Webometrics -  the evolution of a digital social science research field
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Webometrics - the evolution of a digital social science research field

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Interdisciplinary Insights Symposium at the Oxford Internet Institute

Interdisciplinary Insights Symposium at the Oxford Internet Institute
Talk by Mike Thelwall, University of Wolverhampton

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    Webometrics -  the evolution of a digital social science research field Webometrics - the evolution of a digital social science research field Presentation Transcript

    • Information StudiesWebometrics: The Evolution of a Digital Social Science Research Field Mike Thelwall Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group University of Wolverhampton, UK
    • What is Webometrics?□ Webometrics is concerned with gathering data on and measuring aspects of the Web □ web sites/pages □ Hyperlinks □ Search engines □ YouTube video commenter networks □ Social network sites □ Tweets□ …for varied information/social science purposes
    • History□ “webometrics” coined in print by an article by Tomas Almind and Peter Ingwersen in 1997□ Used as a synonym with Cybermetrics□ But Cybermetrics includes non-Web internet measurements (Björneborn)□ Grew from attempts to exploit the power of commercial search engines for research
    • Austria Switzerland Geopolitical connected Belgium Germany FranceExample: SpainLinks betweenEU universities UK NL Norway Italy Poland Finland Sweden Normalised linking, smallest countries removed
    • Information science example: The online impact of research groups
    • Proportion of tweets Chilematching posts mentioning Chile 9 Feb 2010 Date and time 9 Mar 2010 Av. +ve sentimentSubj. Sentiment strength Just subj. Increase in –ve sentiment strength Av. -ve sentiment Just subj. 9 Feb 2010 Date and time 9 Mar 2010
    • YouTubefriend network
    • Potted History□ Research area over 15 years old□ Within information science has many practitioners and is prominent in maps of the discipline □ Some funded and commissioned webometrics projects, particularly within EU□ Many methods aimed at a social science audience □ Some efforts to disseminate them□ Outside of information science little uptake of its methods
    • Webometrics Ranking of World Universities□ World Universities ranking on the Web (www.webometrics.info) (Aguillo, Granadino, Ortega, Prieto)□  The most well-known webometric application
    • Evidence: Citations to webometric research from outside LISnon-LIS articles citing webometrics, classified by source journal/conference
    • Research areas bypassing webometrics 1□ Computer science □ Link analysis research – algorithm construction but also some scholarly communication (e.g., “Semantic web link analysis to discover social relationships in academic communities”)□ Sociology □ Richard Rogers’ issue networks & IssueCrawler software □ Little published in journals – humanities research?
    • Research areas bypassing webometrics 2□ Physics and complexity science □ Abstract link analysis research □ Relatively context-free □ But not inspired by webometrics research
    • Conclusions□ Interest in webometrics applications but almost no intrinsic interest□ Evidence of a foothold in the EC for research communication□ A foothold in the UK for digital resource evaluation□ Some scholarly impact in related fields□ Some scholarly ignoring/irrelevance in Comp. Sci., sociology, physics