iMetrics: the development of the discipline with many names
Different research traditions have developed over time to study the quantitative aspects of information and knowledge production, such as scientometrics, bibliometrics, librametrics, informetrics, cybermetrics, webometrics, or altmetrics. These information metrics, or iMetrics, as they were labeled by Milojević and Leydesdorff in Scientometrics 95(1):141–157, 2013, are unified by the usage of quantitative data analysis, applying various statistical methods and techniques and are often used to supplement and complement each other. Representing different research traditions, they jointly form a common research field, a “discipline with many names”. In this article, we look at the development of iMetrics field and its evolution over time using bibliometric network analysis and identify its common basis, formed by the most important publications, journals, scholars and topics. The dataset consists of articles from the Web of Science database (26,414 records with complete descriptions). Analyzing the citation network, we evaluate the field’s growth and identify the most cited works. Using the Search path count (SPC) approach, we extract the Main path, Key routes paths, and Link islands in the citation network. The results show that in the last forty years the number of published papers increased, and it doubles every 8 years; the number of single author papers dropped from 50 to 10 %, and the number of papers authored by 3 or more authors is increasing. We make the conclusions about the field’s development and its current state. We also present the main authors, journals and keywords from the field, which form its common basis.