Special session on bibliometrics

This special session is organized as a panel discussion. It will take place in HS 401 (Audimax) on Tuesday, September 12, at 4.45pm. The session is organized by Olaf Teschke (Karlsruhe) and Klaus Hulek (Hannover). The special session will be opened by Michael Oberguggenberger.

The confirmed participants on the podium are: Friedrich Götze, Klaus Hulek, Moritz Kaßmann, Peter Michor, Michael Hofer, Sebastian Stiller, Vittorio Coti Zelati.


Bibliometrics plays an increasing role in various decision making processes, ranging from resource allocation to the evolution of grant applications and decisions which influence the career of individual researchers. However, care must be taken when trying to represent the scientific output of a researcher or an institution by a small set of numbers. For various reasons, the field of mathematics is especially susceptible to the pitfalls commonly associated with this approach (e.g., adaptive behavior especially if measures are directly linked to funding; dependency on commercial databases and related questions of completeness, bias, data quality, and transparency; semantics of citations; oversimplification of benchmarks; longevity of math citations; large subject-specific variation of measures...).

While an overall rejection of bibliometrics is likely to find broad support among mathematicians, this may cause problems when dealing with mostly administrative bodies. A major aim of the discussion is to learn more about the various challenges which the mathematical community faces through the use of quantitative measures on governmental and international levels, and practical approaches to deal with them. With participants from Austria, Germany, and Italy, we want to discuss different aspects of the research assessment policies throughout Europe and possible solutions to fulfil the needs of the mathematical community. This may include (but is not restricted to) the following aspects:

  • Role of mathematical societies (national, EMS)
  • European and National Research Assessment Policies
  • Research funding organizations
  • Differences for individual and institutional evaluations
  • Specifics of mathematics in bibliometrics
  • Requirements on data (quality, availability, comprehensiveness/selection…)
  • Integration of mathematical knowledge and community evaluation
  • Aspects related to the use of upcoming “alternative metrics”