New [email protected]: Under-representation of local needs in the global south in mainstream bibliographic databases. The case of rice research.

The AIMS team in cooperation is pleased to announce the webinar “Under-representation of local needs in the global south in mainstream bibliographic databases. The case of rice research”. It will present the current research on this topic of Ismael Rafols, Tommaso Ciarli and Diego Chavarro from the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Sussex. It is open for researchers, information management specialists, librarians, software developers and other interested people.


Although the main bibliometric databases (Web of Science (WoS) and Scopus) claim to include journals on the basis of scientific and publication standards, there have long been concerns that its coverage is biased in favour of journals from industrialised countries and towards topics relevant to these countries. This webinar presents an investigation of this claim for research on rice, comparing the database CAB Abstracts with the mainstream databases. We find clear evidence that for a field such as rice, statistics based on WoS and Scopus strongly under-represent the scientific production by developing countries, and over-represent production by industrialised countries. More importantly, we also find a substantial bias in coverage of different research topics. The study suggests that statistics based on mainstream databases provide a significantly distorted view of the amount of research and diversity of agendas in most countries. Given that bibliometric statistics are often used for benchmarking and evaluation purposes, the database biases may translate into policy framings that undervalue domestic capabilities and research agendas more attuned to local needs in the global south.


27th January 2016  - 16:00 PM Rome Time (Use Time Converter to calculate the time difference between your location and Rome, Italy)


Ismael Rafols is a science and technology policy analyst at Ingenio (CSIC-UPV), a visiting fellow at SPRU (Univ. Sussex) (where he was from 2004 to 2012), and a research associate at the OST (HCERES, Paris). He works on the assessment of science and technology, studying both how research is evaluated and how evaluations may influence science and technology.
Ismael is interested in opening up new perspectives for visualising diverse scientific contributions, in particular those which tend to be neglected by conventional quantitative assessment. For this purpose, he developes methods to map and measure interdisciplinary research, knowledge exchange and societal contributions of science (the so-called "impact" agenda). In particular, He is working on visualisations that help interrogate the research landscapes or portfolios of grand challenges such as bird flu or obesity, or the knowledge base of funding agencies and organisations such as universities or pharmaceutical firms.

He received an MSc in Science and Technology Policy from SPRU (Sussex, 2006), a BSc in Physics from the Univ. Barcelona (1993), a PhD in biophysics from Tohoku University (Sendai, Japan, 2001) and a postdoctoral in nanobiotechnology at Cornell University. In between academic positions, he has worked on international cooperation in Oxfam (1994) and the City Council of Barcelona (2003-04).

All publications of Ismael Rafols are available via green open access as shown in Google Scholar's profile. Full CV.

How to join

The session is open to anyone but places are limited. If you are interested to attend the webinar, send an e-mail to [email protected], containing the following information:

  • your name
  • your affiliation
  • your e-mail
  • your country

System requirements

Once you have requested to attend the webinar, you will receive an e-mail confirming your place with an URL access. Make sure that:

  • you have good internet connection
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9, 10; Mozilla Firefox; Google Chrome
  • Adobe® Flash® Player 10.3. If in doubt, go to Checking system requirements of the web conferencing programme Adobe Connect.


This webinar is co-sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and CIARD 



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