On Scientometrics- Based
Institutional Science of Science

by Liu Zeyuan
(Dalian University of Technology, China)


I. The Study Paradigm of the Science of Sciences & the Scientometrics


Since the publishing of "The Social Functions of Sciences" written by J. D. Bernal, which is a foundational works of the science of sciences, the science of sciences has emerged its own good tradition that studies are made in the respects of the two relations i.e. one between human being and the nature and another among human being itself, both of which emerge in scientific and technological activities, and from which, as the basic paradigm of the science of sciences, the following major branch subjects are made up in the subjects system of the science of sciences:

Science of Scientific Ability-in the respect of the relations between human being and the nature, studies on scientific and technological activities as well as the laws and abilities of human being understanding and reforming the nature reflected thereby, studies on and appraises the scientific and technological abilities in the society, i.e. the productivity of scientific and technological knowledge.
Institutional Science of Science*-in the respect of the relations among human being, studies on the laws of the mutual action of science and technology as a social phenomenon with such factors as politics, economy, society and culture, the social motivations and social consequences of scientific and technological activities, i.e. the institutional factors, cooperating networks, organizational system, strategies, policies and management, etc. of the science and technology under the specific production relations in the fields of scientific research.

Science of Scientific and Technological System-studies on the knowledge achievements, subject categories and system of scientific and technological activities, i.e. the system and subject structure of the scientific and technological knowledge emerged from the mutual action between knowledge productivity and the production relations in the fields of scientific research.

The above three branch subjects of the science of sciences, whether in theoretical or application level, must all have the historical and measurement study on science and technology as their basis and means. Therefore, the scientometrics and the measurement history of science have been the key methodical branch subjects in the science of sciences.

Since the "Science since Babylon" (1961) and the "Little Science, Big Science" (1963) by D. J. de S. Price as well as the "Science Citation Index" (SCI) by E. Carfield were published, common views and countless great achievements have been got in the circles of the science of sciences with regard to the position and function of the scientometrics in the science of scientific ability and the science of scientific and technological system. However, the relations between the scientometrics and the institutional science of science have seldom been mentioned as if the former has not played any role on the latter, which in fact is a misunderstanding. Similarly, the scientometrics follows the study paradigm of the science of sciences, which has not only got repeated results from studying on the productivity of scientific and technological knowledge and evaluating the scientific and technological abilities in the society as well as the scientific and technological competitiveness and the achievements and results of scientific research of countries and regions, but also provided effective quantum means and quantitative support for exploring the laws of the mutual action between science, technology and social economy as well as such production relations in the fields of scientific research as scientific and technological organizational system, institution, coordination and cooperation, etc. Of course, it is obviously that measurement study of institutional science of science is very difficult. Since the social factors of institution, politics, culture, etc. are difficult to analyse quantitatively, it is hard to choose the indexes for measuring and statistics, furthermore to build the mathematical model. However, precisely because of difficulty, it is especially need to be explored.


II. The Study of Scientometrics in the Institutional Science of Science in China


It is one of the main contents in the institutional science of science to analyze the influences and functions that various social phenomena or institutional factors exert to scientific and technological activities, and to make investigations on the economic effects and social consequences of scientific and technological activities. As such a study only limited to be a qualitative analysis and general explanation is not sufficient, complete scientific conclusions can not be drawn until qualitative analysis must be combined with quantitative analysis. For about 20 years, some interesting achievements have been got from the circles of the science of sciences in China in looking up the phenomenon of the international shift of the scientific center in the world as well as the social and economic roots thereof, which is an example of success from the scientometrics applying in the institutional science of science.

With regard to the phenomenon of the world scientific activity centers in modern time transferring successively from Italy to Britain, France, Germany and USA, a Chinese scholar Mr. Zhao Hongzhou independently made the discovery in 1970s after a Japanese scholar M. Yuasa did in 1960s. Such a research achievement in the history of measurement science has aroused the keen interest from the circles of the science of sciences just initiated in China, behind which the people are eager to reveal the secrets. In 1980, Mr. Liu Zeyuan and Mr. Wang Haishan made first investigations on the relations between the modern world's philosophic climax and scientific center by adopting a method of quantitative statistics. They found that a philosophic climax emerges in a country as a scientific center about 60 years ahead of time, thus, it has been brought to light that philosophic revolution is the guide of scientific revolution; and ideological emancipation is the prerequisite to and one of the causes for the shift of scientific center. It is also found out that an interesting phenomenon of the successive occurrence in the order of "philosophic revolution-political revolution-scientific revolution-industrial revolution" was existing in Britain, France and Germany in a golden era of science. And meanwhile, Mr. Zhao Hongzhou further quantitatively revealed that the social age of scientist group and the creativity of the group of national scientists are the intrinsic reasons for the shift of scientific center. Afterwards, it was again indicated by Mr. Cha Youliang by means of quantitative statistics that it is one of causes for a country becoming the scientific center of the world to reach an educational revolutionary climax and bring up a larger group of scientific talents in advance. Recently, Ms. Liang Liming and her postgraduates quantitatively made a thoroughly analysis that there are existing close relations between the shift of the world scientific center and that of subject center, and there are maintaining complicated mutual-promoting relations between the scientific center and cultural one.


