66th IFLA Council and General
Jerusalem, Israel, 13-18 August
Code Number: 162-127-E
Division Number: VII
Professional Group: Library Theory and Research
Joint Meeting with: -
Meeting Number: 127
Simultaneous Interpretation: No
The bibliometrics: penetration level in the university teaching of library science and its application in the librarian field in the countries of Mercosur.
Daniel Ramón Ríos
Dirección de Bibliotecas, Provincia de Buenos Aires
The incipient presence of the bibliometics in the university teaching field in the careers of library science of the Mercosur (constituent countries: Argentine, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay- invited countries Bolivia and Chile) is here mentioned as well as the almost null participation as specific subject in the careers above mentioned. It is important to denote that the circulation of specific bibliography of local authors mentioned in the catalogues of universities and libraries is relatively new and with a reduced number of authors. Taking into account the available documentation it is shown that the scientific research that applies the methodology and techniques of the bibliometrics is found in the field of biomedical libraries and it is scarce in the humanity libraries. 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. It is here concluded that besides of the teaching and application of the bibliometrics, it is important to develop wide and comprehensive database, normalized and indexed in Spanish and of easy access through the new telematic technology. Otherwise, it is observed that the bibliometric investigations appear vitiated from their origin.
Some aspects related to the development of the science in countries of MERCOSUR (Argentine, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay - and invited countries Bolivia and Chile) will be mentioned since they condition the application of the Bibliometrics and the diffusion through the university teaching.
It is important to remember that this region of South America has a population of 200 millions inhabitants proportionally distributed in the territories of near 12 millions of square kilometers with Spanish speaking people (except Brazil whose language is the Portuguese and ethnical groups with their own languages).
At the present time the MERCOSUR involves economic integration but it is expected the extension to educational-cultural areas. Serious problems arise from educational levels in the quantitative as well as in the qualitative aspects. The same occurs in the research and scientific development. It is necessary to understand the strategic educational value, the scientific research and the technological development. (1)
The main problem for the development of science in our country has been the difficulty of relating the academic and the research entities to the concrete problems of the actual social life of each country, and at the same time to denote that there exists a great resistance for the development of the basic sciences as an elemental investment for the future development. (2)
With the Democracy recovery during the 80's, an important advance appeared with the introduction of generalized reforms in the university plans and the incorporation of the teaching of social sciences to subjects as Logic, Methodology of Sciences, Statistics and Scientific thought, with a tendency to the mathematical models.
Starting from the 90's, the world neoliberal tendency - paradoxically neoconservative- is providing new opportunities for the comprehension of the important points of social and administrative sciences associated to quantitative models and the efficient techniques in the development of plans and projects private as well as governmental.
Within this context it is possible to visualize the obstacles and the opportunities for the development of methods and quantitative techniques for the general scientific analysis, included the library aspect and the information sciences in the MERCOSUR region.
It is important to denote that the present information tries to approximate the bibliometric state to the countries of MERCOSUR.
The library science teaching and the bibliometrics.
In the teaching field of the library science, thirty three universities offer careers of university level, with a diversity of curricular subjects, career profiles and years of career duration denoting disparity to accompany the technological changes and the specific projection of the library in the communities. (3)
At the present time, there exists a fluid relation among the responsible persons of the professional associations of librarians, of the academic responsible persons of the Library Science career who annually meet to debate about the problem to get a better integration. This will be surely exposed in IFLA Jerusalem.
During these meetings, the possible Curricula homogenization of the Librarian career in the countries of MERCOSUR is always treated, and also the search of formulas to adequate these academic regimes to the permanent dynamic of the so called information society.
It is important to remember what was expressed by Morales Morejón (1995) who states that "The personnel of the information centers and the libraries pertaining to the teaching staff of higher level, even, the teaching staff of university careers of Library Science and Information Science must play an active role in the "informetric" evaluation for the improvement of the programs of other professional specialties... This type of activity could give an overturn to the status quo on the professional personality and social recognition of the scientific information librarian for the contemporary society." (4)
Among the aspects analyzed in these meetings, it is denoted how to associate the Library Science of our countries to the science and the necessity of providing methodological instruments to the professionals of information sciences for the technical treatment of library information in general.
