How to delineate scientific disciplines without bibliographic databases?

The KIGS project aims at analysing communication patterns in research communities. This includes the identification of persons belonging to those communities. Accordingly, one task in the project is related to the prospect of field delineation. Approaches for an appropriate delineation can derive from within a discipline or they can be the result of an external view on the discipline, for example be analysing publication patterns. Bibliometric analysis is one example for an external view. Usually, bibliometric field delineation or mapping of research fields is based on journals or journal articles and their assignment to one or more field. From a bibliometrics point of view there are several approaches to delineate a field. Lively discussions about advantages of one, and shortcomings of another method are going on. However, all approaches are based on bibliographic databases. One of the major challenges in bibliometrics-supported research, especially when it comes to the humanities, is the absence of such comprehensive bibliographic databases. Appropriate alternatives to Web of Science or Scopus that can lead to more accurate insights into humanities research output are national bibliographic databases. A number of countries have set up national bibliographic databases e.g. Belgium (VABB-SHW Database) or Croatia (CROSBI). In Germany no such database exists.

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