A bibliometric sketch on Environmental Science Literature with special reference to India's scenario.

Author:Sethi, Bipin Bihari
  1. Introduction

    Environmental science is the study of the interaction of the living and non-living components of the environment with special emphasis on the impact of humans on these components. It provides an integrated, quantitative, and interdisciplinary approach to the study of environmental systems which has become a global motion and mission nowadays. The present study denotes the publication trends of scholarly articles in the literature "Environmental Sciences" that are published in 75 Journals, indexed under Science Direct Database during the period 2004 to 2010. It further examines and presents an analysis of 645 research papers with special reference to Indian scenario. Apart from this various bibliometric attributes such as growth of literature, authorship pattern, geographical distribution of publications, distribution by journal, citation pattern, ranking pattern, and the degree of collaboration are also presented using the formula given by Subramanyam, and Lotka's law.

  2. Review of Literature

    Karki (1990) through a study entitled "Environmental Science Research in India: An Analysis of Publications" unmasked that, Indian work in environmental science is highly scattered among various organizations. However, a good proportion of the output comes from a few organizations. Contribution of educational institutions is more than the research institutions. Maximum papers are produced by single-authors closely followed by two-author papers. Based on the publications output it can be inferred that Indian environmentalists are mainly engaged on the problems related to health and toxicology, ecology, wastes, and forestry and environment. Though growth of the literature has not been studied, the sudden spurt in literature and interest of investigators in environmental science research are clearly visible. The unusual feature of the Indian environmental science is its coverage mainly in Indian periodicals and largely this is concentrated in few periodicals. Another finding is that, a sizable portion of this literature is spread over non-environmental science journals.

    Parent et. al. (2004) in their report "Scientometric Study on Collaboration between India and Canada, 1990-2001 Phase 1 of the 2004 Canada-India Science and Technology (S&T) Mapping Study" pointed out that though India is thought to be a part of the developing world, its scientific output broadly visible in the fields of Biology, Biomedical research, Chemistry, Clinical Medicine, Earth & Space, Engineering & technology, Mathematics and Physics. India managed to implement a strong scientific community, making it the only developing nation present among the top fifteen most important scientific producers. Indian science specializes principally in physics, chemistry and engineering, but does not publish in mainstream international journals that are highly cited. Since India is the second most populated country in the world, millions of Indian students embark on higher education studies, producing more PhD per capita than any other country in the world.

    Gupta (2011) in a study entitled "Mapping of Indian Science and Technology Output in a National and Global Context, 1997-2007" pointed out that, India ranked at 12th position among the top 20 productive countries in the world in science and technology. India has shown close similarity in S&T research with countries like Russia, China, South Korea and Taiwan, which have shown, like India, strong emphasis in physical and engineering sciences but are weak in health sciences. Physical Science is the top priority area of S&T research in India, followed by life sciences, engineering sciences and health sciences. Compared to world average output figures by subject, India's national publications share in physical sciences, life sciences and engineering sciences each has been above the global average in the discipline. The policy makers in science and technology needs to ponder over and decide for the future the Research and Development (R&D) priorities that India needs to pursue to lead India as a knowledge economy by 2020.

  3. Objectives of the study:

    The present study delimits the area with measuring the Environmental Science research productivity from the period 2004-2010 cited at Science Direct Database Top 25 Hottest Articles. The study includes a total of 645 papers from 75 journals and 67 productive countries. The specific objectives of the present study are to determine the:

    i. Nature of Authorship pattern in Environmental science literature;

    ii. Single Vs Multiple authored papers;

    iii. Geographical Distribution of publications;

    iv. Publication productivity of India including its states and institutional affiliation;

    v. Documentary pattern of publication;

    vi. Growth pattern of literature;

    vii. Degree of collaboration of authors;

    viii. Degree of citation of articles;

    ix. Ranking pattern of papers;

    x. Segregation of top ranked journals; and

    xi. Author productivity pattern.

  4. Methodology

    Science Direct Database quarterly indexes top 25 hottest published papers in different subject fields. For the present study, thus the top 25 hottest papers in the area of Environmental Science are taken into consideration. All the cited papers from the year 2004-2010 are included in this study, comprising of 645 articles. For each article the details of bibliographic information viz. journal title, article title, 1st author, number of authors, affiliation with institutions, country of origin (considering 1st author), year of publication, number of citations, and ranking pattern have been considered and calculated using the MS-Excel spread sheet. As references counts are not freely available, the authors did not able to analyze reference pattern of the papers. Finally, all relevant data were sorted, tabulated, assimilated, synthesized, analyzed and interpreted in a logical order with an aim to draw inferences for the present work keeping in view the objectives of the study.

  5. Limitation of the Study:

    The study is limited for the period of 7 years starting from the year 2004 up to the year 2010 of selected top 25 hottest papers in the area of Environmental Science from Science Direct Database quarterly indexes. Altogether the sample having 645 papers out of which only 25 are from Indian contributions. Hence some of the observations made in this study based on the sample data especially for Indian scenario may differ from real scenario due to the small sample size.

  6. Results and Discussion:

    6.1. Chronological distribution of contributions:

    Table 1 presents the chronological distribution of research papers and ensures that, Science Direct Database has enlisted 100 hottest papers each year (except 2004) consisting 4 quarters with 25 papers at each quarter. Since, the enlistment of papers has been initiated by Science Direct from July 2004; it is obvious that there are 2 quarters having 20 and 25 papers...

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