Publication patterns in the social sciences and humanities: evidence from eight European countries
Publication patterns in the social sciences and humanities: evidence from eight European countries
Emanuel Kulczycki 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Tim C. E. Engels 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Janne Po¨ lo¨ nen 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Kasper Bruun 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Marta Dusˇkov a´ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Raf Guns 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Robert Nowotniak 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Michal Petr 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Gunnar Sivertsen 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Andreja Istenicˇ Starcˇicˇ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Alesia Zuccala 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Emanuel Kulczycki 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Tim C. E. Engels 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Janne Po¨lo¨nen 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Robert Nowotniak 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
0 Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information , Lamacˇska ́ cesta 8/A, 811 04 Bratislava , Slovak Republic
1 Division of Analysis, Statistics and Coordinated Admission, Agency for Science and Higher Education, Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science , Bredgade 40, 1260 Copenhagen , Denmark
2 Centre for R&D Monitoring, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Antwerp , Middelheimlaan 1, 2020 Antwerp , Belgium
3 Department of Information Studies, University of Copenhagen , Njalsgade 76, 2300 Copenhagen , Denmark
4 Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, University of Ljubljana , Jamova 2, 1000 Ljubljana , Slovenia
5 Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education , P.O. Box 2815, 0608 Toyen, Oslo , Norway
6 Research Office, Masaryk University , Zerotinovo namesti 9, 601 77 Brno , Czech Republic
7 Faculty of Electrical , Electronic Computer , and Control Engineering, Institute of Applied Computer Science, Lodz University of Technology , Lodz , Poland
This study investigates patterns in the language and type of social sciences and humanities (SSH) publications in non-English speaking European countries to demonstrate that such patterns are related not only to discipline but also to each country's cultural and historic heritage. We investigate publication patterns that occur across SSH publications of the whole of the SSH and of economics and business, law, and philosophy and theology publications in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Flanders (Belgium), Norway, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. We use data from 74,022 peer-reviewed publications from 2014
registered in at least one of the eight countries’ national databases and for 272,376
peerreviewed publications from the period of 2011–2014 registered in at least one of the seven
countries’ national databases (for all countries except Slovakia). Our findings show that
publication patterns differ both between fields (e.g. patterns in law differ from those in
economics and business in the same way in Flanders and Finland) and within fields (e.g.
patterns in law in the Czech Republic differ from patterns in law in Finland). We observe that
the publication patterns are stable and quite similar in West European and Nordic countries,
whereas in Central and Eastern European countries the publication patterns demonstrate
considerable changes. Nevertheless, in all countries, the share of articles and the share of
publications in English is on the rise. We conclude with recommendations for science policy
and highlight that internationalization policies in non-English speaking countries should
consider various starting points and cultural heritages in different countries.
Mathematics Subject Classification 00-02
JEL Classification I23
This study aims to advance the knowledge regarding social sciences and humanities (SSH)
publication patterns in Europe. National studies on SSH research outputs in Finland
(Engels et al. 2012; Verleysen et al. 2014)
, and Norway
Scholarly Communication Research Group, Faculty of Social Sciences, Adam Mickiewicz
University in Poznan´, Szamarzewskiego 69, 60-568 Poznan´, Poland
10 Faculty of Education, University of Primorska, Cankarjeva 5, 6000 Koper, Slovenia
stable patterns in terms of publication type; however, in terms of publication language, academic
work is gradually leaning toward greater use of English.
