Methodology: Authorship Mapping

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Our bibliometric study is currently underway. We’re in the process of analysing and visualizing authorship data for a number of top development journals in an attempt to uncover patterns of knowledge production. Here we recount in detail the process of creating a methodology for authorship mapping to give you a better idea of how we created the map above. This map depicts authorship affiliation for the Journal of Peasant Studies between 2005 and 2015.

This mapping project had first begun with the aim of better understanding the geographic makeup of academic knowledge production in development studies.

We knew we had to utilize an indicator that could adequately quantify knowledge production and for which data was accessible. Efforts to expand the collective knowledge base and produce new knowledge can be captured with the act of research and said research is traditionally disseminated through academic journals. In this study, academic journal authorship is utilized as a proxy for knowledge production, with the author’s affiliation determining their spatial geography.

The current bibliometric study is examining five development journals that were determined based on their Reuter’s Journal Impact Factor (JIF) in an effort to study the journals with the widest reach. Although we recognize that a journal’s value is not limited to citation indexes alone, we believe that the JIF can offer us insight into a journal's impact.

We conducted an extensive literature review of a number bibliometric studies to determine the best means of gathering authorship data for these top ranking journals. We found that literature databases were the most widely used source to download large amounts of affiliation data.

We exhausted a number of options. We looked at a number of bibliometric studies and talked to a number of librarians. After a bit of back and forth, we settled on the database Scopus to collect affiliation data. Scopus is a literature database that houses a large collection of peer-reviewed articles. Owned by Elsevier, the site has made strides in the last couple of years improving the accessibility and tools of the database. This, in conjunction with the number of development journals the database contained, were the main reason we decided to utilize it for our study.

It should be noted that although Scopus and similar databases maintain a large number of academic titles, their collection is not exhaustive. Initially, we were keen on examining the IDS Bulletin due to it’s unique association both with the publishing company Wiley and as an open access journal. We found, however, that bibliometric information for the journal did not exist in the Scopus database, requiring us to adjust our study sample.

Once we had a clearer idea of our data collection methods, we got a bunch of undergrad students to collect and organize our data. Check out their collection process in the videos below: