Policy-relevant Webometrics for individual scientific fields

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Abstract

Despite over 10 years of research there is no agreement on the most suitable roles for Webometric indicators in support of research policy and almost no field-based Webometrics. This article partly fills these gaps by analyzing the potential of policy-relevant Webometrics for individual scientific fields with the help of 4 case studies. Although Webometrics cannot provide robust indicators of knowledge flows or research impact, it can provide some evidence of networking and mutual awareness. The scope of Webometrics is also relatively wide, including not only research organizations and firms but also intermediary groups like professional associations, Web portals, and government agencies. Webometrics can, therefore, provide evidence about the research process to compliment peer review, bibliometric, and patent indicators: tracking the early, mainly prepublication development of new fields and research funding initiatives, assessing the role and impact of intermediary organizations and the need for new ones, and monitoring the extent of mutual awareness in particular research areas.

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