Looking Beyond the Numbers: Bibliometric Approach to Analysis of LIS Research in Korea

  • Yang, Kiduk (Department of Library and Information Science, Kyungpook National University) ;
  • Lee, Jongwook (School of Information, Florida State University) ;
  • Choi, Wonchan (School of Business, Worcester Polytechnic Institute)
  • Received : 2015.10.22
  • Accepted : 2015.11.03
  • Published : 2015.11.30


Bibliometric analysis for research performance evaluation can generate erroneous assessments for various reasons. Application of the same evaluation metric to different domains, for instance, can produce unfair evaluation results, while analysis based on incomplete data can lead to incorrect conclusions. This study examines bibliometric data of library and information science (LIS) research in Korea to investigate whether research performance should be evaluated in a uniform manner in multi-disciplinary fields such as LIS and how data incompleteness can affect the bibliometric assessment outcomes. The initial analysis of our study data, which consisted of 4,350 citations to 1,986 domestic papers published between 2001 and 2010 by 163 LIS faculty members in Korea, showed an anomalous citation pattern caused by data incompleteness, which was addressed via data projection based on past citation trends. The subsequent analysis of augmented study data revealed ample evidence of bibliometric pattern differences across subject areas. In addition to highlighting the need for a subject-specific assessment of research performance, the study demonstrated the importance of rigorous analysis and careful interpretation of bibliometric data by identifying and compensating for deficiencies in the data source, examining per capita as well as overall statistics, and considering various facets of research in order to interpret what the numbers reflect rather than merely taking them at face value as quantitative measures of research performance.


Bibliometrics;Subject-specific Analysis;Data Completeness;Publication Count;Citation Count;Library and Information Science


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