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With today's research production and global dissemination, there is growing pressure to assess how academic fields foster diversity. Based on a mathematical problem/solve scheme, the aim of this study is twofold. First, the paper elaborates on how research diversity in scientific fields can be empirically gauged, proposing six working definitions. Second , drawing on these theoretical explanations, we introduce an original methodological protocol for research diversity evaluation. Third, the study puts this mathematical model to an empirical test by comparatively evaluating (1) communication research diversity in 2017, with respect to field's diversity in 1997, and (2) communication research and political science diversity in 2017. Our results indicate that, contrasted to pattern diversity , communication research in 2017 is not a diverse field. However, throughout the years (1997-2017), there is a statistically significant improvement. Finally, the cross-comparison examination between political and communication sciences reveals the latter to be significantly more diverse.
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Scientometrics
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-020-03680-6
1 3
A mathematical approach toassess research diversity:
operationalization andapplicability incommunication
sciences, political science, andbeyond
ManuelGoyanes1,2 · MártonDemeter3 · AureaGrané4 ·
IreneAlbarrán‑Lozano4· HomeroGildeZúñiga2,5,6
Received: 28 March 2020
© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2020
Abstract
With today’s research production and global dissemination, there is growing pressure
to assess how academic fields foster diversity. Based on a mathematical problem/solve
scheme, the aim of this study is twofold. First, the paper elaborates on how research diver-
sity in scientific fields can be empirically gauged, proposing six working definitions. Sec-
ond, drawing on these theoretical explanations, we introduce an original methodological
protocol for research diversity evaluation. Third, the study puts this mathematical model
to an empirical test by comparatively evaluating (1) communication research diversity
in 2017, with respect to field’s diversity in 1997, and (2) communication research and
political science diversity in 2017. Our results indicate that, contrasted to pattern diver-
sity, communication research in 2017 is not a diverse field. However, throughout the years
(1997–2017), there is a statistically significant improvement. Finally, the cross-comparison
examination between political and communication sciences reveals the latter to be signifi-
cantly more diverse.
Keywords Research diversity· Diversity· Communicationscience· Political science·
Diversity gaps
In recent decades, research diversity has become a central element in shaping the form and
content of scientific fields (Metz etal. 2016), mirroring the growing societal and economic
demands and pressures of most democratic societies (Dhanani and Jones 2017). With the
growing globalization of academia, diversity enables new opportunities to configure inclu-
sive scientific fields (Waisbord and Mellado 2014; Waisbord 2016), build upon the devel-
opment of plural approaches to scientific facts and knowledge progress (Stephan and Levin
1991). There is a general consensus that research diversity points to the matureness and
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (https ://doi.org/10.1007/s1119
2-020-03680 -6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
* Manuel Goyanes
mgoyanes@hum.uc3m.es
Extended author information available on the last page of the article
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sophistication of most academic disciplines (Wasserman 2018), enriching empirical evi-
dences with plural visions of the world (Livingstone 2007; Willems 2014), and challenging
the taken-for-granted assumptions of academic elites (Demeter 2018). However, despite
the importance of rigorously measuring the state in which different intellectual terrains
are positioned regarding research diversity, little research has directly developed a reliable
instrument to both evaluate diversity claims and infer the potential diversity gaps that exist
in the academia. This paper seeks to palliate this gap, proposing a protocol to evaluate
research diversity, from a multivariate perspective, based on six working definition. We
illustrate this protocol in the fields of Communication and Political Science.
For the genesis of this article we took the following approach: initially, we conduct a
brief literature review of diversity measures in general, and in bibliometric studies in com-
munication research in particular, with the aim of designing a research diversity frame-
work, conceptualizing the main items and scales often used for gauging research patterns
in the field. Despite extant research on communication studies seldom address the potential
formulas to measure diversity in research (an exception would be Leydesdorff and Probst
2009), they provide critical perspectives, variables and measurements to assess the evolu-
tion of the field (in terms of authorships, methodologies, thematic approaches) and thus
the potential diversity of its core components (Freelon 2013; Günther and Domahidi 2017;
Walter etal. 2018). After the literature review, we propose, define and describe a method-
ology and the associated research protocol to calculate the research diversity of a given
field and its research production.
