May 18, 2022

Research Article: “Coverage, Field Specialization and Impact of Scientific Publishers Indexed in the ‘Book Citation Index'”

The following full text research article was made available on arXiv yesterday.


“Coverage, Field Specialization and Impact of Scientific Publishers Indexed in the ‘Book Citation Index'”


Daniel Torres-Salinas
Universidad de Navarra (Spain)

Nicolás Robinson-García
Universidad de Granada (Spain)

J.M. Campanario
Universidad de Alcalá (Spain)

Emilio Delgado López-Cózar
Universidad de Granada (Spain)


via arXiv
The published article appears in the latest issue of Online Information Review, 38(1).


Purpose: The aim of this study is to analyze the disciplinary coverage of the Thomson Reuters’ Book Citation Index database focusing on publisher presence, impact and specialization.
Design/Methodology/approach: We conduct a descriptive study in which we examine coverage by discipline, publisher distribution by field and country of publication, and publisher impact. For this the Thomson Reuters’ Subject Categories were aggregated into 15 disciplines.

Findings: 30% of the total share of this database belongs to the fields of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Most of the disciplines are covered by very few publishers mainly from the UK and USA (75.05% of the books), in fact 33 publishers concentrate 90% of the whole share. Regarding publisher impact, 80.5% of the  books and chapters remained uncited. Two serious errors were found in this database. Firstly, the Book Citation Index does not retrieve all citations for books and chapters. Secondly, book citations do not include citations to their chapters.

Research limitations/implications: The Book Citation Index is still underdeveloped and has serious  limitations which call into caution when using it for bibliometric purposes.

Practical implications: The results obtained from this study warn against the use of this database for bibliometric purposes, but opens a new window of opportunities for covering long neglected areas such as Humanities and Social Sciences. The target audience of this study is librarians, bibliometricians, researchers, scientific publishers, prospective authors and evaluation agencies.

Originality/Value: There are currently no studies analyzing in depth the coverage of this novel database which covers monographs

Direct to Full Text Article via arXiv (16 page; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.