Within this context, the bibliometrics appears as a relevant theme to consider and now it is included in seminars and in subjects corresponding to methodology of the scientific research in almost all the careers revised. Although, as it is implied from this work, only two university careers have the specific subject bibliometrics. It is included in the Bacharel career in library management of the Faculty of Library Management of the "Pontificia Universidade de Campinas", Brazil, and as one of the optional subjects in Licentiate in Library Science of the University of Uruguay Republic. Other of the subjects related with the theme is Quantitative Methods for the Information Sciences of the Licentiate in Library Science and Documentation of the National University of Córdoba, Argentine Republic, as well as in other universities of Brazil. The presence of the bibliometric thematic is considered important as for example in the Methodology of scientific research; "Metodologia de pesquisa em biblioteconomia", Selection and Library Statistics, and Study of user and development of the collections. (See annex with details):
Bibliometrics: brief historical reference
The presence of bibliometric models, methods and techniques in Latin America is considered important in the three last decades of XX Century. This is similar to what happened in Spain, for example, but it is true that there exists a notable delay with respect to the developed countries. This may be possible by the position of the professionals of traditional social sciences who have always distrusted of the quantification of some human and social activities; others who are confused with the use of the technical instrument with the proper methodology, or by the ones that idealize these methods and techniques pretending to obtain definite conclusions from aleatory data (5).
One of the first antecedents in my country, Argentine, is the mention of this term by José Domingo Buonocuore (1952) who define the "Bibliometrics" as "the technique to calculate the extension or measurement of the books taking into account several coefficients, format, letter type, amount of words, paper weight, etc. In the antiquity, the Greeks had devised a process to determine the extension of the manuscripts. This measurement was useful not only to avoid suppressions and interpolations in the text, but also to determine the price of the work and due payment to the copyist. This process was called stichometry" (6). In the actual use, after A. Pritchard stated the term bibliometrics in 1969 in the article of the Journal on Documentation, called Statistical bibliography on bibliometrics, a series of theoretical works begins to circulate together with applications of the model and the laws of S.C. Bradford (1934 and 1948) in Sources of Information on Specific Subjects. (7)
Likewise, as reference of the publications of the East, the contributions of A.I. Mijailov, A. I.Chernii and R.S. Guiliarevskii are influential in Foundations of the Computer Science with Russian-Cuban editions of 1968 and 1973. (8)
The article called: "Bibliografía estadística: uma reivindicação de prioridades", from Edson Nery da Fonseca (Brazilian) was one of the most important publications in the region with international acceptance. (9) There, the reaction against Pritchard by the creation of the term bibliometrics is evidenced, because it is pointed out the previous statements of E. Wyndham Hulme (1923), Poul Otlet (1934), Victor Zoltowski (1955) and L.M. Raising (1962), and the other antecedents of F.D.J. Cole (1917), P.L. Gross (1927) and B.C. Vickery (1948).
At the end of 60's, few literature about the theme existed in the countries of the region and in ninety per cent in a language different from Spanish. This is explained in an investigation carried out by Salvador Gorbea Portal, in the CUIB, of the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) published with the title "El modelo matemático de Bradford: su aplicación a las revistas Latinoamericanas de las ciencias bibliotecológicas y de la información".
According to this work, the highest production of literature about bibliometrics is related with the theoretical treatment or applications of the laws and Bradford models and in agreement with Gorbea Portal, in the MERCOSUR, Brazil is the country with "most of the publications about metric studies of information, theoretical as well as practical". (10). There exist several works as the one of Fonseca (not mentioned by Gorbea Portal), of M.Aymard (1980), of M.A.R. Quemel and others (1980), of L.V.R. Pinheiro (1983), of Maia and Maia (1984) and the Portuguese edition of the text of Ravichandra Rao, "Metodos quantitativos em Biblioteconomía e Ciencia de Informação" (1986) (11), two works of Eliana Coutinho (1988 and 1991) and one of Kira Tarapanoff (1995) (12). From Argentine, it is possible to mention to Pedro Falcato (1989) with "La ley de Bradford y sus aplicaciones (13)". Also, "El Diccionario enciclopédico de bibliometría, cienciometría e informetría (14), "Los análisis cuantitativos de la literatura científica y su validez para juzgar la producción latinoamericana (15), and other publications of the same author.
