- Referenced Publication Years Spectroscopy applied to iMetrics: Scientometrics, Journal of Informetrics, and a relevant subset of JASIST
- Journal of Informetrics
- Volume | Issue number
- 8 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
We have developed a (freeware) routine for "Referenced Publication Years Spectroscopy" (RPYS) and apply this method to the historiography of "iMetrics," that is, the junction of the journals Scientometrics, Informetrics, and the relevant subset of JASIST (approx. 20%) that shapes the intellectual space for the development of information metrics (bibliometrics, scientometrics, informetrics, and webometrics). The application to information metrics (our own field of research) provides us with the opportunity to validate this methodology, and to add a reflection about using citations for the historical reconstruction. The results show that the field is rooted in individual contributions of the 1920s to 1950s (e.g., Alfred J. Lotka), and was then shaped intellectually in the early 1960s by a confluence of the history of science (Derek de Solla Price), documentation (e.g., Michael M. Kessler's "bibliographic coupling"), and "citation indexing" (Eugene Garfield). Institutional development at the interfaces between science studies and information science has been reinforced by the new journal Informetrics since 2007. In a concluding reflection, we return to the question of how the historiography of science using algorithmic means—in terms of citation practices—can be different from an intellectual history of the field based, for example, on reading source materials.
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