Humanities: The Outlier of Research Assessments

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INFORMATION, vol.11, no.11, 2020 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 11
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/info11110540
  • Journal Name: INFORMATION
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Aerospace Database, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, INSPEC, Metadex, Directory of Open Access Journals, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Commercial bibliometric databases, and the quantitative indicators presented by them, are widely used for research assessment purposes, which is not fair for the humanities. The humanities are different from all other areas by nature in many aspects. This study aimed to show the extent of the difference in terms of five size-independent bibliometric indicators, based on citations and collaborations. We used categorical InCites data (1980-2020) to compare six main Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) subject areas, and the 45,987 sources of humanities, to make a comparison for subareas of the humanities. Results showed that the humanities are statistically different from all other areas, including social sciences, with high effect sizes in terms of the five indicators taken into consideration. Besides that, all the subareas of the humanities differ from each other. This main finding indicates that the humanities do not need new indicators for quantitative evaluation, but different approaches for assessment, such as bottom-up approaches.