Van Leeuwen (2006
) reported similar
patterns of referencing non-Institute for Scientific Information-covered sources among social
scientists from six different countries. Furthermore, Sivertsen (2016a) suggests that, although
publication patterns differ between SSH disciplines, these patterns are rather similar within SSH
disciplines across different countries. However, very few cross-country comparative studies of SSH
publication patterns have been conducted. Moreover, these studies have focused on West European
and Nordic countries
(e.g. Nordforsk 2018; Ossenblok et al. 2012; Po¨lo¨nen et al. 2017a)
. In this
study, we add Central and Eastern European countries, which have undergone various academic
transformations over the past three decades, following the breakdown of Communist regimes
(Kozak et al. 2014; Kwiek 2014)
All the analysed countries are non-English speaking countries. However, in terms of the
scholars working there, internationalization in these countries varies in many ways. For
instance, in Finland, the share of foreign academic staff in Finnish universities has
increased in SSH fields from 8% of the full-time equivalent in 2010 to 12% in 2016
. In the Czech Republic in 2011, less than 10% of researchers overall were
foreign, and half of those were Slovaks
, whereas the share of foreign
academic staff in Polish universities was 2.5% in 2016
(PAP Nauka w Polsce 2017)
Our study contributes to the literature by demonstrating that in non-English speaking
countries, patterns in the language and type of SSH publications are related not only to the
norms, culture, and expectations of each SSH discipline but also to each country’s specific
cultural and historic heritage. The starting point for this study are the results of a previous
study we conducted, which were presented at the ISSI 2017 conference in Wuhan, China
(Kulczycki et al. 2017a)
. In this previous study, we investigated all peer-reviewed SSH
publications from the 2009–2014 period in Flanders (Belgium) and Poland. In the present
study, SSH publication data from eight European countries are included.
We have analysed all scholarly SSH publications for the 2011–2014 period written by
academics affiliated with higher education institutions or research institutes from eight
European countries: the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Flanders (Belgium), Norway,
Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Though the presence of SSH publications in databases like
Scopus and the Web of Science Core Collection (WoS) has grown—and though, as a result,
various research evaluation systems have come to use this presence as a criterion of
productivity—these citation databases have limited coverage of scholarly SSH publications from
nonEnglish speaking countries
. Therefore, to develop a broader picture of
publication patterns in Europe, we examine the peer-reviewed publications registered in national
publication databases, which offer an almost complete representation of scholarly SSH
publications within their respective countries. We begin by characterizing these databases and
defining various publication types and inclusion criteria. Next, we briefly explain how the
databases classify publications into fields and disciplines. Then we describe the data and
methods, as well as our findings regarding SSH publication patterns in terms of language and
type. We conclude by discussing and interpreting the results in a broader context.
To achieve the study’s aim, we use data from eight national databases that
comprehensively cover the scholarly, peer-reviewed SSH publications of each of the eight countries.
In this way, we investigate all peer-reviewed SSH publications, including journal articles,
monographs, edited volumes, and chapters in books/conference proceedings, from all eight
countries. For each of the databases, whole counting of publications at the national level is
applied, meaning that (1) for each of the countries each of the publications is counted once,
and that (2) papers co-authored by authors with affiliations in two or more of these eight
countries are counted for each of those countries. By using national databases, our study is
not limited to publications covered by Scopus or the WoS. In the following, we present the
data sources for bibliographic information from each country. We use these databases to
cover the entire SSH domain in which data are—or can be—classified in three dimensions:
Publication type journal article, monograph, edited volume, or chapter in
Publication language English, local language, or other languages.
Discipline economics and business, law, and philosophy and theology.
More information about each of the databases and details on the inclusion criteria are
available in the ENRESSH Report on European databases for SSH output
(S¯ıle et al. 2017)
As will be apparent from the ensuing brief description of each of the databases, the
coverage of these databases in terms of included institutions differs. For example, in some
cases the publications by authors with a university affiliation only are reported, whereas in
other cases the entire higher education and research performing sector is included. The
latter design typically adds a few percentages of peer-reviewed publications to a country’s
total volume. These differences in terms of comprehensiveness of database coverage are
discussed in detail by S¯ıle et al. (n.d.). Here, we maintain that those differences in
comprehensiveness of coverage influence the numbers and percentage reported in this paper to
a limited extent. In other words, exact numbers and percentages might be subject to change
if the comprehensiveness of the databases or the processes underlying them were different;
the general trends reported in this paper, however, would remain.
Data sources for peer-reviewed SSH publications
Below, we describe the design and content of the eight national databases. Moreover, we
present the InCites Dataset, which is used to compare the coverage degree between the
WoS and the national databases.
Czech Republic: The National Registry of RD & I Outputs (RIV)
The data in the RIV is collected through a process that involves the institutions and the
funders of research activities
. Records in the RIV are most often locally
created in the current research information systems of higher education institutions. The
authors of the publications working in the Czech higher education institutions are
responsible for the data quality. However, the final records are verified at the national level.