Model, method, laws and techniques widely known
According to what was exposed by Pritchard, Spinak states that "the bibliometrics is the application of mathematics and statistical methods to analyze the course of the written communication and the course of a discipline. In other words, it is the application of quantitative treatments to the properties of the written speech and its typical behaviours".
There exists a generalized coincidence with respect to the definition in its basic aspects.
New explanations about the concepts of "Scientometrics", "Epistemometrics", "Informetrics", Bibliometrics, "Librometrics" and Statistics should be established.
Spinak considers that the "Scientometrics" surpass the bibliometrics techniques since it also examines the development of scientific techniques, its quantitative analyses consider to the science as a discipline or economic activity...The bibliometrics deals with the different measures of the literature, of the documents and other communication means, while the "Scientometrics" is related to the scientific productivity and utility" (9).
Another important concept that needs more clear concepts is the term bibliometrics with respect to library science, the "Science of Science" and the Information Science, pointing out the instrumental technical character that "provides necessary quantitative elements to organize and direct efficiently the libraries, as well as for the measurement and evaluation of its activity effect in the society by means of improvement of library and bibliographic activities. It supplies quantitative information for the integral qualitative analysis and consequently, it may improve the decisions in library aspects" (10). In summary, it could be added that bibliometrics is to the Library Science what the "Informetrics" is to the Information Science and what the "Scientometrics" is to the "Science of Science".
Liliana M. Rivas (1984) considers that the "Informetrics" (Nacke 1979) is the most adequate term to shift the term "Bibliometrics" but she prefers the use of bibliometrics for the title of her work since "this term is the most widely used at present in the literature published and the nearest to the material of her work" .(11)
The Spanish LOPEZ LOPEZ (1996) sustain that the bibliometrics "is only a methodological instrument arising from the necessity of quantifying certain aspects of the Science... One of the facets of the "Cienciometría" would be the Bibliometrics as the computation of several publication indicators produced by scientists. For Lopez Piñero (1972) the statistical and socio-metric analysis of scientific literature (the bibliometrics) comes from two sources: the first is called Science of the Science and is fundamentally theoretical. Taking into account Pritchard definitions (1969) and the ones of Carpintero and Tortosa (1990), bibliometrics is referred to "quantitative studies of several aspects of scientific-technical literature. This is the use more accepted among authors. However, the methods may be used for quantification of literature not only scientific-technical literature". (12)
In the MERCOSUR region the laws more cited, analyzed, evaluated and criticized in the theoretical documents consulted are the laws of Bradford, of Lokta, of Zipf and the Price norms. This is in agreement with the Ravichandra Rao opinion who considers that among bibliometric studies, the following may be considered as the most significant ones: The dispersion law (Bradford), the inverse square law of scientific productivity (Lokta), the law of minimum effort (Zipft), algorithmic models and process of the accumulative advantage (Price). This evolution and treatment of the Bibliometrics is also verified in the region when searching for explanation about the aspects that correspond to the theory level and consequently, to mathematical models; or when it is possible to say "laws" of bibliometrics referring to the mentioned ones. (13). This theme treated by Latin American researchers, turns to be ambiguous in practice when referring to models, methods and "metric" techniques concerning to library science and information sciences and it is tacitly accepted to use law concepts in a weak sense referring to regularities observed by the mentioned authors in the quantitative treatment of the information.
Database and consulted articles
The most important problem of all Latin American researchers is the lack of complete, reliable, normalized, indexed information sources, of easy access and involving the total production of last years in the field of information and library science. The few references are partial and heterogeneous by the number of libraries and documentation centers, infrastructure and equipment available, services and support, human resources and training, database and catalogues, statistics, etc. This obliges the researches to use partial documentation trying to find any other to complete the documentation but, unluckily there exists lack of documentation to provide information.
Bibliometric studies based on the analysis of references show a large tradition in pure and applied sciences but this is not the case for social or humanity sciences. (21) Database have information in English language (90%) with a small number of bibliography in Spanish. For example, Science Citation Index (SCI), Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) and Art and Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI), from Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) of Philadelphia, USA and since 1973 the French database PASCAL that has the characteristic of performing the index according to keywords. (22) For this reason it is essential to have complete database with the productions of all researchers and at the same time to have an Index with periodic normalized publications including scientific journals and articles of MERCOSUR.
