Project description

KIGS is a research project on communication patterns in the social sciences and humanities. Counting of publications and citations are common methods to measure international scientific impact. Based on citation analyses, various calculation methods and indicators have developed in recent years. However, the humanities and social sciences are still barely accessible to bibliometrics.

At first glance, the reasons for this inaccessibility are based on the poor coverage of publications by publication databases on which bibliometrics rely on. On second glance, it becomes obvious that the publishing and referencing practices in the humanities and social sciences differ from those in natural sciences.

Discipline-specific practices of dealing with and referring to different types of publications suggest that citations may look alike, but publications may be linked in a way that is specific to the humanities and the social sciences for specific purposes.


In the project we build publication databases that contain much of the literature in the disciplines art history and international relations.

Based on this data, communication practices, their embedding in the work processes and the respective meanings of the reciprocal references of publications are going to be analysed.

In order to gain theoretical insights into communication patterns a comparative strategy is applied. We start by comparing two subjects – art history and international relations.

Then we follow-up by comparing two national scientific communities which rely to varying degrees on the English language. In Germany, the German language plays an important role in both areas, while researchers in the Netherlands, although publishing in their native language, make far more extensive use of the English language than their German counterparts.


The results of our investigations will provide conclusions on the validity of the application of existing bibliometric indicators to the humanities and social sciences.

The combination of network analysis and citation context analysis will allow us to identify functions of different publication types in the communication of the humanities and social sciences.


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