The publication records are collected annually from research organizations via funding
bodies to the RIV. The collected data was verified in a specific timeframe (including
subject classifications) both algorithmically (i.e. the validity of the whole publication
record) and manually by verification panels (i.e. for monographs, chapters, and articles
published in Czech journals not indexed in Scopus or the WoS).
Denmark: The Danish Bibliometric Research Indicator (BFI)
The BFI is an instrument for the performance-based research funding model for the
distribution of block grants for research to Danish universities
(Ministry of Higher Education
and Science and Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education 2017)
. With the Danish
database, all publication records affiliated with eight Danish universities were collected
from current individual research information systems and then de-duplicated. Depending
on the university, it may be either the authors of the publication or the department itself
that takes responsibility for the quality of the data input. Moreover, the inclusion criteria
for the BFI are always decided by the Academic as well as a National Steering
Committee. Bibliographic information about publication types and publication languages
within the disciplines were not collected in Denmark before 2008.
Flanders (Belgium): The Flemish Academic Bibliographic Database for the Social Sciences and Humanities (VABB–SHW)
Earlier studies have described the methodology and the inclusion criteria of the VABB–
SHW for collecting bibliographic data
(Verleysen et al. 2014)
. Five Flemish universities
annually provide bibliographic information for publications from the previous 2 years. The
interuniversity Centre for Research and Development Monitoring (ECOOM) serves as the
database coordinator and technical operator. Moreover, the Flemish government has
established an authoritative panel comprised of 18 professors affiliated with Flemish
universities, and this panel evaluates whether journals and book publishers fulfil the
VABB–SHW’s inclusion criteria.
Finland: The VIRTA Publication Information Service
In Finland, the publication records on all publications, including SSH, are collected at the
national level in the VIRTA database
(Ministry of Education and Culture 2015)
. These data
are used in the performance-based research funding system for allocating parts of the block
grants to universities. The inclusion criteria are decided by the Ministry of Education and
Culture. The VIRTA database integrates publication data from fourteen separate
institutional CRIS systems. Peer-review status and field of publications are determined at the
record level at the time of registering publications to local CRIS systems. The publication
data are validated by the higher education institutions. Some universities update
publication records daily, and some universities report all publications once a year.
Norway: Norwegian Science Index (NSI)
The Norwegian Science Index (NSI) is a part of the CRIStin database, which collects
publication records from all fields at higher education institutions, hospitals and
independent research institutes. The Norwegian model
with a publication
indicator for institutional funding was one of the motivations for establishing the CRIStin.
The CRIStin is updated daily. However, once a year, official quality assured data are
published. In the CRIStin, data on publications are with a few exceptions only from
organizations funded by the Ministry of Education and Research (higher education), the
Ministry of Health (hospitals), and the Research Council (research institutes). The NSI
records three scholarly publication types: Articles in journals and series, articles in books,
and books. For the funding model, publication channels are divided into two levels
according to their prestige.
Poland: The Polish Scholarly Bibliography (PBN)
The database’s records are used for Poland’s performance-based research funding system.
The inclusion criteria and publication types have been described in previous studies
. In Poland, all scientific units (including faculties, basic and applied
research institutions, and the Polish Academy of Sciences) must submit to the PBN all
bibliographic information for their affiliated scholarly publications. The database is
updated daily, and the data are verified by PBN editors and higher education
administrators. Each scientific unit must submit its data at least once every 6 months. However,
missing data can be added until the next cycle of scientific unit evaluation, which is
conducted every 4 years.
Slovakia: The Central Registry of Publication Activity (CREPCˇ )
Run since 2007, the CREPCˇ is a bibliographical database collecting metadata of
publications from all Slovakian universities (public, state, private). The database mainly serves
to allocate state-budget funding to public universities. The Ministry of Education, Science,
Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic regulates what data—reported by academic
libraries—on the peer-reviewed publications are provided (
Hrcˇkova´ and Dusˇkova´ 2011
The bibliographic records are registered by librarians in academic libraries. The Slovak
Centre of Scientific and Technical Information serves as a verification workplace for
bibliographic records as well as for publications. Data from the Slovak Academy of
Sciences are not collected because the academy is not obliged to contribute to the CREPCˇ : the
publications are registered in its own system based on almost the same rules as those of the
CREPCˇ system. Publication data are provided for authors with a full-time academic
position. In the CREPCˇ , publications are reported and assigned to a detailed classification
of publication types for which there are specific inclusion criteria
(Ministry of Education,
Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic 2012)
. In this database, information on
disciplines assigned to publications is provided since 2014.
