The invisibility of science publications in hebrew: A comparative database study

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    Since the end of World War II, the English language has become the lingua franca of science publications worldwide. Science publications written in other languages do not gain the same exposure to the international scientific community as does the material in English. In this sense, non-English articles constitute an "invisible science" for the rest of the scientific world. This study compares publications indexed in the academic-oriented Hebrew Index of Periodicals (IHP) database with those in the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE) in order to document the amount of scientific material published in Israel, where Hebrew is the native language. Except for abstracts, which are sometimes given in English, as well as Hebrew, and therefore provide some idea of a paper's content, most of this research remains hidden from the international scientific community. The SCIE and IHP databases for our examination cover the three grand disciplines: the exact and life sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. Additionally, the study probes the coverage of medical publications in the two databases. The difference between old and emerging disciplines in the use of a language other than Hebrew is observed and non-English citation patterns for various disciplines are examined. The results confirm the dominance of English as the lingua franca of science and point to the large number of scientific studies in Hebrew that lack international exposure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)607-615
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Mar 2012

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Software
    • Information Systems
    • Human-Computer Interaction
    • Computer Networks and Communications
    • Artificial Intelligence


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