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Informetrics is the study of the measurement (metrics) of information. To measure and quantify information, mathematical and statistical methods are applied to the facts of the information system. The border with similar disciplines are fluid, sometimes the term Informetrie (surveying of information) is also synonymous with the terms scientometrics (surveying of Sciences) and bibliometrics (measurement of publications used).

Informetry is also known as infometrics, informetrics or infometrics and is a sub-discipline of information science . Scientometry is often viewed as a part of informetrics. While information is generally measured in informetrics, scientometry only measures scientific information (such as the number of university graduates or the countries of origin of Nobel Prize winners). As a sub-discipline of scientometry, bibliometrics measures scientific publications (e.g. the number of articles in the field of chemistry within a year).


History (overview)


Informetrics as the measure [Greek métron] of information science unites all mathematical and logical laws that reproduce relationships between facts of the information system. Information science particularly includes information science and computer science. Originally, scientific work related to information came under the term bibliometrics. Bibliometrics, however, basically referred to library science. As newer developments and research moved further away from this discipline, a new name had to describe the area.

In 1979 Otto Nacke introduced the term “informetrie”. By that he meant a new scientific discipline that is clearly different from bibliometrics and scientometrics .

In 1984 the All Union Institute for Scientific and Technical Information in Moscow ( VINITI ) set up a committee headed by Nackes. This stipulated that informetrics and scientometrics should have the same conceptual content.

In 1988, at the 1st International Conference on Bibliometrics and Theoretical Aspects of Information Retrieval, informetry was used as a generic term for bibliometrics and scientometrics.

Today, informetry relates to all three sub-areas and also to the classic scientific communication studies. This relationship is primarily created in the sub-areas by using the same methods.


The first International Conference on Bibliometrics and Theoretical Aspects of Information Retrieval was organized by Leo Egghe and held in Belgium in August 1987. This was followed in 1989 by the International Conference on Bibliometrics, Scientometrics and Informetrics in Ontario and in 1991 by the International Conference on Informetrics in Bangalore. The International Society for Informetrics and Scientometrics (ISSI) was founded at the International Conference on Bibliometrics, Informetrics and Scientometrics from September 11 to 15, 1993 in Berlin . Since then, the ISSI has hosted the biennial International Conference of the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics in River Forest, Illinois (1995), Jerusalem (1997), Colima, Mexico (1999), Sydney (2001), Beijing (2003) and Stockholm (2005 ). The last ISSI conference took place in Madrid in 2007.

Informetric analysis

The subjects of investigation in informetrics are publications . These can be from authors, a (research) group, an institution, a subject area, country or area. Depending on the type of publication, the information medium, the process and the specialist area, a different part of informetrics is addressed.


In informetry, relevant works are first determined, which are then examined on the basis of different methods. Relevant works usually result from specifying certain characteristics that the work should have. A further selection can then be made using a ranking process. Key literature can thus be identified. Ranking procedures according to certain criteria allow information about the creditworthiness of magazines, researchers, institutes or regions. Historical developments in scientific departments are shown with the help of informetry. It is also determined in which time frame works in certain areas are still in use. Acquisition costs and acquisition quantities for libraries are calculated through informetric studies, whereby the works can also be determined informetrically. Informetrics can reveal networks of scientific collaboration.

Like all statistical studies, however, informetric studies must always be viewed with caution. According to an informetric study, a scientist can have a high status, but this does not necessarily mean that he is the best in his field. The following reasons can be the cause:

  • A scientist makes mediocre contributions, but publishes in renowned journals, which increases his reach.
  • A scientist is unknown, but knows a well-known scientist who would like to co-publish with him or simply provide his name. Scientists are looking for the more established name and at the same time come across the texts of the unknown. These are then also quoted.
  • Certain scientific circles stay among themselves when it comes to citation.
  • A scientist has achieved a certain amount of fame, so he is often quoted even though his contributions to current science are not outstanding.
  • A scientist quotes himself. This allows informetric analyzes to be manipulated.


The easiest way to measure the performance and input of a person or organization is by the number of plants. An indicator for university facilities can be the number of visits by visiting professors or the number of graduates. However, a large number do not provide any information about quality. Because quality takes time and contradicts mass production. However, it is possible to identify quality by means of suitable informetrical selection. For example, you could only select journals that use the peer review process . Here, scientific work is checked and assessed by specialist colleagues. However, the evaluation depends heavily on the respective experts.