Slovenia: The Cooperative Online Bibliographic System and Services (COBISS)
The COBISS, which is a national library information system
(COBISS Platform 2016)
supports the Slovenian Current Research Information System
by linking to
Scopus and the WoS. The bibliographic records are registered by librarians. Publication
types are assigned to publications in agreement with the guidelines set by the Slovenian
Research Agency and are controlled by Central Specialised Information Centres. The data
are assigned to (a refined version of) the Organization for Economic Co-operation and
Development Fields of Science (OECD FOS) according to the guidelines set by the
Slovenian Research Agency.
Web of Science Core Collection: InCites Dataset
To compare the coverage degree between the WoS and the national databases, we use data
about the number of publications from the InCites Dataset for seven countries and for all
Flemish universities and public research institutes (we counted joint publications from
these Flemish institutions only once). InCites Dataset contains Science Citation Index
Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index, Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Conference
Proceedings Citation Index–Science, Conference Proceedings Citation Index—Social
Sciences & Humanities, Book Citation Index–Science, and Book Citation Index—Social
Sciences & Humanities. We use all publication types (including editorials, abstracts, etc.)
registered in the WoS from 2011 to 2014, which are classified into one of two OECD FOS
fields: the social sciences and the humanities.
Publication types and languages
The above-mentioned databases assign a publication type to each publication. Depending
on the database, three, four, or more publication types are distinguished. For the purpose of
this study, we identified the common denominator for all the databases and classified all
the publications into four types: journal articles, monographs, edited volumes, and
chapters in books/conference proceedings. For Slovenia, chapters in conference proceedings
were not taken into account. Data on edited volumes are not collected in the Czech
Republic, Denmark, and Slovakia; in Norway, data on edited volumes, their contents,
authors and editors, are collected in CRIStin, but the editing of such volumes does not
count as a specific publication type in the funding model and is therefore not specified in
the statistics. Table 1 presents the publication types distinguished for each of the databases
used in this study.
The data on the publication language is classified into three categories: English, local
language, and other. If there is more than one national language, the language that is used
most frequently as the publication language in the country or region is defined as local.
Local languages are presented in Table 2.
Daraio and Gla¨nzel (2016)
, all subject classifications can be reduced to four
main types, namely: (1) cognitive—content–related, (2)
administrative—responsibilityrelated, (3) organizational—structure-related, and (4)
qualification-based—competencyrelated. Table 3 shows the type of subject classification systems used in each of the
In six databases (RIV in the Czech Republic, BFI in Denmark, VIRTA in Finland, NSI
in Norway, CREPCˇ in Slovakia, and COBISS in Slovenia), publications are assigned to
disciplines according to a cognitive classification, mostly the OECD Fields of Science
classification or a refined version thereof. This means that the assignment of publications to
disciplines is based on the content of publications or journals in which papers were
published. In Flanders and Poland, publications are assigned according to the organizational
structure of the higher education institutions to which the authors of the publications are
affiliated. In this way, all publications of a researcher working at some law faculty are
assigned to the law discipline. In Denmark, bibliographic information about publication
types and publication languages within the disciplines was not collected for the period
analysed in this study. Therefore, the Danish data are not used in the comparison on the
discipline level. Slovakia uses discipline classification, which allows for differentiation of
SSH from other fields from 2014 onwards. Thus, only the 2014 data can be used for
Slovakia. In the WoS, publications are assigned to disciplines and fields according to a
cognitive classification, which is mapped to the OECD FOS classification.
For the purposes of this study, we analyse the set of all peer-reviewed SSH publications, as
well as the publications for specific SSH disciplines. For our analysis, we use the
publication data per country for the 2011–2014 period. For each of the countries, the numbers of
publications have been reported. We use four datasets to (A) present the total volume of
SSH publications in eight countries, (B) compare the coverage degree between the WoS
and the national databases for SSH publications, (C) describe the language and publication
type occurrence frequencies in seven countries and to analyse the variability in the
proportion of publication types and the variability in the proportion of publication languages
for the 2011–2014 period, and (D) present the differences in the use of publication types
and languages for economics and business, law, and philosophy and theology in six
countries. The four datasets we used are described below:
Dataset A contains statistics for 74,022 publications from 2014 registered in at least
one of the eight national databases. For our analysis of the total volume of SSH
publications, we used the number of publications per country as our unit of analysis,
along with two nominal variables: (1) publication type (article, monograph, edited
volume, chapter) and (2) language (English, local language, other).
