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Professional and Citizen Bibliometrics: Complementarities and ambivalences
in the development and use of indicators <> 

Loet Leydesdorff, Paul Wouters, and Lutz Bornmann


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. 


Preprint available at 

** apologies for cross-postings.



Loet Leydesdorff 

Professor, University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)

 <mailto:[log in to unmask]> [log in to unmask] ;
Associate Faculty,  <> SPRU, University of

Guest Professor  <> Zhejiang Univ., Hangzhou;
Visiting Professor,  <> ISTIC,

Visiting Professor,  <> Birkbeck, University of London;



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