The contribution of bibliometric methods to a theory of scientific communication

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Some theoretical models of scientific communication suggest that science may be fruitfully understood as a heterogeneous network of social actors and ideational elements. The argument offered in this paper is that bibliometric methods-in brief, the analysis of textual properties of the artifacts of scholarly communication-provide the means for the empirical application of this perspective to investigations of the formal communication system in science. This paper emphasizes the conceptual-operational links between key words as a measure of ideation and citations as a measure of disciplinary affiliation. It argues that such links may be used to operationalize the discursive positions occupied by scholarly articles, which may be considered to be instantiations of the heterogeneous network of scientists and their ideas. An important implication of this linkage is the potential for a more satisfying theory of citations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-504
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the ASIST Annual Meeting
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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