The use of bibliometrics in research policy and evaluation activities

This NORIA-net aims to coordinate activities and disseminate best practices in bibliometrics, strengthening the expertise and international networking of the participating organisations.

Bibliometric indicators attain increasing attention in national and international evaluations and research policy discussions, also in the Nordic countries. Currently however, the base of the bibliometric analyses (databases used) varies as well as the methods of analysing the data.

It is of key importance to explore and enhance the utilisation of bibliometrics. The basis for developing valid indicators is broad expertise, reliable data, good methods and advanced analysis tools.

There are challenges in using different national and international data sources in terms of quality assurance, comparing and pooling different data sources and cost. The development of sophisticated indicators often requires long-term research. The indicators also have somewhat limited applicability, and their interpretation is rarely straightforward and unproblematic. If used uncritically, bibliometric indicators may lead to flawed conclusions.

They do, however, provide a useful backdrop for discussion as well as for the formulation of new questions. The rapid growth of assessment and evaluation has led to an increased use of various bibliometric indicators describing scientific outcome and productivity, collaboration, as well as visibility and impact. Cooperation improves mutual understanding of interpreting contradictions that often complicate the use of bibliometrics.