Since our interest is in Communication Sciences, we apply these measurements to cal-
ibrate this discipline first. Specifically, we conducted a content analysis of a representa-
tive and randomized sample of articles (N = 283) published in all Journal Citation Reports
(JCR) journals (NJ = 84) indexed under the category of “communication” in 2017. In addi-
tion, we assess the current diversity of research in Communication Sciences compared to
that of 20years ago (N = 263; NJ= 36), following the same methodological procedure out-
lined above. Finally, we compare this research diversity with that of a cousin field, i.e.
Political Science (N = 329; NJ = 169). In all cases, sample sizes were calculated with a
confidence level of 95%. Therefore, assuming normality, the final samples had a sampling
error of less than 5%.
Measuring diversity: abrief historical overview
Measuring diversity has a long tradition (Rao 1982a). The first attempts to provide reli-
able diversity measurements date back as those initial efforts of Gini in economics (Gini
1912), Sokal and Sneath in biology (1963), Agresti and Agresti in sociology (1978) or Rao
in anthropology (1948). Rao (1982a) reviewed some of these measures and offered three
unified approaches for deriving them (Rao 1982a), providing also diversity decomposition
examples within a population in terms of given or conceptual factors (Rao 1982b). Later
scientometric scholars interested in diversity issues mostly adopt and modify Rao’s indices,
showcasing the strong influence of Rao’s works (Leydesdorff etal. 2019; Stirling 2007), in
applying diversity measures on different levels of analysis, including individual journals
(Zhang etal. 2009, 2010), and articles (Zhang etal. Zhang etal. 2016).
Stirling (2007), who partially built his approach on Rao’s calculations (1982a), con-
sidered diversity as an attribute of all systems whose elements could be appointed into
different categories. These three systemic features are: variation, balance and disparity.
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By reference of ten quality criteria, Stirling proposes a new general diversity heuristic in
which each of the aforementioned three subordinate properties—variation, balance and
disparity—could be systematically explored. Later scholarships typically adopted Stirling’s
insights regarding the use of variation, balance and disparity in gauging diversity (Rafols
and Meyer 2010; Ráfols 2014).
Bone and his colleagues (Bone etal. 2019) defined diversity in line with Stirling’s con-
ceptualization (Stirling 2007), too, but as opposed to Striling (2007) and Ráfols (2014),
they measured distances between individuals, and not categories. By conceptualizing
diversity on this basis, they followed Boschma work (2005) who established the concept
of proximity as a key concept in diversity calibration. Boschma and his later followers
applied five forms of proximity, namely cognitive, organizational, social, institutional and
geographical proximity, where greater proximity in each category means greater diversity.
More recently, Leydesdorff and Ráfols (2010) analyze different indices by which inter-
disciplinarity could be quantitatively measured, such as Gini coefficients, Shannon entropy
indices, and the Rao-Stirling diversity index. Later research showed that using Rao–Stirling
diversity (RS) indices sometimes produces anomalous results (Leydesdorff etal. 2019). It
is typically argued that these anomalies could be related to the use of the dual-concept
diversity that combines both balance and variety (Stirling 2007). Based on this observa-
tion, Leydesdorff et al. (2019) modified RS into an index that operationalizes the three
diversity features of Stirling—variety, balance and disparity—independently, and then
combines them ex post. This formula has been criticized and slightly modified later by
Rousseau (2019).
The contribution of our study is as follows: instead of providing a specific formula or
comparing different formulas, we propose an entire protocol to gauge the diversity of a
given academic field based on some specific characteristics of its authors and the type and
features of the research they carry out. While the Stirling–Rao indices (and also Simpson
diversity indices) are measures of the internal diversity of a variable (and the Stirling–Rao
index also incorporates a measure of distance between categories), our proposal is based
on comparisons to a certain “diversity pattern”. For example, in Rafols and Meyer (2010),
diversity formulas are used to compare different disciplines through the variable “ref-of-
refs” along with a matrix of dissimilarities between disciplines. On the contrary, our con-
cept of “variable diversity” is defined as a battery of measures that allow us to compare
the variability of each of the variables of interest with its corresponding pattern. We have
illustrated these comparisons using Hellinger’s distance, but any other distance function
between probability distributions might be valid. Finally, we take the average of all dis-
tances as a comprehensive measure of the field variability. We remark that the choice of the
distance function is not as important as the calibration of the threshold, from which it will
be decided if the variable of interest follows or not the given diversity pattern. This calibra-
tion is done via bootstrap.
