12th International Conference on Scientometrics and Informetrics Brazil

Daisy Jacobs

Abstract


That society benefits from domestic and international science is undisputed scientific development not only feeds improvements in health care, agriculture and higher education, but also raises public awareness and spurs technological developments and innovations, thereby encouraging sustainable production and economic competitiveness. But how can we monitor and gauge this complex process towards attaining a better quality of life and help bridge the divide between developing and developed countries? This calls for a birds-eye view of science, a view based on a wide range of measurements of science, using as many indicators and reliable sources of information as possible. National governments, like that of South Africa, as well as intergovernmental agencies such as UNESCO and WHO, routinely collect comparative statistical information about how well countries are performing in science. The qualitative and quantitative evaluation of scientific production is also a common need in the entire research world in order to measure the rise and fall of research outputs (Jacobs, 2006). Most of the time, statistics relate to inputs, especially expenditures and human resources. There are still very few comprehensive information sources and reliable statistics dealing with research outputs and impacts on society. Essentially, metrics such as Informetrics, bibliometrics scientometrics and webometrics all deal with indicators based on the output of scientific publications (Tijssen, 2005). All these terms are inter-related and at times quite confusing (Ocholla, 2007). The term informetrics (informetrie) was coined by Nacke (1979) and is the study of quantitative aspects of information (Tague-Sutcliffe, 1992). This includes the production, dissemination and use of all forms of information, regardless of its form or origin. As such, informetrics encompasses the fields of scientometrics, which studies quantitative aspects of science; webometrics, which looks into quantitative aspects of the World Wide Web; and bibliometrics, which deals with the quantitative aspects of recorded information.

Keywords


Informetrics; natural sciences; research; South Africa

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7553/75-2-100

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