Information processing & management vol:35 issue:1 pages:31-44
In earlier papers the authors focused on differences in the ageing of journal literature in science and the social sciences. It was shown that for several fields and topics bibliometric standard indicators based on journal articles need to be modified in order to provide valid results. In fields where monographs, books or reports are important means of scientific information. standard models of scientific communication are not reflected by journal literature alone. To identify fields where the role of non-serial literature is considerable or critical in terms of bibliometric standard methods. the totality of the bibliographic citations indexed in the 1993 annual cumulation of the SCI and SSCI databases, have been processed. The analysis is based on three indicators, the percentage of references to serials, the mean references age, and the mean reference rate. Applications of these measures at different levels of aggregation (i.e., to journals in selected science and social science fields) lead to the following conclusions. 1. The percentage of references to serials proved to be a sensitive measure to characterise typical differences in the communication behaviour between the sciences and the social sciences.'. However, there is an overlap zone which includes fields like mathematics, technology oriented science, and some social science areas. 3, In certain social sciences part of the information seems even to be originated in non-scientific sources: references to non-serials do not always represent monographs, preprints or reports. Consequently, the model of information transfer from scientific literature to scientific (journal) literature assumed by standard bibliometrics requires substantial revision before valid results can be expected through its application to social science areas. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.