Dataset B contains statistics for 71,094 publications (i.e. all contained in dataset A
except the edited books, as these are included in four out of eight databases only)
from 2014 registered in at least one of the eight national databases and for 21,429
publications from 2014 registered in the WoS for seven countries and the Flemish
universities and public research institutes. Additionally, this dataset contains
statistics for 259,736 publications (edited volumes are not included) from the
2011–2014 period registered in at least one of the seven national databases (all the
analysed countries except Slovakia) and for 72,504 publications from the
2011–2014 period registered in the WoS for the same countries and the Flemish
universities and public research institutes. For our analysis of the coverage degree of
national databases and the WoS, we used the number of publications per country as
our unit of analysis, as well as one rank variable: the publication year (2011–2014).
Dataset C contains statistics for 272,376 publications (edited volumes are included)
from the 2011–2014 period registered in at least one of the seven national databases
(all countries except Slovakia). For our analysis of the overall SSH publication
patterns, we used the number of publications per country as our unit of analysis,
along with two nominal sub-variables: (1) publication type (article, monograph,
edited book, or chapter) and (2) language (English, local, other), as well as one rank
variable: the publication year (2011–2014).
Dataset D contains statistics for publications within three disciplines in six countries
(all countries except Denmark and Slovakia), including 39,288 economics and
business publications; 26,521 law publications; and 16,394 philosophy and theology
publications. For our discipline-level analysis of publication patterns in six
countries, we used the number of publications per discipline as our unit of analysis,
along with the same set of variables used in dataset C.
Part A: Total volume of SSH publications
Part B: total volume of SSH publications in the WoS and national databases
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We assume that, ideally, both each of the national databases and the WoS should cover
the total volume of SSH publications from a given country. Per country, we calculate what
percentage of the total SSH volume from a given national database is indexed in the WoS.
The highest share is for Denmark and Norway, with 50.9 and 44.2%, respectively. The
lowest share is for Poland and Slovenia, with 15.0 and 16.0%, respectively.
Figure 1 displays the number of publications according to data sources (national
databases versus WoS) from 2011 to 2014. The publications are aggregated from seven
countries (all the analysed countries except Slovakia). In 2011, 64,764 publications were
registered in national databases, and 15,564 publications were registered in the WoS,
whereas in 2014 these numbers slightly increased to 65,046 and 21,429, respectively. Thus,
the overall coverage, understood as the percentage of publications from national databases
indexed in the WoS, increased from 24.0% in 2011 to 32.9% in 2014 in terms of whole
counting of publications per country—it may be even lower when considering
Web of Science
Part C: characteristics of patterns of SSH publications
Figure 2 displays the number of publications per publication type from 2011 to 2014. The
publications are aggregated for the seven countries (all the analysed countries except
Slovakia). In 2011, 68,336 publications were registered and in 2014 this number slightly
decreased to 67,974. A growth in publication number is observed in all countries except
Poland and Slovenia. The number of edited volumes remains stable, whereas there are
substantial differences in the number of monographs and chapters, which drop
considerably. A growing number of published articles can be observed in all countries.
Figure 3 shows that in the majority of countries, patterns related to publication types
were rather stable and quite similar. Edited volumes are not presented in this comparison:
we calculated shares for all countries on the basis of articles, monographs, and
chapters only. In Poland, we observe considerable changes in the proportions of publication
types. The most significant change occurred in 2013: the share of articles increased
dramatically. Whereas in 2011 articles constituted 20.71% of all publications in Poland, by
2014 this proportion increased to 48.08%. The opposite occurred for chapters in Poland, as
the share of chapters decreased from 65.04% in 2011 to 46.28% in 2014. The most
significant changes in monograph publishing patterns can be observed in Poland (the
decline from 14.25% in 2011 to 5.64% in 2014). In 2014, in Denmark, Finland, Flanders,
Norway, Poland, and Slovenia monographs do not constitute more than 6% of the total
volume, whereas in the Czech Republic the share of monographs is 12.83%.