Communication research patterns: literature review
While we still lack a sound definition for research diversity and a reliable measurement
for its calibration, there is a robust body of literature that, either explicitly or implicitly,
problematizes diversity issues in communication research. In the following subsections, we
present the main empirical contributions of these research branches, explaining how our
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study contributes to further evaluate diversity claims and infer the position and evolution of
single or multiple fields of science.
Methodological, disciplinary andtheoretical foundations ofdiversity
incommunication studies
Analyses of publication patterns in communication studies can be found as early as 1989,
when the special issue Communication Research was first published on this topic (Vol 16
Issue 5). In the same year, Journal of Communication also dedicated three special issues
to analyzing publication patterns, as well as the most frequently assessed subfields in com-
munication research (Vol 43 Issue 3, Vol 54 Issue 4 and Vol 55 Issue 3), showcasing the
growing relevance of such meta-scholarship to evaluate the state of the field. Paradoxically,
the first citation analysis of communication journals was also published in Paisley (1989),
followed by a brand-new research stream on bibliometric or scientometric studies. This
study contributes to this research tradition by assessing the empirical, methodological and
thematic evolution of the discipline (Funkhouser 1996; Reeves and Borgman 1983; Rice
et al. 1988; Borgman 1989; Rogers 1999; Feeley 2008; Bunz 2005; Griffin etal. 2016;
Keating etal. 2019).
Extant research on communication research patterns has also addressed issues around
its interdisciplinary foundations. For instance, So (1988) found that communication is one
of the less diverse fields amongst social sciences, and Smith (2000) also discovered very
limited diversity while examining the interdisciplinarity of technical communication jour-
nals. Specifically focusing on Journal of Communication, Park and Leydesdorff (2009)
found there was little citation activity for disciplines other than communication. However,
as Zhu and Fu (2019) argue, these studies were limited in many ways:
Their research scopes were not sufficiently broad enough to reflect the intellectual
diversity of the entire field of communication, barely focusing either on shortlisted,
top-tier journals (excluding emerging and niche research areas) or on a specific
period of time (ignoring the time-evolving nature of the field). The findings mainly
offer descriptive information, but not analytical investigations into the possible asso-
ciations, which thereby confines the research implications (Zhu and Fu 2019, p. 279).
Other scholars investigated specific patterns in communication publication trends. For
instance, by analyzing the publication patterns of nine leading journals, Freelon (2013)
established the main topics, methods, and citation universes of the field, empirically dem-
onstrating that, in communication research, better-known journals tend to publish work that
is quantitative, empirical, epistemologically social-scientific, and American in nature. The
major caveat in this spread is that it almost certainly underrepresents work that is “quali-
tative, purely theoretical, critical, and non-American” (Freelon 2013, p. 22). Thus, what
holds for methodological diversity presumably holds for epistemic and thematic diversi-
ties, too. Freelon also implemented descriptive statistics to account for such research pat-
terns, complemented with social network analyses. Freelon’s findings have been recently
extended by Günther and Domahidi (2017), who analyzed the main themes of top-tier
journals in communication and found less thematic diversity than expected. Günther and
Domahidi (2017) implemented a topic modelling to specify the myriad of topics that artic-
ulate communication research, implicitly defining diversity as the distribution of frequen-
cies for each variable under analysis.
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Leydersdorff and Probst (2009) considered communication studies as a hybrid research
field between political science and social psychology. The authors analyzed cross-citations
between journals in all three ISI categories. They found that, with the development of
the strength and identity of communication studies as a genuine discipline, the border of
communication with social psychology has become sharper than the border with political
science.
Besides the analysis of general publication patterns and the interdisciplinary founda-
tions in the field, there is a tradition of scholarship that deals with diversity measures in
different segments of the global academy in general, and in communication in particular
(Hendrix etal. 2016). Walter etal. (2018) analyzed many aspects of diversity through the
examination of articles published in Journal of Communication from 1951 to 2016. The
study concentrated mostly on diversities in terms of methodology, interdisciplinary per-
spectives and theoretical foci. Diversity measures thus far were assessed by calculating per-
centages of different research categories, statistically describing the research tendencies of
the field.
