Benoit Godin's paper "On the origin of bibliometrics"

Stephen J Bensman notsjb at LSU.EDU
Thu May 18 15:20:26 EDT 2006

Thanks.  I just love Godin's stuff--particularly what he writes on James
McKeen Cattell.  He shows that all this scientometrics stuff originates in
eugenics.  Due to this, I always thought that perhaps a policy should be
instituted of sterilizing all scientists and scholars, who consistently
publish bad papers.  That may cut down the numbers of such scientists and
scholars in future generations and solve a many problems presently plaguing
the scientific journal system--like too many papers, the high cost of
journals, etc. etc.  The statistics--another product of eugenics--seem to
bear this out.  The trouble is that my dean may come down and sterilize me.
She is fully capable of this and can do it with a look.


"Michel J. Menou" <Michel.Menou at WANADOO.FR>@LISTSERV.UTK.EDU> on 05/18/2006
12:17:14 PM

Please respond to ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics

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cc:     (bcc: Stephen J Bensman/notsjb/LSU)

Subject:    [SIGMETRICS] Benoit Godin's paper "On the origin of

> B. Godin (2006), On the Origins of Bibliometrics
> <>, Project on the History and
> Sociology of S&T Statistics, Working Paper no. 33, 32 pages.
> *Abstract:*
> Among the many statistics on science, counting scientific papers, or
> bibliometrics, holds a privileged place. Bibliometrics is one of the
> few subfields concerned with measuring the output side of science.
> According to most “histories”, bibliometrics owes its systematic
> development mainly to works from the 1950s (V.V. Nalimov, D.J.D. Price
> and Eugene Garfield), as founders. The few works conducted earlier are
> usually relegated to prehistory.
> This paper documents how the systematic counting of publications
> originated with psychologists. In the early 1900s, psychologists began
> collecting statistics on their discipline. Publications came to be
> counted in addresses, reviews and histories of psychology for several
> decades. The aim was to contribute to the advancement of psychology.
> Far from being a negligible output of a prehistoric type, both the
> volume and the systematicness of these efforts are witnesses to what
> should be considered as pioneering work, and their authors considered
> as forerunners to bibliometrics.

Dr. Michel J. Menou
Consultant in ICT policies and Knowledge & Information Management
Adviser of Somos at Telecentros board
Member of the founding steering committee of
Telecenters of the Americas Partnership
B.P. 15
49350 Les Rosiers sur Loire, France
Email: Michel.Menou at
Phone: +33 (0)2 41511043

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