Bibliometrix: a brief story

by Massimo Aria & Corrado Cuccurullo
posted June 25, 2019

"We heard about bibliometrics many years ago for the first time. In 2008 Corrado was writing a monograph on fast-growing firms, a niche theme, which he approached for the first time. Scientific literature was fairly limited. Scholars came from different disciplines with a variety of approaches and methods that made it difficult to cumulate the findings.

We talked about this research problem once during a football match among scholars. Our discussion continued for several days on the various techniques of systematic analysis of literature. We enjoyed the exchange and concluded that bibliometrics was an interesting method and that it would have been fun to explore it together.

Our goal became to examine the intellectual structure of fast-growing firms research. We analyzed all the scientific production published in academic English-written journals. The analysis was complex because it required several steps and diverse analysis and mapping software tools, which were often available only under commercial licenses. All the process was unwieldly, from data-collection to data-visualization. Massimo greatly contributed with his statistical and coding skills. Our collaboration continued in moments of fun, such as our frequent football matches. While analyzing data, we discovered that we enjoyed working together. In short, our friendship soon turned into a scientific collaboration that still lasts.

Within our departments and academic communities, the reaction to our work was positive. At that time, few people talked about bibliometrics in Italy, even from the point of view of research evaluation. Years later we presented a bibliometric analysis paper on performance management at the Annual Conference of the Academy of Management, the largest international management meeting. Also on that occasion, we got positive feedbacks that pushed us to persist. In the same years, young Italian colleagues asked us for suggestions for their literature reviews and for their research. Massimo opened some statistical analysis laboratories in R and together we presented the bibliometric analysis at some workshops.

We are telling this story because without these feedbacks and stimuli we would not have published the bibliometrix release 0.1 in 2016. Three years later we are at version 2.2, thanks to our growing passion for bibliometrics and to the suggestions that today come from scholars from all around the world."

Department of Economics and Statistics
University of Naples Federico II, Italy
Via Cintia, I-80126, Naples

Phone: +39 081 675187
Fax: +39 081 675009

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