More recently, Zhu and Fu (2019) analyzed all the SSCI indexed communication jour-
nals with respect to interdisciplinarity. Their study focuses on the longitudinal citation
records of communication journals over the past two decades (1997–2016), in order to
measure the amount of citations to and from different research fields. Specifically, Zhu and
Fu (2019) estimate the diversity of knowledge transfer (including knowledge import and
knowledge export) regarding the field of communication. Their method was inspired by
network science. Outward citations were measured by out-degree centrality, while inward
citations were measured by weighted in-degree centrality. In addition, Zhu and Fu’s (2019)
study also measured the longitudinal correlation between citation metrics and journal
impact factor (JIF), showing that, besides a growing absolute interdisciplinarity, commu-
nication scholarship has been faced with stagnant relative interdisciplinarity over the years.
In contrast to former studies, while most typically concentrate on a sole aspect of diver-
sity, like citation patterns (Bunz 2005), interdisciplinarity (Park and Leydesdorrff 2009;
Zhu and Fu 2019), or methodological and topical foundations of the field (Freelon 2013;
Günther and Domahidi 2017), our study explores and reports multiple variables that
account for the holistic vision of the field’s diversity. Hence, research diversity is not cali-
brated as a discrete dimension, but as a complex system made of 15 different variables that
extant research has examined separately (Walter etal. 2018). As opposed to former studies
that mostly calculate research diversity through descriptive statistics (i.e. frequencies and
percentages), our study provides robust mathematical equations and a systematic research
protocol aimed at both assessing diversity claims in science and inferring both the evolu-
tion and current state of different intellectual terrains.
Gatekeeping andgeopolitics: measuring thegeographical diversity ofeditorial
boards andauthors
The diversity within the editorial boards of communication journals and its related-
ness to publication trends and patterns of the field have been also widely studied. Extant
research has demonstrated that the discipline is far from being diverse in terms of edito-
rial boards’ geographical diversity, and most scholarship has pointed to a significant West-
ern and especially American dominance in this body of governance (Lauf 2005; Demeter
2018; Goyanes 2020). Leeds-Hurwitz (2019) adds that the diversity of editorial boards
might correlate with the journals’ production model. The author assumes that, at least in
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communication, open access, especially diamond open access journals, might have a more
diverse editorial board than journals under the classic production scheme. Youk and Park’s
(2019) study examined the geographical diversity and publication patterns of editors and
editorial board members in communication journals, showing that the diversity of editorial
boards was related to the journal’s affiliated association (NCA and ICA), international ori-
entation, and interdisciplinary nature.
The geopolitical diversity of communication journals has also been widely investigated
in the last decade (Bunz 2005; Chakravartty etal. 2018; Demeter 2018; Goyanes and Dem-
eter 2020). Ganter and Ortega (2019) argue that, while there is an increasing diversity in
communication journals germane to certain Latin-American topics, leading Western jour-
nals and conferences are still lacking diversity in terms of Latin-American authors. The
geopolitical diversity and intraregional imbalance were measured by descriptive statistics,
through which the authors identify, proportionally, the participation of different world
regions in the European communications community. Guenther and Joubert (2017), ana-
lyzed both gender and geopolitical diversity in science communication journals throughout
time, finding that although gender inequalities have decreased slightly, Western dominance
remained at a similar level over the years. They measured diversity by analyzing cross-cul-
tural and cross-country collaborations, providing descriptive data on the most productive
countries in the field of science communication (i.e. frequencies).
While the aforementioned studies made meaningful contributions towards a better
understanding of the long-standing imbalances that exist both in authorship and editorial
boards in the field of communications, extant research does not problematize nor provide a
robust yardstick to evaluate the field’s diversity. As a result, diversity findings are reported
in a “diversity vacuum”. Additionally, since most studies rely on descriptive statistics
(Bunz 2005) or deployed Simpson’s diversity indices (Lauf 2005; Demeter 2018), they fail
in estimating a benchmark level of diversity to contrast diversity claims in communication
studies. Our study provides computable definitions of research diversity and postulates dif-
ferent potential benchmark levels to statistically infer the state and evolution of diversity in
academic fields.