The selection of journals to be indexed, database design, generation of indicators and the selection of computer platform as for example Access to Microsoft for data processing is an obliged way to follow and it is not always manipulated in a clear form for the underdeveloped countries. For this reason it is valid to focus the attention in output indicators of the science, in our region design and apply relative or multidimensional indicators. (23)
These have been the more difficult points to solve up to the moment. For this reason, all researches and bibliometric studies of the region present here its weak point. The most important database of periodic publications in Spanish via Internet is INFOBILA from CUIB of Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). The database INFOBILA starts as project in 1985 and is consolidated as system in l986. It compiles the scientific production of library science, files and information science related to Latin America" (Gorbea Portal, 1995). However, it has not the references cited by the authors as in most of the bibliographic database.
INFOBILA is an obliged starting point to see the whole of periodic publications on libraries of Latin America despite the lacks of the ambitious project and the different degree of compromise of the different countries of the region. (24) Among the 10.000 records found until May 2000, 150 include the theme Bibliometrics. More than thirty correspond to production of MERCOSUR region. To the INFOBILA records, other records of bibliographic data of public and university libraries and of the region were incorporated in INTERNET; from Bibliographic Database UNIRED 2000 in CD Rom from the Documentation Center of the Ministry of Economy and Works and Public Services and from the National University of General Sarmiento, from the database of the Association of Graduated Librarians of Argentine Republic (AGBRA), from the Argentine Center of Technological and Scientific Information (CAICYT) of the CONICET.1*
The effort to join the largest amount of information available about journals, monographs, and encyclopedias of this theme in the region was positive. Unfortunately, it was not possible to obtain any information from Uruguay where probably there exists information since Bibliometrics is taught as a specific subject. In this way, these are the records of heterogeneous sampling performed during the first semester of 2000. They will show what happens with this specific theme to obtain answers to many questions of the library science in the region.
Five cases as evidence of the application of bibliometric techniques
A series of works circulate in the visible literature of MERCOSUR showing the application of quantitative bibliometric techniques during last years. Five examples of works of Argentine, Brazilian and Chilean researchers performed during 80's and 90's are shown.
RIVAS, Liliana M., Técnicas bibliométricas: selección y evaluación de publicaciones periódicas para bibliotecas y bases de datos biomédicas especializadas, Bibliotecología y documentación, 6(6/12), pp41-81, 1984.
A technique is exposed to select journals of a specialized library and for the selection of the main titles to be included in a database. Bibliometric criteria is applied to help in the acquisition of periodic publications. The method is adequate to use as well to evaluate collections of libraries of institutes of bibliometric investigation which at the same time produce and use documents. The librarian may have this techniques as an instrument to solve problems related with the budget reduction of libraries, and he himself may be able to take decisions.
GOMEZ FUENTES, Héctor y YUSTA MANTEROLA, Sara, Las revistas de química: su uso en una institución de educación superior, Santiago, Chile, Revista Chilena de Educación Química Vol. 13 N° 2 (diciembre), 1988
An analysis and evaluation of references of periodic publications, journals of chemistry and thesis is made. The use of bibliometric techniques is applied for the development of collections.
(Source: INFOBILA, CUIB- UNAM)
OBERHOFER, Cecilia Malizia A. Valor da informação: percepsão versus cuantifição Brasil, Ciencia da Informação Vol. 20 N°2 (jul/dic) 1991, p. 119-129.
Thesis (Doctoral) summary Escola de Comunicaçãos e Arte. Universidade de São Paulo 1989. The information is used with relation to a primary literature of a specialty with base on disuse. The syndrome object-content-use was used as starting point for the conceptual distinction between the disuse of the content (information) and the object (document). It is argued that the use of quantitative indicators based only on the object constitute an inadequate measure on the validity and utility of the information. This argument is based on the hypothesis that the disuse of the object differs from the content obsolescence. The result confirmed the hypothesis at an adequate level of theoretical perception of the phenomenon and also at statistical level it was demonstrated that the validity and utility of the information is independent of the document idea where it is published. Conclusions include the pointing out of future methodological investigations and mark the necessity of focussing the information as object of the area of information science.
