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Standards for individual level bibliometrics
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Standards for individual level bibliometrics


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Commentary by Gunnar Sivertsen on individudal level bibliometrics, 14th ISSI Conference, Vienna, 15-18 July 2013

Commentary by Gunnar Sivertsen on individudal level bibliometrics, 14th ISSI Conference, Vienna, 15-18 July 2013

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  • 1. Commentary by Gunnar Sivertsen, NIFU, Oslo 1. Recommendations about good practice for the use of bibliometrics on the level of individuals are certainly needed in our field. The 20 points presented (which I agree with) are an important step forward in a consensus process in which all of our international community should take part. But I observe that there is more need for the recommendations outside our community than within it: The main audience must be the researchers themselves and their administrators in research organizations as well as funding organizations. In recent years, especially after the introduction of the H-index, bibliometrics on the individual level has become widespread and is even practiced by evaluation panels contrary to the guidelines given by the organizations that employ and/or fund the researchers. 2. Although our community is not completely responsible for evaluation outcomes in all contexts, I think we are responsible for recommendations on behalf of bibliometric expertise. Addressing a larger audience, the recommendations should perhaps be fewer and more general, but with the most used easy ranking measures (JIF and H-index) as illustrations of good practice/malpractice. The need for normalizations by using reference standards should be explained in an easily understandable way. 3. The recommendations should not only be about bibliometric indicators. They should be contextualized by explaining evaluation purposes and procedures in general and how bibliometrics are properly used in their context. 4. Since most researchers are used to domains where everybody can see and check each others’ data, some words about the use of commercial data sources (and ready-made commercial indicators at the individual level) in bibliometrics are needed. If we advise normalizations for the proper use of indicators, we should also explain how the data needed for these normalizations are or are not available.