“Bibliometric statistics should be used and interpreted in combination with various qualitative indicators and evaluations. They complement one another. It’s also important to remember that there is a great deal of variation between different fields of research and in some areas there may be relatively few publications,” says Per Ahlgren, bibliometrician in the University Administration, who has been responsible for the report since it started.

The report has been put together in the same way since the first bibliometric report was produced in 2019. The analyses focus on the department level and are based on two sources: the DiVA and Web of Science publications databases.

The data on which the report is based comes from an eight-year publishing period that is moved forward a year in each new report. In the latest report, which came out in December 2022, the publishing period is 2013–2021. However, not all analyses use the whole period.

“For the citation analyses, we don’t include the two most recent years so as to leave a ‘citation window’, as it is called – some interval needs to pass after a publication for there to be time for it to be cited in new publications in its turn.”

Citation analyses

The bibliometric report contains four indicators that analyse citations in different ways. Two indicators are based on the publishing channel and the influence it has, and two indicators look more closely at the individual research publications.

“By analysing both the channels and how publications in these channels are cited, we can see, for example, if a department has publications in channels with a lot of influence but few citations of their own articles, or vice versa, of course.”

The source used for the citation analyses is Web of Science and the analyses are field-normalised. As publication traditions vary widely and conditions differ depending on research field, the results in different research fields cannot be compared without compensating for these differences.

“There are such large differences between fields of research that we have to apply field-normalisation and we have to do it well,” Ahlgren says.

One problem with Web of Science, however, is its relatively low coverage of humanities and social sciences.

The Norwegian model

The analyses based on the ‘Norwegian model’ are therefore more important in the humanities and social sciences. In the Norwegian model, the research channels have been assigned a value depending on how much influence the channel is regarded as having in the research community. Using the Norwegian model, two analyses are made: a summation of all departments’ publications and a proportional analysis of all departments’ contributions to the highest ranking channels in the model. Departments should not compare the summation with one another. Instead, they can compare their own performances over time.

Open Access and collaboration

The bibliometric report also contains indicators for the proportion of Open Access publications. In addition, there are two indicators for collaboration: firstly, the proportion of international collaborative publications, and secondly, the proportion of publications with industry. None of these indicators are field-normalised.

Looking ahead

As things stand, the analyses in the bibliometric report are not used for any form of internal resource allocation at the University in connection with operational planning, but of course it will be an important issue if it does come up in the future.

“There’s a proposal in the Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy that is being circulated for comments at present, which proposes the use of two indicators from the bibliometric report in resource allocation.”

In the Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, work is in progress to see whether it is possible to factor in supplementary analyses of sources that cover humanities and social sciences publications better than Web of Science.