PITELLA, Mónica Cardoso, Anàlise da citação dos periodicos brasileiro de biblioteconomia 1972-1982. Revista da Escola de Biblioteconomia da UFMG. Bello Horizonte, v. 2, n.2, p 191-217 jul/dez., 1991.
An analysis of citation - mode of bibliometric study - is made to know the Brazilian literature about library management from four examinations: "Ciencia de la Información", "Revista de Brasilia" and "Revista Brasilera de Biblioteconomía y Documentación". For this, the following was studied: bibliographic form, language, age, geographical origin of references, newspapers most cited, unique and multiple responsibility, self-citation and more productive authors. Results of the citation distribution revealed, according to the bibliographic form, that the periodic publications and the books were the most cited forms. Coincidence existed among newspapers titles, most cited newspaper titles and low frequency of self-citations of authors (2.6%). The high frequency of reciprocal citations was verified among periodic publications analyzed, mainly: "Ciencia de la Información" (72.25%) and "Revista de Biblioteconomía de la UFMG " (54%).
(Source: Tarapanoff, 1995, pp. 99-100).
COUTINHO, Eliana. Aplicação da lei de Bradford a literatura tecnica sobre ferrovia: analise de periodicos e evaliação da base de datos da rede ferroviaria federal S.A., Ciencia da Informação Vol. 20 N°2 (Jul/Dez) Brasil, 1991, p. 160-180.
1I am specially grateful to the authorities of AGBRA, CAICYT and to the staff of Careers of Universities for the information provided and their advice on this theme.
Synthesis of the thesis to obtain the graduation as teacher in Information Sciences. Application of Bradford law to the secondary source, product of the database of the "Red Ferroviaria Nacional S.A.". The periodic publications were analyzed according to the origin and language of the country pointing out the elements that may affect the law application. Evaluation of the database according to the articles about railways.
The use of quantitative techniques of information analysis, documentation and information support is sporadic as a consequence of a real situation of underdeveloped countries where the tendency to minimize the data quantification is generalized and there exists a certain indifference for the conservation and diffusion of social information.
The main obstacle seems to be the lack of important database, the absence of plans in front of proliferation of partial database from the facilities provided by the platforms of computer and telematic technology and the scarce familiarity of the specialists accustomed only to use printed indexes of their specialties.
However, the science and techniques of "metrics", although in incipient way, are beginning to be incorporated as obligatory subjects in university careers and in the field of scientific research as support instrument for the libraries, for evaluation in the centers of science development, for selection of publications of fixation of public politics and for the management strategy.
Some recommendations: to create cooperative consortia among institutions to develop networks of database with regional content; to design and develop database of social sciences indexed by international norms of bibliography, periodic publications and institutions of the MERCOSUR region; to promote the insertion of specific subjects "cienciometrics" in the university careers of library science and information sciences of the region; to foment the domains of the bibliometric studies for the analysis of the institutions and the services of the region; and to encourage the use and application of the bibliometrics as instrument for the analysis of publications.
Bibliografía de referencia
- FERRARO, Ricardo A., "Universidades, investigación y desarrollo tecnológico", MERCOSUL/MERCOSUR, Argentina - Brasil, Manrique Zago Ediciones e Instituto Hebert Levy, p.239, 1997, )
- BUNGE,Mario, Ciencia y desarrollo, Buenos Aires, ediciones Siglo Veinte, 1984,pp.67-81.
- FERNÁNDEZ, Stella Maris y GIUNTI, Graciela María, Planes de estudio de las Escuelas de Bibliotecología, Archivología y Museología de Iberoamérica, Buenos Aires, Sociedad de Investigaciones Bibliotecológicas, 1999, pp. 194,) y relevamiento personal.
