Coverage, field specialization and impact of scientific publishers indexed in the 'Book Citation Index'

Daniel Torres-Salinas, Nicolás Robinson-García, J. M. Campanario, Emilio Delgado López-Cózar

Purpose: The aim of this study is to analyze the disciplinary coverage of the Thomson Reuters' Book Citation Index database focusing on publisher presence, impact and specialization. Design/Methodology/approach: We conduct a descriptive study in which we examine coverage by discipline, publisher distribution by field and country of publication, and publisher impact. For this the Thomson Reuters' Subject Categories were aggregated into 15 disciplines. Findings: 30% of the total share of this database belongs to the fields of Humanities and Social Sciences. Most of the disciplines are covered by very few publishers mainly from the UK and USA (75.05% of the books), in fact 33 publishers concentrate 90% of the whole share. Regarding publisher impact, 80.5% of the books and chapters remained uncited. Two serious errors were found in this database. Firstly, the Book Citation Index does not retrieve all citations for books and chapters. Secondly, book citations do not include citations to their chapters. Research limitations/implications: The Book Citation Index is still underdeveloped and has serious limitations which call into caution when using it for bibliometric purposes. Practical implications: The results obtained from this study warn against the use of this database for bibliometric purposes, but opens a new window of opportunities for covering long neglected areas such as Humanities and Social Sciences. The target audience of this study is librarians, bibliometricians, researchers, scientific publishers, prospective authors and evaluation agencies. Originality/Value: There are currently no studies analyzing in depth the coverage of this novel database which covers monographs.

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