information seeker would get a large number of resources from which he can select or retrieve his choices which is entirely different from older times retrieval of depending on a common technique of indexing information related publications or materials. However the conventional archival system its relative bibliometrics system has most reliable archival set up. But one cannot rely up on the information provided in the Web because of non availability of its authenticity.
Anyone can upload whatever information he wants to do. In that case, bibliometry is a honest friend of researchers. Keeping view of the above said limitations the web world often introduces secured information exchange system time to time where in proper encryption or password techniques are employed.
The major findings of the study are the following
It is evident that there exists a digital divide between the people who are able to own a personal computer and web connectivity, and those who are unable to attain the same. Now bibliometrics is considered as outdated and time consuming. Future developments will be based upon the advanced form of bibliometrcs ie; webometrics.
All the research works that are done with the help of bibliometrics will be handed over to webometrics. The scope of bibliometrics is limited and at the same time the scope of webometrics is everwidening. Earlier bibliometrics was so useful in library management but the scope of printing and publishing of literary and academic work in the form of web pages diminished the scope of bibliometrics as a medium of communication and data transfer.
All the results of the development and innovative ideas in web related research positively influence the chance of webometrics as a virtual media. The limitations of bibliometrics limit its scope but everwidening web and its access in various virtual media nourish the webometrics. As webometrics is the offshoot of bibliometrics, it possesses the solid base of the latter and it ponders new ideas and makes the extreme use of available resources.
According to the users, the usefulness and applicability of webometrics makes the maximum of time and resource management. So as to search for a specific topic, webometrics helps the user to reach the area within a limited time. Besides, the process of computerization of printing process allows more books to appear in print, and it allows faster and cheaper communication.
- Future development in the field of communication and data transfer will be based on webometrics.
- The scope of webomertics in the field of defence is unlimited so it must be explored to the maximum on give and take policy.
- Research processes which are considered as expensive can be conducted cheaply as webometrics allows uninterrupted flow and storage of data.
- The traditional mode of printing process will come to an end in near future and the role will be transferred to web related printing and publishing.
- The commercialisation of wabometrics is likely to affect the balance of data transfer, so there must be a power to control the whole process.
- Legally, each individual must get the right to access and enjoy the positive aspects of the development in web based printing, publishing and data transfer.
- There must be some restriction upon the monopolization of data and there must be clarity about the equal distribution of accessibility.
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