Figure 4 shows the distribution of publication languages from 2011 to 2014 (all four
publication types included). The proportion of the publications in English is much higher in
Denmark, Flanders, Finland, and Norway than in the Czech Republic, Poland, and
Slovenia. However, in all countries, there was a growth in the proportion of English
Part D: characteristics of the publication patterns according to three disciplines
Table 7 shows the distribution of publication types within three disciplines: economics and
business, law, and philosophy and theology in six countries. The proportion of articles
differed according to disciplines: articles are the dominant publication type within (1)
economics and business in the Czech Republic, Flanders, Norway and Slovenia; (2) law in
the Czech Republic, Finland, Flanders, Norway, and Slovenia; and (3) philosophy and
theology in the Czech Republic, Flanders, Norway, and Slovenia. In all three disciplines,
chapters are the dominant publication type in Poland. Moreover, chapters are the dominant
publication type within philosophy and theology in Finland.
Figure 5 presents the proportion of publications in English per countries for economics
and business, law, and philosophy and theology.
In all three disciplines, we can observe the same patterns. The highest and stable share
of publications in English is in the first group: Finland, Flanders, and Norway. In the
second group, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, the share of publications in English is
lower than in West European and Nordic countries but higher than in Poland—the only
country in the other group—which has the lowest share of publications in English in all
disciplines. We can also observe substantial differences among disciplines: in economics
and business, the Czech Republic and Slovenia are approaching the trends of West
European and Nordic countries. In law, however, the Czech Republic is rather similar to
Poland. Nonetheless, in all six countries, a growth of publications in English is observed
(except within law in the Czech Republic and Poland).
CZ Czech Republic, FIN Finland, FLA Flanders, NOR Norway, POL Poland, SI Slovenia
Our findings show that publication patterns differ both across fields (e.g. law differs from
economics and business in the same way in Flanders and Finland) and across countries
(e.g. publication patterns for law in the Czech Republic differ from those for law in
Finland). The advantage of using national publication databases as our data source is that
we can analyse the total peer-reviewed SSH publication volume for eight countries and
hence go beyond the coverage of databases like Scopus or the WoS. This is essential, in
order to, as the findings of Part B in the results section show, obtain a comprehensive
overview of a country’s SSH output.
Our study had two main limitations. First, our study uses data from national databases
which are based on different classification systems (cognitive versus organizational). This
may have biased the results on the discipline level and for the comparison between the
national databases and the WoS. Currently, however, analysing the total SSH volume in
non-English speaking countries is possible only in this way, i.e. on the basis of national
Guns et al. (2017)
have analysed the discrepancy between these two ways of
classifying publications in the social sciences and humanities. They show that, in the
VABB-SHW, 70% of publications from the humanities are published in humanities
journals, while only 53% of publications from the social sciences are published in social
sciences journals. Additionally, the types of institutions and personnel reporting to those
Scopus or the WoS). In other words, what unintended and constitutive effects have
occurred remains to be studied.
Another publication pattern and characteristic that requires further attention is related to
the publication languages, and in particular, publications that are written in English. Both
on the aggregate level and on the discipline level, we found patterns that similarly divided
the analysed countries into three groups. In Denmark, Finland, Flanders, and Norway, the
majority of the peer-reviewed publications appear in English. In the Czech Republic and
Slovenia, publications in English constitute a lower share of the total volume. In Poland,
publications written in English constitute the smallest share of all SSH publications from
all the analysed countries. However, in all countries at the aggregate level, the growth of
English language publications is observed.
The share of publications in English can be interpreted, among other perspectives, in the
light of the size of the scientific community in the given countries. In our study, we have
analysed eight countries, which were chosen on the basis of data availability. Our initial
goal was to analyse all European countries which collect the bibliographic records for all
SSH peer-reviewed publications at the national level. In the final dataset, there are six
countries whose populations do not exceed 7 million citizens (i.e. Denmark, Finland,
Flanders, Norway, Slovakia, and Slovenia). The Czech Republic has 10.5 million citizens,
and Poland has 38 million citizens. The size of the population and the size of scholarly
community may be important explanatory factors of publication patterns. The ‘local’
market of academic output may be very different depending on the number of people
speaking the local language and the number of small local publishers. However, some local
languages are also the local language in other countries (e.g. Dutch in the Netherlands),
and in some contexts, it is common for researchers to be able to read each other’s
publications in the local language because the languages are similar (e.g. Danish and
Poland is one of the biggest European countries (and the largest among the countries
analysed in this study). Our findings show that Polish SSH scholars are comparatively less
internationally oriented in their publication patterns in terms of writing in English.