Problem statement
This brief recapitulation on how different bibliometric studies have approached diversity
in communication hints to the fact that different diversities—in authorship, thematic focus,
methodology, interdisciplinarity and so forth—might exist. However, the methodological
approaches and research procedures deployed by extant research were mostly based on
descriptive statistics of some specific variables, precluding us to delve deeper into the mul-
tidimensionality of diversity and establish reliable statistical inferences about the situation
and evolution of diversity within and across academic fields. In short, what extant research
lacks is a sound yardstick to empirically test diversity claims and infer the potential diver-
sity gaps that exist within academia. When does a given scientific field have statistically
significant diversity, and how can we establish statistical inferences on its state and evolu-
tion? Moreover, how can different scientific fields be statistically measured to yield sound
diversity comparisons? This study seeks to address these gaps by providing a mathemati-
cally constructed formula with the direct vision to gauge diversity in communication and
statistically infer its position germane to a given benchmark population.
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Problematizing, dening andmeasuring research diversity: aprotocol
To follow, we present a methodological protocol to measure the research diversity of a
given field and the material published (i.e. papers). Although in this study we focus on a
representative sample of JCR journals in Communication Sciences, the protocol and the
variables measured are both robust and wide enough to transpire onto other scientific fields
and units of analysis.
The starting point is a dataset, which is a representative sample of a given population,
whose rows are the cases to be evaluated and whose columns are the variables. The proto-
col to evaluate research diversity is based on four steps:
1. Establish the benchmark: Select the hypothesized marginal probability distributions
for all variables. In absence of other information, discrete uniform distribution may be
chosen.
2. Select a proper distance function to evaluate the discrepancy between the empirical
marginal distribution and the hypothesized. In this work we have chosen Hellinger
distance, although other distances (dissimilarities, divergence measures, indexes, etc.)
between two probability distributions may be used.
3. Compute variable diversity and field diversity as explained below.
4. Express any research question of interest as a test of hypothesis and use the proposed
statistics based on variable diversity and field diversity to solve the test. To obtain the
probability distributions of the test statistics (confidence intervals) implement a row-
wise bootstrap in order to preserve the multivariate structure of the data. This may be
of importance in case variables are not independent.
In what follows we detail the steps of the protocol. In order to calibrate the position of
a given field in terms of research diversity, we must design a benchmark. We labeled this
benchmark diversity pattern, for which we consider two possible situations: grounded truth
and known/given diversity. First, in the absence of other information, we assume that a
grounded truth exists when a given variable has the same proportion or frequencies in each
of its values. In terms of Probability Theory, the concept of grounded truth is known as
discrete uniform probability distribution (Everitt and Skrondal 2010). For instance, when
measuring the gender representation of a given field in terms of first authorship, grounded
truth will exist when 50% of the production is authored by male scholars and 50% by
female scholars. Second, a known/given diversity will exist when we know the current
diversity of a given population, or when we have established it theoretically. For instance,
measuring the gender representation of a given field in terms of first authorship, a known/
given diversity will exist when (a) we know the frequencies for the gender distribution of a
given benchmark population (the world, USA, a continent, the International Communica-
tion Association (ICA), all communication scientists, etc.) or (b) when we establish the fre-
quencies for the gender distribution that we theoretically assume to be diverse, for instance
55–45%, 60–40% or 90–10%.
Given that the values were unknown for most of our variables, we took grounded truth as a
benchmark and, in the remainder section, we problematize its conceptualization. We assume
that grounded truth, if actually exists, is very difficult to concur, since any given journal has
its priorities, agendas, expectations and research focus that drive it to employ specific research
methodologies, focusing on specialized thematic areas. In addition, according to Knobloch-
Westerwick and Glynn (2013), there are gender-oriented topics in Communication Sciences,
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meaning that some thematic areas are more prone to be built and thus consumed by male
or female scholars respectively. Luck might also play a crucial role during the peer-review
process, journal selection and data gathering. Geographic imbalances might also have a sig-
nificant impact on diversity, since as previous studies have demonstrated, Western geographies
dominates both research production and editorial boards (Lauf 2005; Demeter 2018), which
might suggest that their expectations, agendas and perspectives are crucial to shape communi-
cation theory, research and teaching (Curran and Park 2000; Luthra 2015).
Grounded truth serves as an ideal measure, not only to account for the potential impact
of luck, but also for the combination of external and internal variables (voluntary or not).
