Colloquium Andrés Castro (MPIDR): Who has the right to generalize? Global inequalities in social science production, a bibliometric analysis of research articles' titles, 1996-2020

Organize: Centre d'Estudis Demogràfics

Venue: Virtual

Time: 12:00 - 13:00



Modalitat: virtual

Unirse a la reunión Zoom

Código de acceso: 815543


Abstract: Despite widespread recognition of Eurocentrism’s pitfalls for the social sciences, knowledge production remains affected by power imbalances between global North and South institutions. Evidence from the former institutions is implicitly taken as universal/generalizable, whereas evidence from, or produced in, the latter is deemed valid for only specific contexts (i.e., “localized”). We argue that these dynamics are latent in the word choice and composition of research articles’ titles. We examine 650,000 social science research articles indexed by Scopus and the Web of Science databases (1996 to 2020), and we find that research articles written by authors affiliated to institutions of the global North, using data from these countries, are less likely to include a concrete geographical reference in their titles. On the other hand, when authors are affiliated to global South institutions, and use evidence from global South countries, the name of these countries or the region they are located in, are more likely to be part of the articles’ title. We confirm this overarching pattern across three different sub-analysis examining (i) differences between world regions, (ii) differences within world regions, and (iii) patterns across more than 30 social science subfields. The sizable gaps and the consistency of patterns in the localization rate of papers’ titles suggests the existence of significant power dynamics. Yet, paper naming conventions reveal just the “tip of the iceberg” of the imbalances in knowledge production between the global North and South.