However, prior to 1989 Polish SSH scholars used to be international. Following a massive
expansion of the higher education sector after 1989, Polish SSH scholars lost much of their
international research visibility
. Smaller countries such as Denmark,
Finland, Norway, and Slovenia, with local languages which are not commonly used in other
countries, have only small local audiences for scholarly publications in the local language.
Thus, scholars from these countries need to be more international in their publication
practices from the onset. For instance, Denmark, Finland, Flanders, and Norway have a
long tradition of being international in their scholarly publication patterns. They also have
a strong tradition of being nationally relevant in research and using the national language,
particularly in the SSH. In contrast, however, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Slovenia
are also small countries, but their internationalization patterns are not similar to those in
Denmark, Norway, Finland, or Flanders. Thus, (1) the size of a country and the size of its
scientific community may contribute to differences in publication patterns only to some
extent, and (2) differences in publication patterns within disciplines in various countries are
determined not only by, among other factors, disciplines themselves and the size of
countries and scientific communities, but also by the cultural and historical heritage of
those countries. Hence, by analysing publications that are written in English, we seek
further explanatory factors beyond the disciplines.
An even more important explanatory factor, however, may be the respective 20th
century histories of the analysed countries. In the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia,
Russian was a compulsory language at school prior to 1989, and, from a researcher’s point
of view, publishing in English was not the best way to communicate research results.
Before the achievement of Slovenian independence in 1991, in former Yugoslavia, the
Slovene language was one of the official languages. The share of publications in other
official languages (Serbian and Croatian) was significant. Since then, in those countries
other languages became more prevalent (mostly English and German).
However, SSH scholars from the majority of the Central and Eastern European
countries still traditionally investigate only local topics and read and use publications mostly
from national or regional journals and publishers. Before 1989, science in former
communist countries was strongly politicized. Under communist regimes, all public
accountability systems were subordinated to party accountability
(Bala´zs et al. 1995)
party loyalty was necessary for academic promotions and professional successes. Also,
some specificities of the structure of the R&D system stem from the communist period.
The research and higher education systems are still characterised by a split between the
Academies of Sciences (e.g. the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the
Polish Academy of Sciences) and university systems, though the two entities increasingly
. The situation in Central and Eastern European countries
before and after 1989 may still contribute to the current publication practices in economics
and business, which as an academic discipline is substantially less internationally oriented
in those countries than in the other countries that were examined in this study. In the Czech
Republic, Poland, and Slovakia, economics and business served as one of the main tools of
the central planning economy for domestic purposes. After 1989, economics and business
had to face other domestic challenges of the transformation from central planning to
The transformations of publication patterns are also shaped by science policy and the
incentives created by research evaluation systems. As mentioned earlier, large-scale
reforms in science and higher education systems in Poland created incentives for
publishing in English and choosing articles as a publication type. Some incentives can also be
observed in other countries. In the Czech Republic, publication patterns and publication
languages may be in general (not only in SSH) directly influenced by the national
evaluation system, which influences 100% of the core funding of research from the state
budget. The Czech evaluation system encourages Scopus and WoS journals and
proceedings. An article published in a top international journal obtains several times more
points than an article published in a journal that concerns ‘‘national’’ fields (e.g. law),
focuses on local topics, and is written in Czech
(Good et al. 2015)
. An analogous situation
may be observed in Slovakia. In Denmark, the Danish Bibliometric Research Indicator has
not been implemented in order to incentivize the Danish authors to publish in English, and
while only 9% of the Danish publication channels on the BFI list of series are on the higher
level 2, there is no Danish publisher listed at this level. This results in only 11% of the
publications in SSH written in Danish being on level 2 in 2014. These levels are chosen by
the researchers themselves through the Academic Committee and expert panels, which
indicates that the Danish authors in SSH are either already focusing on publishing in
English or have an external incentive to publish in English.
