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Language and Scientific Publication Statistics: a Note

Listed author(s):
  • Sandelin, Bo

    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

  • Sarafoglou, Nikias


    (Mid-Sweden University)

The number of contributions to scientific journals by authors from various OECD countries in 1998-2000 according to the commonly used ISI databases SSCI, A&HCI, and SCI Expanded is in focus. The number of contributions per million inhabitants is related to the main language of the country, the gross domestic product per capita and whether a country is a former socialist country or not. The social sciences, the arts and humanities, and the natural sciences are studied separately. It turns out that there is a tendency for a higher publication rate for English-language countries, slightly lower for countries with small languages, and even smaller for countries with large non-English languages. This is consistent with the hypotheses that there is a bias in the data bases from the ISI such that English-language journals tend to be overrepresented, that scholars from English-language countries write almost exclusively in English, and that scholars from other countries tend to publish less in English and more in their domestic language the larger is their domestic language. This calls for caution in using these databases for international comparisons of research activity.

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Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 109.

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Length: 9 pages
Date of creation: 09 Oct 2003
Publication status: Published in Language Problems & Language Planning, 2004, pages 1-10.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0109
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden

Phone: 031-773 10 00
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