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Language and Scientific Publication Statistics: a Note


  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sandelin, Bo & Sarafoglou, Nikias, 2003. "Language and Scientific Publication Statistics: a Note," Working Papers in Economics 109, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0109

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    Cited by:

    1. Melitz, Jacques, 2014. "English as a global language," CEPR Discussion Papers 10102, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Philippe Jeannin, 2004. "Les économistes et leurs revues," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 114(3), pages 275-288.
    3. repec:hal:journl:hal-00451852 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Sandelin, Bo, 2004. "Eli Heckscher Today: A Bibliometric Picture," Working Papers in Economics 121, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    language; scientific publication; ISI;

    JEL classification:

    • Z00 - Other Special Topics - - General - - - General

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