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Measuring science: irresistible temptations, easy shortcuts and dangerous consequences

by   Giovanni Abramo, et al.

In benchmarking international research, although publication and citation analyses should not be used to compare different disciplines, scientometrists frequently fail to resist the temptation to present rankings based on total publications and citations. Such measures are affected by significant distortions, due to the uneven fertility across scientific disciplines and the dishomogeneity of scientific specialisation among nations and universities. In this paper, we provide an indication of the extent of the distortions when comparative bibliometric analyses fail to recognise the range of levels of scientific fertility, not only within a given major disciplinary area but also within the different scientific disciplines encompassed by the same area.


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