- MORALES-MOREJON, Melvyn y CRUZ-PAZ, Andrés, "La Bibliotecología, la Cienciología y la Ciencia de la Información y sus disciplinas instrumentales. Su alcance conceptual"; Ciencias de la información Vol. 26,No.2,junio,1995, pp.84-85
- LOPEZ LOPEZ, Pedro, Introducción a la bibliometría, Valencia, Promolibro 1996, pp.86-89
- BUONOCUORE, José Domingo, Vocabulario bibliográfico , Santa Fe , Argentina, Librería y Editorial Castellví S.A., p.50, 1952 , (repetido en el Diccionario de bibliotecología)
- BRADFORD, S.C., Sources of Information on Specific Subjects, Engineering: An Ilustrated Wekly Journal, London, 26 January, 1934.
- MIJAILOV, A.I., CHERNI, A.I.,y GUILIAREVSKII, "Fuentes documentarias de información científica. Los documentos científicos", Fundamentos de Informática, Moscú-La Habana, Nauka-Academia de Ciencias de Cuba, Instituto de Documentación e Información Científica y Técnica, t.I, Cap.2, 1973.
- FONSECA, Edson Nery da, "Bibliografía estadística: uma reivindicação de prioridades", Brasil, Ciencia da Informasão, Vol. 2 No. 1 p.5-7, 1973
- GORBEA PORTAL, Salvador, El modelo matemático de Bradford: su aplicación a las revistas latinoamericanas de las ciencias bibliotecológica y de la información, México, CUIB, Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM), 1996, p.55.
- RAVICHANDRA RAO, N. Métodos quantitativos em Biblioteconomia e Ciencia de Informação, (Trad, por Daniel F. Sullivan, Dulce María Baptista, Eva Hahamovici e Inácia R. Dos Santos Cunha, Rev. Técnica Luis María Marques Couto e Enrique Tafuri Malvar) Brasilia, ABDF-OEA,1986.
- TARAPANOFF, Kira, Técnicas para tomada de decisão nos sistemas de informação, Brasilia, Thesaurus, 2da Ed., p. 163.
- FALCATO, Pedro, La ley de Bradford y sus aplicaciones, Buenos Aires, INTI, 1989 y Evaluación administrativa de publicaciones periódicas en una biblioteca argentina especializada multidisciplinaria de investigación, Buenos Aires, INTI-CID, 1993, p. 108.
- SPINAK, Ernesto, Diccionario enciclopédico de bibliometría, cienciometría e informática, Caracas, UNESCO,1996.
- SPINAK, Ernesto, "Los análisis cuantitativos de la literatura científica y su validez para juzgar la producción latinoamericana", Boletín de la Oficina Sanitaria Panamericana, Caracas, 1996.
- SPINAK, Ernesto, Diccionario...,Idem, p. 2
- MORALES MOREJON, Idem, p. 45.
- RIVAS, Liliana M., "Técnicas bibliométricas: selección y evaluación de publicaciones periódicas para bibliotecas y bases de datos biomédicas especializadas", pp.41-81,1984.
- LOPEZ LOPEZ, Pedro, Idem, p.23
- GORBEA PORTAL, Salvador y SETIEN QUESADA, Emilio. "Las supuestas leyes métricas de la información", España, Revista General de Información y Documentación Vol. 7 No. 2p.87-93, 1997. ; COUTINHO, Eliana, "As armadillas da lei de Bradford", Brasil, Revista de Biblioteconomia de Brasilia Vol. 16 No. 2 (jul./dez) p. 217-225, 1988
- ROMANOS de TIRATEL, Susana, Guía de fuentes de información: humanidades y ciencias sociales, Buenos Aires, Ebpublicaciones, 1996, pp. 92-93)
- SARDÓ, Mariano Maura, " Aplicación de indicadores bibliométricos a un índice de citas de las revistas de humanidades",
- GARCIA DIAZ, Ignacio y SOTOLONGO AGUILAR, Gilberto, "Los indicadores científicos: la medición de la ciencia y sus cuestionamientos", Congreso Internacional de Información, Cuba, octubre de 1997, quienes citan sobre este punto a Ernesto Spinak.
- INFOBILA, Base de datos, WWW.cuib.unam.mx/infobila
- CALLON, Michel, COUTRIAL, Jean-Pierre y PENAN, Hervé, Cienciometría: El estudio cuantitativo de la actividad científica: de la bibliometría a la vigilancia tecnológica, Gijón, Ediciones Trea S.L, 1995, pp. 34-35