Most borrowed is most cited? Library loan statistics as a proxy for monograph selection in citation indexes


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Presented at the 14th International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics Conference held at Vienna on July 18, 2013

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Most borrowed is most cited? Library loan statistics as a proxy for monograph selection in citation indexes

  1. 1. Library loan statistics as a proxy for monograph selection in citation indexes Most borrowed is most cited? Authors: Á Cabezas-Clavijo, N Robinson-García, D Torres-Salinas, E Jiménez-Contreras, T Mikulka, C Gumpenberger, A Wernisch & J Gorraiz
  2. 2. Foundations I. Library statistics are an invaluable and underutilized source of information for assessment purposes II. Monographs are still influential; in some social sciences, and especially in the arts and humanities, are the main communication channel between scholars III. No consensus about quantitative or bibliometric methodologies to assess monographs’ impact
  3. 3. Price (1963) said: “the amount of usage provides a reasonable measure of the scientific importance of a journal or a man’s work”.
  4. 4. Background Some attempts to shed light on monographs impact by several approaches: I. library holdings: data based on local online catalogues (Torres- Salinas & Moed, 2009), union catalogues (White et al, 2009) or WorldCat (Linmans 2010); II. document delivery requests (Gorraiz & Schlögl, 2006); III. publishers’ prestige (Giménez-Toledo, Tejada-Artigas & Mañana- Rodríguez, 2012); IV. book reviews (Zuccala & van Leeuwen, 2011).
  5. 5. Launch of Book Citation Index I. Launch of BKCI opens new possibilities for assessing monographs impact by bibliometric means II. First approaches to BKCI ups and downs can be found at Gorraiz et al, 2013; Leydesdorff & Felt, 2012; Torres- Salinas et al, 2012; Torres-Salinas et al, 2013 III. Solid methodologies must be developed to ensure that the materials to be included in the future are chosen fairly IV. “there is a need to select those publications that will most likely contain significant scholarship” (Testa, 2012)
  6. 6. Goal • To test the feasibility of using library loans as a possible selection criterion for monographs in citation indexes. This is as a relevant issue since the content of these indexes is used as primary source for evaluation purposes.
  7. 7. Data & Methods • Pilot study in two non-English-speaking European university libraries: the library of the University of Granada (Spanish-speaking) and the Vienna University Library (German-speaking). • Both libraries are universal with strong social sciences and humanities components. • Data were gathered from the Universities of Vienna and Granada library systems in December 2012 regarding loans from, respectively, 2001 and 2000 onwards
  8. 8. Data & Methods (II) • 1000 most borrowed monographs by all types of users were retrieved from both library systems • For Vienna also “only scientists” loans were recorded • Book types were coded as:  REF = reference books, such as dictionaries, etc.  MTB = manuals, textbooks, handbooks, etc.  SM= scientific monographs • For the first 100 most borrowed SM and MTB, citation counts were gathered from Web of Science & from Google Scholar
  9. 9. Results: Loans by type •Results show a very similar number of scientific monographs in both universities (20% vs. 24%) - all users - •When regarding only scientists from the Vienna sample, the percentage of SMs is almost 80%
  10. 10. Results (II): Loans by language For only scientists in Vienna, the percentage of German titles decreases, and English titles make up for almost one third.
  11. 11. Results (III): Top publishers •Top publishers in both samples are well known international publishers - or local branches - with a strong teaching component (McGraw Hill, Prentice Hall, Masson) •Also local publishers are high in the loan rankings (Tecnos, Facultas WUV) as well as research oriented publishers (Springer, Síntesis)
  12. 12. Results (IV): Top publishers (only scientists) Appearance of further publishers, amongst them foreign university press companies PUBLISHER TITLES LOANS % LOANS LOANS/ TITLE Suhrkamp 46 492 4.6 11 Böhlau 38 423 4.0 11 Oxbow Books 32 295 2.8 9 Manz 28 365 3.4 13 Cambridge Univ. Press 26 253 2.4 10 Campus-Verl. 25 296 2.8 12 Springer 24 302 2.8 13 Oxford Univ. Press 22 214 2.0 10 Beck 21 230 2.2 11 Routledge 20 216 2.0 11 Fink 20 203 1.9 10 Facultas.WUV 18 193 1.8 11 VS Verl. für Sozialwiss. 15 145 1.4 10 Transcript 13 126 1.2 10 de Gruyter 11 110 1.0 10 Tempus 10 92 0.9 9 Metzler 10 118 1.1 12
  13. 13. Results (V): Loans & Citations for top 100 •Much higher number of loans for MTB books in both samples •Median number of citations were higher for MTB in 3 out of 4 samples •Just for GS citations in Vienna figures were higher for SM (12,5 vs 6 citations) •Differences in loans and citations were statistically significant (CI=95%, p<0.05) between MTB and SM
  14. 14. Results (VI): Correlations for citations & loans •Granada: no correlation at all between loans and citations, regardless of the citation source used and the type of monograph •Vienna: A statistically significant but very weak correlation (0.310) between loans and citations as measured by GS was detected for MTB books
  15. 15. Discussion Not an easy process: many methodological decisions have to be taken: I. publication year or acquisition year, extensions, loan times or loan counts, differentiation of the user types and materials, different counts in different libraries, multiple editions and copies,…? II. measuring numbers of copies, editions or titles of monographs, aggregating translations of the same monograph? III. Difficult to detect citations referring to different books where the title coincides in various languages. Usually handbooks and manuals have a broad coverage, so the titles are very short (one or two words in many cases), which makes it impossible to split citations for every language.
  16. 16. Discussion (II) I. Most of the top books were manuals, handbooks and textbooks, or reference books such as those for law and dictionaries. II. However, SM loans increase from 20-25% to 78% when analysing loan patterns for scientists only. III. This fact points to the need to differentiate between types of users to assess more precisely the reliability of loans as a usage indicator for monographs.
  17. 17. Discussion (III) I. Within the most borrowed books, highly cited books coexist with other monographs that are not noticed by the scientific community. II. Our study shows that also MTB are used and strongly cited by scientists III. Lack of correlation between loans and citations for top loaned books IV. The broad range of topics covered by books, the different citation behaviours by discipline and the aging of books, are further issues which may affect these results, along with the aforementioned technical difficulties
  18. 18. Take-home messages I. Loan statistics require improvement and standardization (implementation of FRBR, RDA, ...) in order to be properly used for bibliometric purposes. II. A discipline-focused study could shed more light on the validity of loans as a criterion for selecting monographs in selective indexes than could a broad study.
  19. 19. Library loan statistics as a proxy for monograph selection in citation indexes Most borrowed is most cited? Authors: Á Cabezas-Clavijo, N Robinson-García, D Torres-Salinas, E Jiménez-Contreras, T Mikulka, C Gumpenberger, A Wernisch & J Gorraiz Thank you!