TABLE(1):Transferring period years of the Modern Philosophical Upsurge and the Scientific Center in the world

  Philosophical
Upsurge
Scientific
Center
Philosophical
Exceeding years
Italy 1480-1600-1640 1540-1610-1630 60
England 1600-1680-1730 1660-1720-1760 60
France 1710-1750-1820 1780-1800-1840 70
Germany 1790-1840-1880 1840-1860-1920 50


TABLE(2):Great period of the "science, technology & economy" fluctuating transformation in the world

Periods of the "science, technology & economy" fluctuating transformation The first fluctuating transfor- mation The second fluctuating transfor-
mation
The third fluctuating transfor-
mation
The fourth fluctuating transfor-
mation
The fifth fluctuating transfor
-mation
(1540-1845) (1740-1895) (1780-1945) (1895-1995) (1950-)
Science Science revolution 1540-1780 1780-1895 1895-1950 1950-
Science long wave 1540-1740 1740-1780 1780-1895 1895-1950 1950-
Technology Technology revolution 1730-1830 1830-1910 1910-1970 1970-
Technology long wave 1740-1800 1800-1850 1830-1910 1920-1970 1970-
Economy Industry revolution 1760-1880 1880-1940 1940-1990 1990-
Economy long wave 1795-1845 1845-1895 1895-1945 1945-1995 1995-
Economic technology time Steam time Steel time Electric time Electron time Information time
Technology carrier of long wave Steam spinning technology, steam motive power technology Steam metallurgical technology, steam transportable technology Electric manufacture technology automobile industry technology Electronic control technology, petro-
chemical technology
Intelligent information technology, bioengineering technology
Form of enterprise organization Modern industry system Modern corporation system Monopoly organization Contem-
porary
group
Transnational monopoly group
Production relations evolvement Free competitive capitalism Private monopoly capitalism State monopoly capitalism
International monopoly capitalism


Since 1980s, Chinese scholars have made lots of studies by way of measurement on the laws of long cycle (long wave) of science, technology and economy. For example, synthesizing the achievements made by these scholars including N. Kndrutieff (1925), J. A. Schumpeter (1939), G. Mensch (1975), Jiang zhenhuan (1981) and Zhao Tao (1988), etc., the author of this article hold that the law of the major cycle of scientific, technological and economic fluctuation and shift has occurred for four times in the modern world which reflects in essence the successive promoting process of the three times of scientific, technological and industrial revolutions in the modern time. And it was forecast therefrom that the fifth major cycle of fluctuation and shift has started, the fifth new technological long wave, i.e. the forth new technological revolution is generating the new technological system represented with intelligence information and biological genetic technologies and promoting the formation of new industrial groups and new economies, and the fifth economic long wave and the forth industrial revolution are coming (1988, 1992 and 1995). At present, although the above analysis on the essential roots and system factors of the major cycle has made some explanations in the respects of the scientific cooperation of transnational scale, the expansion of international technological shift and the formation of transnational regional economic groups, it has still retained at a level of qualitative analysis and lacks complete and systematical quantitative study, which is pending the organic combination and common exploration of the scientometrics with the institutional science of science, the econometrics and the institutional economics.


III. Expansion of the Study Space of the Institutional Science of Science Based on the Scientometrics


Due to the weakness of the study of the scientometrics in the fields of the institutional science of science as well as the sociology of science and technology, it is very necessary to expand the study range of the scientometrics and strengthen the measurement study on the production relations of such scientific researches as the social organizational system, institutional factors, interpersonal relations and cooperation networks of scientific and technological activities, which is a major mission and issue in the circles of international scientometrics.

Just because of it, we are keenly interested in and highly speak of the "Berlin Workshop on Scientometrics and Informetrics/Collaboration in Science and in Technology" that PD Dr. Hildrun Kretschmer initiated.

It is a key field of the scientometrics applying in the science of institutional science to make measurement study in respects of scientific and technological cooperation and coordination, from which great achievements are expected to get. On the basis of the "configuration" theory set up by W. Metzger in 1986, Dr. H. Kretschmer made a mathematical description on the structure of interpersonal relations in the social groups in scientific cooperation and established several tri-dimensional figure models of cooperative network configuration for scientists to make free cooperation, which is a valuable creative trial.