These conditions, however, point to potential imbalances and thus the lack of diversity
that might exist in the academy. Imbalances in a given field are the product of internal
and external forces that struggle for domination and not the result of the selected distribu-
tion. However, due to the significant impact that external and internal forces might have
in diversity measures, the abovementioned priorities, expectations, orientations, focus, etc.
clearly reduce the odds of accounting for a grounded truth. This means that not all values
of a given variable hold the same odds in reality, although they potentially have the same
odds of being selected. Therefore, the different social and/or organizational agents who
discretionally and/or voluntary decide which approach or orientation is worth pursuing in
a particular journal are crucial in calibrating diversity and thus mitigating or amplifying
the distance from the grounded truth (diversity gaps). This voluntary and/or discretional
orientation is beyond chance or luck, precluding us to make value judgments and open nor-
mative discussions on how a given scientific field should or must be (the contrary would
happen with known/given diversity, since the frequencies are known or given). Our results
simply point to how distant or close a given variable or field is from its respective ideal,
calibrating whether this distance is statistically significant or not. Some variables and fields
will arguably be more close to their ideal, suggesting that diversity issues are more social-
ized. Based on this preliminary problematization, we propose five different definitions for
calibrating and comparing research diversity, according to the main objective of the meas-
urement involved. This is translated into the following mathematical terms:
Let
{
X1,X2,,X
p}
be a set of categorical or discrete variables (available from pub-
lished papers) and let
ci1,ci2,cik
be the different categories or values taken by variable
Xi
, for
i=1, ,p
. Consider the following definitions:
Grounded truth We say that variable
Xi
has grounded truth if
Xi
follows a discrete uni-
form probability distribution, that is
For example, if variable
Xi
is measuring first author’s gender (with
ci1=1
for male and
ci2=2
for female), grounded truth represents the same probability for males and females to
be the first authors of a study in the field of communication. Or, in other, more mathemati-
cally precise words, we say that there is grounded truth in gender if Eq.1 is
In the case that the diversity pattern is known or given, Eq.1 becomes
with
i=1p0
=
.
(1)
p
i=
P
Xi=ci1
,P
Xi=ci2
,,P
Xi=cik

=
1
k
,
1
k
,,
1
k
pi=
P
Xi=1
,P
Xi=2

=
1
2
,
1
2.
p
i
=
(
P
(
X
i
=c
i1)
,P
(
X
i
=c
i2)
,,P
(
X
i
=c
ik))
=
(
p
0
i1
,p
0
i2
,,p
0
ik)
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1 3
The set
{
X
1
,X
2
,,X
p}
serves as diversity pattern if each
Xi
has grounded truth (or
follows a known/given diversity distribution), for
i=1, ,p
. In the case of known/given
diversity, note that to establish potential tests, the known/given diversity must be a case,
scenario or context, and not the population.
Diversity of a g-group of papers This equation is oriented to calibrate the diversity of
a given group of papers with regards to several variables. In particular, the equation esti-
mates how far each variable of interest is from grounded truth. The aim is to compute a
distance between the empirical frequencies (calculated from the group of papers) and the
theoretical probability (given in Eq.1), storing all the distances in a vector. Mathemati-
cally, the diversity of a group of papers is defined as a vector of distances
(dg
1
,dg
2
,dgp)
,
where
f
i
=
(
f
i
1,,f
ik)
being the vector with the empirical relative frequency distribution of vari-
able
Xi
in the g-group of papers,
pi
the discrete uniform probability distribution (same as
before) and
d
any distance function between discrete probability distributions. Note that
one should not compute the empirical relative frequency distribution for only one paper.
Thus, the quantity defined in Eq.2 should be computed for a group
ng
of papers (
ng
≥ 10).
Also note that the vector
(dg1,dg2,dgp)
contains the
p
distances between the empirical
relative frequency distribution of variable
X
is
in the g-group and the corresponding dis-
crete uniform probability distribution.
g-group mean diversity This is a scalar measure to summarize the diversity of a given
group of papers, taking the mean of the elements of vector
(dg1,dg2,dgp)
. Mathemati-
cally, g-group mean diversity is defined as the mean of the
p
distances
dg
1
,dg
2
,dgp
, that
is:
Variable diversity This measure is analogous to the diversity of a g-group of papers,
but with the difference that the whole sample of papers is considered, instead of only
measuring a small group of them. Variable diversity is defined as the vector of distances
(
d
G1
,d
G2
,d
Gp)
, where
G
is the representative sample of indexed published papers in the
research field of interest. In our application,
G=283
, which is the number of papers that
were randomly selected as a representative sample of the Communication Sciences field.
