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Towards a descriptive evaluation of scientific production and its diversity within humanities and social sciences

Jean-Francois Perret & Thomas Kadelbach

Résumé This communication aims to present a descriptive approach of research activity evaluation in the field of humanities and social sciences. The project we are conducting at the University of Neuchatel is a contribution to a national programme involving Swiss universities which intend to develop alternative approaches to conventional bibliometrics[i]. This research programme responds to limitations and potential adverse effects of conventional bibliometric evaluation methods on scientific production, such as they have been discussed by several authors (Gindras, 2008, 2014; Richards & al. 2009; Blay, 2009; Charles, 2009; Academie des sciences - France, 2011; Servais, 2011; Pansu, Dubois & Beauvois, 2013).
The objective of our project is to promote a method describing the scientific “fecundity” and the contribution of research groups, employing a method that respects diversity of disciplines and research cultures within humanities and social sciences. This approach can be referred as “qualitative bibliometrics”.
In a first step, we have analysed the publications of twelve research units (in the field of anthropology, psychology, sociology, linguistic, history, and literature) in order to index their recent communications and papers taking into account several dimensions of description.
In this communication, particular attention will be paid to four of these dimensions:
• the collective aspect of scientific production, such as it is revealed by co-authorship in particular,
• the type of publications, with a special attention to the role of books and articles, respectively,
• the language of publications, in relation with the target audience,
• the temporality of research and publishing work,
We will underline how the diversity of practices we observed reflects different orientations and contexts of research that must be taken into account in a descriptive approach of evaluation.
In a second step, we have developed a visualisation method based on cartography (with the tool TouchGraph). Using a database of several hundred indexed publications, the tool makes visible the specificity of each research unit’s scientific contribution. Our poster will present some examples illustrating this cartographic approach.
   
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Citation Perret, J. F., & Kadelbach, T. (2014). Towards a descriptive evaluation of scientific production and its diversity within humanities and social sciences. Presented at Earli Sig meeting 2014: Open Spaces for Interaction and Learning Diversities, University of Padova, Italy.
   
Type Présentation (Français)
Date 2014
Evénement Earli Sig meeting 2014: Open Spaces for Interaction and Learning Diversities (University of Padova, Italy)