In Finland, in 2010–2012, 1% of the annual block grant for universities was allocated on
the basis of ‘‘international refereed publications’’, and 0.7% of the grant was allocated on
basis of other publications. In 2013–2014 the share of international refereed publications
increased to 9%, and that of other publications increased to 4%. This model promoted
international publishing, as refereed journal and book publications published in Finland
were counted among other publications together with non-refereed output in international
outlets. Since 2015, Finland adopted the Norwegian model, in which the weight of
publications depends on the publication channel rating
(Gime´nez-Toledo et al. 2016)
model provides incentives for publishing in the national languages, as the majority of
peerreviewed publications in Finnish and English language channels are given equal weight at
level 1 of the three-tier rating system. In Finland, 22 SSH publication series and three book
publishers publishing in national language are also rated as level 2
(Po¨ lo¨ nen 2015)
Universities are also required under the Universities Act to evaluate their research
activities and report the results publicly. Each university decides how it conducts the evaluation
and if publication indicators are used. Although some universities use citation analysis or
local publication data to inform expert panels, it is unlikely that research evaluation
exercises in Finland would affect publication type and/or language selection on the
(Wang et al. 2014)
. The Academy of Finland, the main research funding
organization in Finland, traditionally uses panels of foreign experts to evaluate
applications. In the long term, this practice may have put pressure on SSH researchers to produce
more international output profiles
In Flanders, the performance-based funding system started out (in 2003) with
publications indexed in the WoS only. This may have driven researchers towards the WoS
(Ossenblok et al. 2012)
. In the Norwegian model, the state allocates less than 2% of the
total expenses in the higher education sector
. Thus, the Norwegian
publication indicator attracts attention from researchers because it links directly to their
publication practices. In Slovakia, regulations for assessing publications are directly
connected to the funds allocation
(Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of
the Slovak Republic 2017)
. Therefore, there are direct incentives for researchers to shift
their publication outputs towards those types of publications that are within their capacity
and allow them to earn more money. In Slovenia, the research evaluation system considers
publications indexed in Scopus or the WoS (Science Citation Index Expanded). The small
size of the research sector in Slovenia results in a low number of publications indexed in
these two international databases. However, the social sciences and humanities exhibited
the largest growth in international publications from 1998 to 2005 (
Sorcˇan et al. 2008
The findings presented in this study have practical and policy implications. The
internationalization policies in non-English speaking countries should be designed with
consideration of current publication patterns. Western and Northern European countries have
different starting points than Central and Eastern European countries. Scholars in the
former group of countries are more rooted in their disciplines internationally and belong
more often to a world-wide scholarly community than scholars from the latter group of
countries. The Czech and Polish cases illustrate that it may be easy to change publication
practices by providing incentives for scholars to publish in more locally oriented scholarly
channels. This means that science policy could have strong—both positive and negative—
consequences for the researchers’ behaviour. Our results show that in the majority of
countries, less than 50% of SSH publications is visible in WoS. Hence, science policies
oriented to university rankings may be interested in developing incentives which will push
scholars to publish in journals indexed in Scopus and/or the WoS. However, providing
such incentives, though desirable from some science policy points of view, could have
negative consequences for SSH publication patterns. As we show, SSH scholars published
many monographs and chapters which are not included (with some exceptions in the Book
Citation Index) in Scopus or the WoS. Our findings follow results presented by
and Larsen (2012)
, who provided empirical evidence that a robust bibliometric database for
assessing the impact of all types of research output in SSH is needed. Thus, we suggest that
the role of national databases, which cover all publication channels important for the SSH,
should be increased in research evaluation systems, funding-schemes, and university
Acknowledgements The present study is an extended version of an article presented at the 16th
International Conference on Scientometrics and Informetrics, Wuhan (China), 16–20 October 2017). The authors
are indebted to COST Action CA1537 ‘‘European Network for Research Evaluation in the Social Sciences
and the Humanities’’ for supporting this work. Kasper Bruun is employed in the Danish Ministry of Higher
Education and Science: positions and views expressed in the paper are solely on the account of the author.
Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution,
and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the
source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Funding The work of Emanuel Kulczycki was supported by the National Programme for the Development
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