Field diversity This measure is analogous to g-group mean diversity, but com-
puted on the whole sample of papers, computing the mean of the elements of vector
(dG
1
,dG
2
,dGp)
. Field diversity is defined as the mean of the
p
distances
dG
1
,dG
2
,dGp
,
that is:
We illustrate the previous concepts and definitions in Figure A1 (see the Online Appen-
dix for detailed information). Following, we describe the protocol to measure the research
diversity of a given field. First, scholars interested in applying our diversity measurements
need to select a representative and random sample of published papers in the research area
of interest, and then a set of variables
{
X1,X2,,X
p}
to be measured on each paper. In our
application, we have selected a representative, proportional sample of 283 JCR articles in
(2)
dgi
=d
(
f
i
,p
i)
, for i=1, ,p
,
(3)
d
g=
1
p
p
i=1
d
gi
(4)
d
G=
1
p
p
i=1
d
Gi
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Communication Sciences and 15 different variables to measure diversity (see the coding
book below). Remember that all variables should be categorical or discrete. For each vari-
able
Xi
, authors need to compute the grounded truth or known/given diversity using Eq.1.
In our case, we compute the grounded truth for all variables, except for first author origin/
affiliation and first author gender, for which we assume the true probability distributions
given by ICA.
To measure the statistical distance between two probability distributions, authors need
to select a statistical function. In our application, we have used the Hellinger distance
(Nikulin 1994), which is related to the Bhattacharyya coefficient (Bhattacharyya 1943).
Given two discrete probability distributions
P
=
(
p
1
,p
2
,,p
k)
and
Q
=
(
q
1
,q
2
,,q
k)
,
the Hellinger distance between P and Q is given by
In the application, we have computed the Hellinger distance between the empirical rela-
tive frequency distribution of
Xi
and the corresponding discrete uniform distribution (in the
case of grounded truth), that is, for i = 3,…,p, we have computed
Since we assume a known/given diversity in the case of variables
X1
and
X2
, Eq. 5
becomes
The distance takes values in the [0, 1]-interval, being 0 when variable
Xi
has the diver-
sity pattern (grounded truth or known/given pattern). Note that distance functions like
the Euclidean or Manhattan do not make sense here, since they do not take into account
that
k
j=
1fij =
1
. This approach can complement other studies, where other metrics, such
as Kulback–Leibler divergence, entropy, Simpson’s diversity, Rao–Stirling index, among
other, are used. After selecting a proper statistical distance function, authors need to com-
pute the variable diversity and store it in a row vector, and then compute the field diver-
sity using Eq. 4. Finally, a bootstrap is needed for the estimation of g-group diversity
and g-group mean diversity. First, authors need to bootstrap the representative sample of
indexed published papers in order to obtain
B
groups of
n
papers, that is, select randomly
B
groups of
n
papers. In the application, we have taken
B=200
and
n=10
. It is important to
select groups randomly in order to avoid biased estimations.
Using Eq.2, authors have to compute the g-group diversity, for
g=1, ,B
. Then, they
must store each g-group diversity as a row of a
B×p
matrix. Call the diversity-matrix to this
matrix. Note that each column of the diversity matrix contains the bootstrap distribution of
distance
dgi
(
i=1, ,p
), that is, the bootstrap distribution of the distance of variable
Xi
to the
grounded truth distribution. Therefore, any summary statistic can be computed on these distri-
butions. We recommend obtaining the corresponding means and medians in order to compare
them to the corresponding variable diversity. Finally, using Eq.3, authors have to compute
(5)
d
(P,Q)=
1
k
i=1
piqi
d
fi,pi
=
1
k
j=1fij
1
k
d
fi,pi
=
1
k
j=1fijp0
ij
Scientometrics
1 3
g-group mean diversity,
dg
, for each row of the diversity-matrix and, lastly, consider the mean
over all the bootstrap samples
as an estimation of the g-group mean diversity within the field.
Methodology
We will now describe the methodology and protocol of data gathering and data analysis in
detail, which must be followed in order to correctly implement our diversity measurements.
First, the interested scholars need to create a pool of research papers from all manuscripts that
have been published in a given year. In our case we select 2017, Communication Sciences and
the SSCI list of Web of Science (NJ= 84). Then, authors need to make a proportional random
sample of the pool of articles that is representative to all research papers published with a mar-
gin error of ± 5%. The random selection can be implemented by using a computerized random
number generator. In our case the proportional random sample was N = 283.
