Conference paper Open Access
This year, the Science and Technology Indicators (STI) conference is held in Leiden, the Netherlands, in collaboration with the European Network of Indicators Developers (ENID).
The conference takes place in a period of historic transformations to the scientific and scholarly system. The conference motto “Context Counts – Pathways to Master Big and Little Data” aptly captures some of the most important changes.
First, we are witnessing the rise of new paradigms with respect to the economic and societal role of research. This is for example visible in the emphasis on societal relevance, the policy speak about Grand Challenges in Europe and the US, and the practices of new (and older) generations of researchers who try to combine breakthrough fundamental work with contributions to the solution of urgent problems. Although blue-sky research will remain crucial for scientific and scholarly progress, the new generations of researchers will work in a very different context from the generation that came out of World War II.
Second, the cumulative creation of data-generating machines and scientific instruments has led to a flood of data -- all challenging, not all meaningful. This data flood also has ramifications for our own field. With the shift towards web-based and computer-supported work in virtually all disciplines, the traces researchers leave in their daily work can increasingly be turned into data and indicators. In addition, social media are creating more (pressure on) the communicative activities of researchers, as exemplified by the rising subfield of altmetrics.
Combined, the changing economic and societal role of research and the increasing availability of digital information lead to a rising demand for scientometric expertise. The present hunger for data and for indicators also lays bare a need for a meaningful interpretation.
Scientometricians can no longer merely be data providers or indicator builders. They need to be able to put the data in the right context. And increasingly, they will also need to selfcritically examine the use of their own products by the scientific and scholarly communities at large.
Indeed, context counts – in more than one way.
For the STI-ENID 2014 conference 125 papers were submitted. We accepted 70 oral presentations and 30 posters. Along with the regular indicators topics, the two trends discussed above are well represented in various sessions and in the 5 special events we
scheduled on top of the regular program.
We are grateful to all authors for submitting their papers, posters and special events as well as to all members of the scientific committee for reviewing them. We also wish to thank Suze van der Luijt for producing and editing this book of proceedings.
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