Capturing Scholarly Communication in Southeast Asia: A Bibliometric Perspective

Capturing Scholarly Communication in Southeast Asia: A Bibliometric Perspective

Songphan Choemprayong (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5158-6.ch009
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One of the objectives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is to promote scientific and research collaboration in order to raise the level of competitiveness in Southeast Asia. Bibliometrics can play an important role in informing science and scholarship policy evaluation and recommendations in this region. Bibliometric researchers have been observing scholarly activities in this region since the 1980s. However, the number of scholarly publications in this region has been relatively low compared to the rest of the world. Most of these bibliometric studies focus on benchmarking research performance between these countries, although they vary in many regards, for instance, in the countries/regions of interest, data sources, and analytical techniques. Evaluation studies of collaboration within this region are evidently rare and mostly focus on collaborations with non-ASEAN countries. By connecting the results of these studies through different periods and methodological perspectives, this chapter discusses the challenges and knowledge gaps in this research area in order to identify potential research topics and approaches for future studies.
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Scholarly Communication And Bibliometrics

The operational scope of scholarly communication in this chapter corresponds to what Borgman and Furner (2002; p. 6) proposed: “the communicative activities” of authors of scholarly works, excluding those who make a judgment as to the relevance of particular documents (e.g., editors, peer reviewers, indexers, and readers). From this definition, it is apparent that the most conventional form of scholarly works is the document. Bibliometrics is considered as “the field whose concern is with the measurement specifically of properties of documents, and of document-related processes.” (p. 7) Therefore, bibliometrics can be utilized as an approach to observe the communicative activities of authors.

Adopting Borgman and Furner’s typology of bibliometric studies of scholarly communication (2002), three facets are applicable to the development of a conceptual framework for this review of literature including communication behavior, scope, and level of aggregation.

The communication behavior facet is the main construct of interest. According to Borgman and Furner’s typology, authors’ communication behavior can be explained through their four different exhibited roles as writers, linkers (i.e., “choosers of documents to cite, acknowledge, or otherwise point, link, or refer to”) (p. 6), submitters (to journals or other publication sources), and collaborators.

The works included in this review employ an evaluative analysis as a frame of study. The evaluation of writing in this context concerns research productivity, the demographics of authorship, and the authors’ writing styles. The evaluation of linking refers to actions of citation that informs certain characteristics of document’s quality (e.g., journal impact and usage). The evaluation of submission indicates the authors’ choices of medium to distribute their works (e.g., journal titles and journal disciplines). Collaboration is mostly evaluated by observing the level of association between two or more scholars in a particular work or project. It is important to note that some measures or evaluation techniques may capture multiple communication behaviors at a time.

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