Bibliometrics and the QSS lab, an overview

Philippe Mongeon


Plan of the presentation

  • Bibliometrics and its applications
  • The Quantitative Science Studies Lab
  • Past, ongoing and future research

Bibliometrics and its applications


  • “The measurement of all aspects related to the publication and reading of books and documents.” (Otlet, 1934)

  • “the application of mathematics and statistical methods to books and other media of communication.” (Pritchard, 1969)

In practice they are applied to scholarly outputs to analyze knowledge production, dissemination, and use.

What’s in a name?

Bibliometrics is a widely used term to refer to the field, but it is not the only (and probably not the best) one. Other (quasi-)synonyms or closely related terms include:

  • Scientometrics
  • Info(r)metrics
  • Altmetrics
  • Quantitative Science Studies
  • Science of Science
  • Research on Research
  • Science and Technologie Studies (STS)

Some underlying assumptions

  • Peer-reviewed scholarly work are contributions to the advancement of knowledge (or units of knowledge production).

  • Because researchers cite their sources, references and citations can be used:

    • To measure of the use (or impact?) of a research output.

    • To link research outputs (and their producers) with one another.

Web of knowledge

Example of a publication network.

Main data sources

Data structure

Openalex database schema


  • History and sociology of science

  • Science policy

  • Research assessment and evaluation

  • Library collection development

  • Classification

  • Information retrieval

Map of Canadian Information Science research. Source (Gracey et al., under review)

Collection development

Concentration of usage of library resources (periodicals only). Source: Mongeon et al. (2021).

This work was completed as part of the Journal Usage Project sponsored by CRKN.

Distribution of journals from the five major for-profit publishers, by the number of universities considering them as core journals. Source: Mongeon et al. (2021).

The Quantitative Science Studies (QSS) lab

QSS as a physical space

QSS as a group of awesome humans

QSS as a research network

The QSS research agenda

Three research axes

  1. Open data infrastructure and tool development
  2. Research assessment
  3. Fundamental research in Quantitative Science Studies

Open data and tool development

Typical objectives

  • Producing open data sets that create or expand research possibilities

  • Assessing the coverage and data quality of existing databases

  • Developing methods and process to make bibliometrics more open and accessible

Intended audience

  • Researchers interested in doing bibliometric research


Research assessment

Typical objectives/questions

  • Mapping the research landscape of specific research disciplines, sub-disciplines, or topics.
  • Measuring the research output and impact on specific topics
  • Impact assessment of research areas

Intended audiences

  • Specific research communities that are the object of the studies.

Fundamental research in the QSS field

Typical objectives/questions

  • Development or improvement of bibliometric indicators.
  • Large-scale analyses of trends in science.
  • Models of research research practices and outcomes.

Intended audiences

  • The Quantitative Science Studies and related scholarly communities.
  • Policy-makers
  • General audiences interested in the global trends in knowledge production, dissemination, and use.


Thank you


Larivière, Vincent. 2012. “The Decade of Metrics? Examining the Evolution of Metrics Within and Outside LIS.” Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 38 (6): 12–17.
Mongeon, Philippe, Kyle Siler, Antoine Archambault, Cassidy Sugimoto, and Vincent Larivière. 2021. “Collection Development in the Era of Big Deals.” College & Research Libraries 82 (2): 219.