Other methods are also citation analysis and the impact factor . The citation analysis counts how often a scientist, journal or institute is cited by other scientists, journals or institutes. It is assumed that articles that are often cited are important and are therefore cited. The impact factor is part of the citation analysis and describes the effectiveness of an instance using a mathematical expression.


Here is a possible result of an informetric series of investigations. The primary aim of this investigation was to find the most important journal in the information management sector.

rank Quotes Journal / monograph Journal Subject Group class Impact factor
1 56 HARVARD BUS REV Business management MIS 2.5
2 46 INFORM MANAGE Computer Science, Info Systems Management, Information Science & Library Science (LIS) MIS 0.7
3 39 MIS Q Management, LIS MIS 1.6
4th 29 COMMUN ACM Computer Science Comp 1.3
5 26th SLOAN MANDGE REV Management business MIS 1.8
7th 23 INFORMATION RESOURCE -(Monograph) - -
7th 23 INFORMATION SYSTEMS -(Monograph) - -
9 19th MANAGEMENT INFORMATI -(Monograph) - -
9 19th ACM T DATABASE SYST Computer Science, Info Systems Comp 0.4
12 16 INFORMATION TECHNOLO -(Monograph) - -
12 16 ASLIB P LIS, Computer Science, Info Systems LIS 0.2
12 16 J INFORM SCI LIS, Computer Science, Info Systems LIS 0.4

The rank is based on the frequency of citation, with the impact factor providing further information about the effectiveness of the journal.

Trade journals

Important journals for the field of Informetrie are founded in Hungary in 1978 Scientometrics ( ISSN  0138-9130 ) in the field of scientometrics , the online journal CyberMetrics - International Journal of Scientometrics, Informetrics and Bibliometrics ( ISSN  1137-5019 ) in the field of Webometry and the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST, ISSN  1532-2882 ) in the field of information science . The Journal of Informetrics has been published quarterly since 2007 and focuses on informetrics.

See also


  • Judit Bar-Ilan, Bluma C. Peritz: Evolution, continuity, and disappearance of documents on a specific topic on the Web: A longitudinal study of "informetrics". In: Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Vol. 55, number 11, 2004, pp. 980-990, doi : 10.1002 / asi.20049 .
  • Francis J. Cole, Nellie B. Eales: The history of comparative anatomy. In: Science Progress. Vol. 11, 1916/1917, pp. 578-596 .
  • Leo Egghe, Ronald Rousseau: Introduction to Informetrics. Quantitative Methods in Library, Documentation and Information Science. Elsevier, Amsterdam et al. 1990, ISBN 0-444-88493-9 .
  • Ирина В. Маршакова: Система связей между документами, построенная на основе ссылок (по указателю "Science Citation Index"). In: Научно-техническая информация. Series 2, Number 6, 1973, ISSN  0548-0027 , pp. 3-8, (Russian).
  • Otto Nacke : Informetrics. A new name for a new discipline. In: News for Documentation. Vol. 30, number 6, 1979, ISSN  0027-7436 , pp. 219-226.
  • Philipp Schaer: Information Retrieval and Informetrie: For the application of informetric methods in digital libraries. In: Historical Social Research. Vol. 38, number 3, 2013, pp. 282–354, ( digital version (PDF; 0.8 MB) .
  • Henry Small: Co-citation in the Scientific Literature: A New Measure of the Relationship Between Two Documents. In: Journal of the American Society for Information Science. Vol. 24, number 4, 1973, pp. 265-269, doi : 10.1002 / asi.4630240406 .
  • Wolfgang G. Stock , Sonja Weber: Facets of informetrics. In: Information - Science and Practice. Vol. 57, number 8, 2006, pp. 385-389, digitized version (PDF; 172 kB) ).
  • William A. Turner: What's in an R: Informetrics or infometrics? In: Scientometrics. Vol. 30, number 2/3, 1994, pp. 471-480, doi : 10.1007 / BF02018127 .
  • Irene Wormell: Informetrics: an emerging subdiscipline in information science. In: Asian Libraries. Vol. 7, number 10, 1998, pp. 257-268, doi : 10.1108 / 10176749810241838 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Conferences | International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics. Retrieved November 10, 2018 .
  2. Marc Rittberger: Bibliometrics, Quote Analysis (PDF) Retrieved on November 4, 2015.
  3. ^ ScienceDirect. Retrieved November 10, 2018 .