GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018

Paper No. 145-11
Presentation Time: 10:55 AM


STIRBU, Simona and GRECO, Ninfa, ULiege Library, University of Liege, Liege, 4000, Belgium

Our study aims to establish the profile of the bibliographical resources used by PhD students in geography. We also verify in which proportion researchers use documents specifically covered by the search engine Google Scholar (GS), and three commercial bibliographic databases (DB): Web of Science (WoS), Scopus (multidisciplinary databases) and GeoRef (specialized in geosciences).

We choose to work on a sample of three dissertations presented in the ULiège(Belgium) Department of Geography during the 2014-2015 academic year, respectively in Climatology, Tourism and Geomatics.

In order to achieve our main objective, the document types, years of publication, and the language of the references, present in the bibliographies of the three theses were identified and analyzed. The follow-up of Bradford's Law, according to which 80% article citations come from 20% journal titles, was also verified. We performed searches in order to verify to which extent researchers' citations are covered by GS and the DBs mentioned. The percentages of documents (all types combined) and journal articles covered by each bibliographic tool were calculated.

The results indicate that several types of documents are cited by geographers, and differ depending on the orientation of the research subject to SS&H or S & T. However, most of the citations,73 %, in the three dissertations correspond to journal articles. Books and book chapters follow, and to a lesser extent grey literature (conference proceedings, theses, reports, unpublished works) is much less representative with values <5%. Bibliographies of these three theses don’t follow Bradford's law, higher percentages of journals are required to reach 80% of the articles cited in each thesis.

Our research shows that GS outpasses the other DB being the only tool to provide access to other types of scientific literature, such as conference proceedings, theses, reports and unpublished works.

In terms of indexed references, GS is the most comprehensive bibliographic tool, having found the majority of references searched with values close to 100 % for the three bibliographies, all documents types combined. Taking into account the results of our analysis we can conclude that, in terms of content, GS constitutes a solid alternative to commercial databases.