Monday, February 06, 2006

Article Note: On Linguistics and Bibliometrics

Citation for the article:

Georgas, Helen and John Cullars. "A Citation Study of the Characteristics of the Linguistics Literature." College and Research Libraries 66.6 (November 2005): 496-515.

I read the article in print.

The article presents a study that "seeks to document the bibliometric characteristics of the linguistics literature through an analysis of its citation patterns" (496). The authors hope that this article will be helpful for librarians with responsibilities in linguistics. I found the article interesting because linguistics falls under my Arts and Humanities specialization. Many places I know place linguistics with English, but here it falls to me rather than to our English specialist. However, as the authors make clear, the field of linguistics can be seen as part of humanities, social sciences, or the sciences. So this being in my area of responsibility is not out of the ordinary. In fact, when I was doing my graduate work in English, linguistics was a part of that.

The study found that books and journals are prominent in linguistics scholarship (509). It is a very academic field with a small core of academic presses doing the publishing in the area. The study also found that English is the primary language for scholarship in this field, and that it is closer to the social sciences based on its publication and citation patterns (510).

One implication for instruction librarians from the article:

"For example, in being able to convey to students that, like other social science disciplines, both books and articles are relevant to their literature review, that materials published within the past ten years are acceptable, and that English is the primary language of scholarly communication (even when studying a non-English-speaking group or phenomenon), the reference and/or instruction librarian can help students establish important guidelines in terms of how they should go about conducting their research and which resources are appropriate" (510-511).

This article is your typical citation analysis article with findings, some discussion, and suggestions for further research. The tables presented would allow a librarian to make lists of publishers. While the study found that there is no core set of journals, due to the various specializations within linguistics, the tables listing titles most cited may give some guidance.

So, what would be a core list of publishers? Based on their findings (see their table on most cited publishers for citing and cited sources):

  • Elsevier
  • Kluwer
  • MIT Press
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • Oxford University Press
  • Cambridge University Press
  • Blackwell
  • Mouton de Gruyter
  • John Bengamins

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