It is necessary to further extensively and deeply expand the measurement study on scientific and technological cooperation. As the productivity of scientific and technological knowledge has been in a global scale and the bilateral or multilateral coordination has been increasingly strengthened in scientific and technological international cooperation, it is pending mathematical description and quantitative analysis what forms shall be adopted and how much scale got in order to acquire the most knowledge output and the expected study achievements. M. Yuasa pointed out that the styles of talented person were marked different between the19th and the 17th centenary, the former emerged three in one, i.e. "scientist-engineer-enterpriser" such as W. Von Siemens (Germany), A. Krupp (Germany) and A. G. Bell (American), etc. , and the latter emerged "scientist-mathematician-philosopher" such as B. Pascal (France) and R. Descartes (France), this phenomenon lay in the higher education of bringing up scientific and technical talents in these countries were different during the two ages, and it was the first cause why science & industry of Germany and American surpassed that of U.K. and France, i.e. the latecomers surpassed the old-timers. Now people generally consider that the group of talents at the present age need integrate structure such as "science-engineer-enterpriser", talents collaborating of different cultural background and professional knowledge as well, thus higher technology and its industrialization will make a breakthrough. If the quantitative description were given, the consideration would be more profound. Recently, the "chart of work frame" has been completed by making an order-finding study on the human being gene group supported jointly by the governments of USA, Britain, Japan, Germany, France and China, which might as well be regarded as a case of international multilateral cooperation in scientific fields in order to work for measurement study.

The study of scientometrics based on SCI database has been increasingly invigorated but mainly limited to the quantity and quality evaluations on the knowledge production of the state, regions as well as scientific and technological organs. It is now necessary to further scout the abundant information implied in SCI and make quantitative analyses on the unity and adaptability between the productivity of scientific knowledge and the production relations of scientific research deeply at the level of knowledge element or document content, especially the level of author networks composed of SCI theses co-authors and quotations. Thus, not only the levels of knowledge productivity of different organs and different subjects can be understood, but also can be revealed the causes in respects of organizational structure and group networks behind the difference of knowledge productivity levels.

The reform on scientific and technological system is a worldwide tide and especially a major issue that economical transferring-typed countries are generally facing. The system of integrating teaching and scientific research created in Hamburg University, Germany and the national innovation system initiated by OECD are both the successful examples of the system reform promoting scientific progress, technological innovations as well as the industrialization of scientific and technological achievements. For a long time, China copied central planning system of the former Soviet Union, which organizations of scientific research, education, economy directly subordinate to the each central department responsible for the work. However, the mutual separate system had hindered scientific and technical achievements being transformed into productive forces. Nowadays in China, the national innovation system is being constructed and the cooperating organizations and system networks integrating production, academy and research are being strengthened so as to promote the economic growth based on setting up knowledge production, dissemination and application. If the scientometrics, the techmetrics and the econometrics are studied integrally, strong scientific bases and quantitative support can be provided for the supporting reform on scientific and technological system, educational system as well as economic system, thus, some convincing achievements can be got from the study of measurement science related to the institutional science of science.

Continuously making the study on the science of measurement history with tremendous historical span and with scientific and technological activities as objects and making the study on the scientometrics different from the bibliometrics unified on both levels of scientific knowledge element and scientific organizational system will help make clear the necessary social conditions and system basis for a country to seek for the long-term stable and sustained development of science, technology and economy, by which a breakthrough will be achieved from the study on the above-mentioned phenomenon of international shift of scientific centers. For instance, it is calculated by a 80-year transferring cycle of scientific centers that it has taken full 80 years for USA to become the world scientific center in 1920 to 2000. But there are still no indications that USA will retire from its position of scientific center. And the growth of the "new economy" has lasted for 8 years in USA, for which what is the cause? It is regarded as the result of the large-scaled migration of excellent talents from various worldwide countries to USA. Dr. Alan L. Mackay said, "a group of key scientific talents have flown from almost all other countries to USA. No matter wherever, it is the poor who are subsidizing the rich." However, why is USA so tremendously attractive? Is it possible to give qualitative and quantitative answers in the respects of such factors as society, culture, system and policies?


References:

[1] Bernal,J. D,The Social Function of Science,,George Routledge&Sons Ltd,London,1994
[2] Yuasa, M. Center of Scientific Activity: its Shift from the 16th to 20th century, Japanese Studies in the History of Science, 1. 1962.
[3] Zhao Hongzhou,Quotative Introduction to Science of scientific ability,Science Publishing House,1984.
[4] Liu Zeyuan?Wang Haishan,The Historical Investigations on the Relations Between the Modern World's Philosophic Climax and Scientific Center,Management of Scientific Research,1981(1).
[5] Liu Zeyuan, Zhao Hongzhou and China's Scientometrics, Research Evaluation and Its Indicators, Beijing,2000.p.447
[6] Kretschmer, H. Configurations in International Coauthorship, Research Evaluation and Its Indicators, Beijing,2000.p.95
[7] Mackay, A. L., The Climate for Science, Research Evaluation and Its Indicators, Beijing ,2000.p.82
[8] Jiang Cuohua,Chief Editor, Research Evaluation and Its Indicators, Beijing, 2000.


Liu Zeyuan, Professor, Director
School of Humanities and Social
Science, Dalian University of
Technology, 116024, Dalian,
China
Tel / Fax: 86-0411-4708554
Email: liuzy@dlut.edu.cn

Back to Papers ListBack to Papers List
Top