Google book search: Citation analysis for social science and the humanities



In both the social sciences and the humanities, books and monographs play significant roles in research communication. The absence of citations from most books and monographs from the Thomson Reuters/Institute for Scientific Information databases (ISI) has been criticized, but attempts to include citations from or to books in the research evaluation of the social sciences and humanities have not led to widespread adoption. This article assesses whether Google Book Search (GBS) can partially fill this gap by comparing citations from books with citations from journal articles to journal articles in 10 science, social science, and humanities disciplines. Book citations were 31% to 212% of ISI citations and, hence, numerous enough to supplement ISI citations in the social sciences and humanities covered, but not in the sciences (3%–5%), except for computing (46%), due to numerous published conference proceedings. A case study was also made of all 1,923 articles in the 51 information science and library science ISI-indexed journals published in 2003. Within this set, highly book-cited articles tended to receive many ISI citations, indicating a significant relationship between the two types of citation data, but with important exceptions that point to the additional information provided by book citations. In summary, GBS is clearly a valuable new source of citation data for the social sciences and humanities. One practical implication is that book-oriented scholars should consult it for additional citations to their work when applying for promotion and tenure.