Comprehensiveness of national bibliographic databases for social sciences and humanities: Findings from a European surveySep 29 2018
Journal article in Research Evaluation, published online June 14, 2018.
This article provides an overview of national bibliographic databases that include data on research output within social sciences and humanities (SSH) in Europe. We focus on the comprehensiveness of the database content. Compared to the data from commercial databases such as Web of Science and Scopus, data from national bibliographic databases (e.g. Flemish Academic Bibliographic Database for the SSH (VABB-SHW) in Belgium, Current Research Information System in Norway (CRISTIN)) are more comprehensive and may, therefore, be better fit for bibliometric analyses. Acknowledging this, several countries within Europe maintain national bibliographic databases; detailed and comparative information about their content, however, has been limited. In autumn 2016, we launched a survey to acquire an overview of national bibliographic databases for SSH in Europe and Israel. Surveying 41 countries (responses received from 39 countries), we identified 21 national bibliographic databases for SSH. Further, we acquired a more detailed description of 13 databases, with a focus on their comprehensiveness. Findings indicate that even though the content of national bibliographic databases is diverse, it is possible to delineate a subset that is similar across databases. At the same time, it is apparent that differences in national bibliographic databases are often bound to differences in country-specific arrangements. Considering this, we highlight implications to bibliometric analyses based on data from national bibliographic databases and outline several aspects that may be taken into account in the development of existing national bibliographic databases for SSH or the design of new ones.