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Introduction to Bibliometrics and Scientometrics by Kailash C Garg

In Introduction to Bibliometrics and Scientometrics, Kailash Garg provides a basic and accessible account of bibliometrics and scientometrics, written primarily for the benefit of students and research  scholars working in the area of Library and Information Science. It traces the evolution and growth of the discipline over the last seven decades, beginning with Eugene Garfield’s seminal account on Citation  indices in Science in 1955 (http://garfield.library.upenn.edu/essays/v6p468y1983.pdf).

Garg is ideally placed to do this given his vast experience at the erstwhile CSIR-NISTADS (now CSIR-NISCPR) where he was in the forefront of research and continues to remain one of the most highly cited authors in this category from India.


The book comprises eleven chapters. Chapter One is of an introductory nature and traces the evolution of the discipline with a particular and welcome emphasis on the growth of the field in India. There is also a caveat on the limitations and potential misuses and misapplications if badly administered. Metric concepts are taken up in Chapter Two and an account of the data sources and aggregators of bibliometric data is given in Chapter Three. Chapter Four is the longest chapter and covers the entire gamut of bibliometric mapping, from Methods and Tools to Indicators, Techniques and even Illustrative Examples. Chapter Five surveys some interesting applications to productivity evaluation and gender profiling. Chapter Six is the shortest section and deals with the most discussed and contentious aspect of the field, namely the use and misuse of Impact Factor. Chapter Seven on citation analysis, covers what is now the standard approach to quantity and quality differentiation of the impact, influence, and visibility of various actors in research, from individuals to teams and institutions and countries, and to  journals. Chapter Eight focuses on the issue of collaboration, now that interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity require large teams to work together seamlessly across fields and disciplines. At a more sophisticated level of understanding, network concepts are inevitable, and these concerns are covered in Chapter Nine. Chapter Ten deals with the growth and obsolescence of scientific literature. The last Chapter summarises the various classical empirical laws that govern the growth and dynamics of the field.

At the back of the book, we have a bibliography of Garg’s own original contributions to the field and also
the list of papers and books that have influenced the writing of the book. The book could have done with
endnotes and an index, but these have been overlooked. It is written more in the style of a monograph than a textbook but there is no doubt that this would be a valuable acquisition for any academic
library.


'Of the making of many books, there is no end', said the Biblical sage. Chapter Four, the meat of the
book, is about the making of book indicators, and of the making of these, there is no end. Metrics based on
publications and citations yield an infinite number of composite indicators, and Garg surveys most of the
important ones, including some of very recent provenance. I found this the best part of the book. The
theory of citations, which are now the principal measure of impact has a chapter to itself in Chapter
Seven, and this, is stimulating as well. 

I would not hesitate to recommend this to all libraries and to students, teachers, and scholars as well, if a more reasonably priced paperback or eversion is made available.

Book Details

Introduction to Bibliometrics and Scientometrics by Kailash C Garg. Ess Ess Publications, 2023; 262 pp; ISBN: 978-93-92594-16-8.

Gangan Prathap
Honorary Professor
APJ Abdul Kalan Technological University
Thiruvananthapuram

Note: This book review was initially published in Annals of Library and Information Studies, Vol. 69, December 2022, pp. 327. DOI: 10.56042/alis.v69i4.69731

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