Bibliometrics-based heuristics: What is their definition and how can they be studied?

by   Lutz Bornmann, et al.

Paradoxically, bibliometric indicators (i.e., publications and citation counts) are both widely used and widely criticized in research evaluation. At the same time, a common methodological and theoretical framework for conceptually understanding, empirically investigating, and effectively training end-users of bibliometrics (e.g., science managers, scientists) is lacking. In this paper, we outline such a framework - the fast-and-frugal heuristics research framework developed by Gigerenzer et al. [1] - and discuss its application to evaluative bibliometrics. Heuristics are decision strategies that use part of the available information (and ignore the rest). In so doing, they can aid to make accurate, fast, effortless, and cost-efficient decisions without that trade-offs are incurred (e.g., effort versus accuracy). Because of their simple structure, heuristics are easy to understand and communicate and can enhance the transparency of decision-making processes. We introduce three bibliometrics-based heuristics and discuss how these heuristics can be employed in the evaluative practice (using the evaluation of applicants for funding programs as example).


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