Patterns of internationalization and criteria for research assessment in the social sciences and humanities5 feb 2016
This article investigates the developments during the last decades in the use of languages, publication types and publication channels in the social sciences and humanities (SSH). The purpose is to develop an understanding of the processes of internationalization and to apply this understanding in a critical examination of two often used general criteria in research evaluations in the SSH. One of them is that the coverage of a publication in Scopus or Web of Science is seen in itself as an expression of research quality and of internationalization. The other is that a specific international language, English, and a specific type of publication, journal articles, are perceived as supreme in a general hierarchy of languages and publication types. Simple distinctions based on these criteria are contrary to the heterogeneous publication patterns needed in the SSH to organize their research adequately, present their results properly, reach their audiences efficiently, and thereby fulfil their missions. Research quality, internationalization, and societal relevance can be promoted in research assessment in the SSH without categorical hierarchies of publications. I will demonstrate this by using data from scholarly publishing in the SSH that go beyond the coverage in the commercial data sources in order to give a more comprehensive representation of scholarly publishing in the SSH.