For a globally visible political science in the 21st Century. Bibliometric analyses and strategic consequences

83 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2021

See all articles by Arno Tausch

Arno Tausch

University of the Free State, Department of Political Studies and Governance; University of Innsbruck - Department of Political Science

Date Written: October 26, 2021

Abstract



This article documents the enormous concentration of the global access to products of “political science”, published in hitherto existing communication channels. We show with the data of the OCLC Worldcat for example that the American Political Science Review, which is the official scientific journal of the world’s leading scholarly association in the field, the American Political Science Association, is currently available at 1797 global libraries, but only 36 copies of this journal are available in the libraries of Latin America (< 5700 kms from Campo Grande, Brazil), Africa (except the Republic of South Africa; < 3600 kms from Yaoundé, Cameroon), the ex-USSR, Mongolia, and China (< 3600 kms from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) and South Asia (< 2800 kms Dhaka, Bangladesh). In this analysis, the author, is thus starting from a critique of the self-understanding of political science that still exclusively seeks the dissemination of the products of our work in English-language peer-reviewed journals based in the previous, declining geographical and political centre of the world economy. Still, these journals are being called university ranking-relevant. We try to elaborate new perspectives aimed at a greater international visibility of scientific work all around our planet beyond these established publication channels in the 21st Century. A planet that is increasingly moving away from the leadership role of the United States of America and is increasingly characterised by a plurality of cultures and languages.

For the purposes of this study, we have compiled an updated and fairly complete list of the 54 national union catalogues, 76 national libraries, 15 parliamentary libraries and 9 libraries of international organisations which offer on-line catalogues of their data and analysed how many items with the English language title word “political science” are present in these libraries. The devastating result of our research is that only 30 of the 54 national union catalogues, 18 of the 76 national libraries, 4 of the 15 parliamentary libraries and 7 of the 9 international organisations surveyed had library collections of > 1000 items with the explicit title word "political science". And yet, global interest in political science is huge and beyond our expectations. To measure this global interest, our paper looked into the download statistics of the central Wikipedia articles on “political science” in the respective languages. Our analysis shows a large amount of interest across the globe for our subject, unmet by present day publications.

Especially titles in

Hindi
Spanish
Russian
Portuguese
Indonesian
Thai
French
Polish
Japanese

would meet a growing demand for information on political science, while the supply of scholarly publications on the subject is rather limited.

In this analysis, we also ask ourselves whether or not standard data bases, like the Web of Science. We can show that even the work of Skytte laureates in political science – two Nobel laureates in economics among them – are grossly undervalued in the Web of Science.

We also cover elements of a possible counter-strategy for the better visibility of the products of our work, such as working with Project Syndicate to disseminate our knowledge to the world press, relying on Scopus (Elsevier) for documentation, and to disseminate our work via the Social Science Research Network, and motivate our publishers to provide full text copies via EBSCO or ProQest. Our essay tries to shift our gaze forward a little, and advocates communicating political science for the benefit of the inhabitants of our planet, and not just to serve our scientific rankings and our impact factors.


Keywords:

Bibliometrics, National Libraries, Union Catalogues, OCLC Worldcat, Political Science, Social Science Research Network, ResearchGate, EBSCO Host, ProQuest, Web of Science, Scopus.

Keywords: Bibliometrics, National Libraries, Union Catalogues, OCLC Worldcat, Political Science, Social Science Research Network, ResearchGate, EBSCO Host, ProQuest, Web of Science, Scopus.

JEL Classification: A11

Suggested Citation

Tausch, Arno, For a globally visible political science in the 21st Century. Bibliometric analyses and strategic consequences (October 26, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3950846 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3950846

Arno Tausch (Contact Author)

University of the Free State, Department of Political Studies and Governance ( email )

205 Nelson Mandela Drive
Park West
Bloemfontein, Free State 9300
South Africa

University of Innsbruck - Department of Political Science ( email )

Universitätsstrasse 15
Innsbruck, Tirol 6020
Austria

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