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Missing author address information in Web of Science—An explorative study

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  • Liu, Weishu
  • Hu, Guangyuan
  • Tang, Li

Abstract

Bibliometric analysis is increasingly used to evaluate and compare research performance across geographical regions. However, the problem of missing information from author addresses has not attracted sufficient attention from scholars and practitioners. This study probes the missing data problem in the three core journal citation databases of Web of Science (WoS). Our findings reveal that from 1900 to 2015 over one-fifth of the publications indexed in WoS have completely missing information from the address field. The magnitude of the problem varies greatly among time periods, citation databases, document types, and publishing languages. The problem is especially serious for research in the sciences and social sciences published before the early 1970s and remains significant for recent publications in the arts and humanities. Further examinations suggest that many records with completely missing address information do not represent scholarly research. Full-text scanning of a random sample reveals that about 40% of the missing address articles have some address information that is not indexed in WoS. This study also finds that the problem of partially missing address information for U.S. research has diminished dramatically since 1998. The paper ends by providing some discussion and tentative remedies.

Suggested Citation

  • Liu, Weishu & Hu, Guangyuan & Tang, Li, 2018. "Missing author address information in Web of Science—An explorative study," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 985-997.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:infome:v:12:y:2018:i:3:p:985-997
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joi.2018.07.008
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