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Models of Scholarly Communication and Citation Analysis

Fredrik Astrom, Agnes Sandor
Informetric/bibliometric analyses have to a large extent been relying on an assumption that research is essentially cumulative in its nature, which is not the least visible in the rational for using citation analyses to assess quality of research. However, when reviewing both the theoretical literature on how research is organized and studies analyzing the structures of research fields through informetric mapping methods, it becomes clear that cumulative organization is just one category of several ways of organizing research and scholarly communication, Consequently, the way the role of citations is interpreted in research assessment has to be revised. Based on the review of previous research, this paper suggests a model for categorizing different modes of scholarly communication. We test this model through three different kinds of semantic labelling analyses on abstracts and research papers from the fields of biomedicine, computer science and educational research. The model proposed suggests three main categories of scholarly communication: cumulative, negotiating and distinctive; and when matching the labels identified in the semantic analysis to the three categories, we find evidence of the three different ways of communicating research that supports the model.
ISSI 2009, 12th International Conference on Scientometrics and Informetrics, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 14-17, 2009. The article is available on this internet website : ISSI Website