A comparison of the "production and use" patterns of literature by Japanese and Russian chemists

Shunsaku Tamura, Naoko Inoue, Nobuyuki Midorikawa

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Russian and Japanese chemists are the second and the third largest producers of world chemical literature. This study has compared their attitudes toward their own languages and English, the major language in chemistry, as well as the attiudes of the U. S. and British chemists toward Russian and Japanese literature, as a case study of the language barrier in scientific communication. The following five items have been studied: 1) languages of journal articles written by Russian and Japanese chemists, 2) countries of journals publishing Russian and Japanese articles, 3) the frequency with which Russian and Japanese articles (in English as well as in their own languages) have been cited by chemists of the respective countries and the U. S./Britain, 4) types of citations in articles written by U. S. / British chemists, and 5) the time-lag between the publication of the original Russian/Japanese article and its citation by the U. S./British chemist. Results suggest the contrasting patterns of publication by Russian and Japanese chemists: 56% of Japanese articles have been written in English, while only 3% of Russian articles have been written in English. Almost all the articles written in the author's native language have been published in the author's own country, showing the limited use of their language. About 60% of Japanese articles written in English have been published in Japan, while only 2% of Russian articles in English have been published in Russian. Generally, articles written in English tend to be cited more by the U. S. / British researchers than those in other languages. Articles written in other languages tend to be cited by the U. S./British chemists more in review articles than as the original, and also years after publication, suggesting that the U. S./British researchers tend to use that literature indirecly, i. e. by reading summaries, translations, etc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-114
Number of pages12
JournalLibrary and Information Science
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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