After the sample selection, independent coders need to content analyze the articles under
study. In our case, we follow the Cohen kappa inter-coder agreement coefficient (Cohen,
1960), which adjusts for the proportion of agreements that take place. This was evaluated
using the guidelines outlined by Landis and Koch (1977), where the strength of the kappa
coefficient is as follows: 0.01–0.20 slight; 0.21–0.40 fair; 0.41–0.60 moderate; 0.61–0.80 sub-
stantial; 0.81–1.00 almost perfect. The analysis provided an inter-rater reliability of 97% and a
kappa coefficient of 0.93. Therefore, the inter-coder reliability was almost perfect. All discrep-
ancies between coders must be resolved through discussion.
Finally, authors need to create a coding book (see the Online Appendix for detailed infor-
mation). In order to design and apply the set of diversity measurements previously defined,
one must first establish a set of variables which can be oriented to measure the myriad of
diversities that might exist in a given field. In our case, we review previous literature on com-
munication research patterns and bibliometric analysis. We consider this stream of research
to be crucial in shedding light on diversity issues in Communication Sciences. Although its
main purpose is not to calibrate research diversity in the field, it has established reliable meas-
urements to evaluate the evolution of the field, thus indirectly providing relevant variables to
shed light on diversity issues (Freelon 2013; Günther and Domahidi 2017; Walter etal. 2018;
Demeter 2018, etc.).
All the selected articles were coded manually, since SCI/JCR do not provide data on
most of the categories and variables studied. It means that the coders downloaded the ran-
domly selected articles, and manually collected data on authors
{
X
1
,X
2
,,X
4}
and articles
{
X
5
,X
6
,,X
15}
. As a consequence, all the selected articles were content analyzed manu-
ally, justifying why it was impossible to conduct “big data” analysis (Gil de Zuniga and Diehl
2017). That is also he main reason to implement a proportional random sample.
d
dB =
1
B
B
i=1
dg
Scientometrics
1 3
Application inthecommunication sciences eld
In Table 1 we give the variable and field diversity according to the set of variables
{
X
1
,X
2
,,X
15}
.1 The interpretation is as follows: grounded truth is 0 (100% diversity)
and thus values closer to 0 are more diverse than those farther from 0. As we can observe
in Table1, most variables are close to 0, the first author gender (
X2
) being the closest and
X4
(First author affiliation type) the farthest off. The field diversity is 0.2212, i.e. 77.9%
diverse.
Regarding variable diversity (see Figure A2 in the Online Appendix for details), we
observe that its values are always lower than the median (and the mean) values of the cor-
responding g-group diversities. Indeed, as the number of papers per group increases, the
g-group diversity value gets closer to variable diversity (see TableA1 in the Online Appen-
dix for detailed information).
Our initial analysis indicates some descriptive statistics of research diversity in Commu-
nication Sciences in terms of the general field and the variables under study. However, this
scrutiny does not provide any empirical evidence regarding the existence of statistically
significant differences between grounded truth or the known/given diversity pattern and
the field of Communication Sciences (RQ1). Similarly, it is important to evaluate possible
statistically significant differences between the diversity of each variable under study and
grounded truth or the known/given diversity pattern (RQ2); and between the field (RQ3)
and each variable (RQ4) diversity in 1997 and grounded truth or the known/given diversity
Table 1 Variable and field
diversity Category Variable diversity (distance to
the diversity pattern)
% of diversity
X10.1499 85.0
X20.0234 97.7
X30.1810 81.9
X40.4864 51.4
X50.1777 82.2
X60.0740 92.6
X70.1111 88.9
X80.3898 61.0
X90.1530 84.7
X10 0.2224 77.8
X11 0.2748 72.5
X12 0.2849 71.5
X13 0.2681 73.2
X14 0.3142 68.6
X15 0.2078 79.2
Field diversity 0.2212 77.9
1
X1=
First author affiliation;
X2=
First author gender;
X3=
First author ethnicity;
X4=
First author affili-
ation type;
X5=
Type of authorship;
X6=
Form of collaboration;
X7=
Interdisciplinarity;
X8=
Area of
data collection;
X
9
=
Methodologies;
X10 =
Research approach;
X11 =
Type of samples;
X12 =
Paradigms;
X13 =
Content area;
X14 =
Analytical focus;
X15 =
Theoretical framework.
Scientometrics
1 3
pattern. Finally, in order to ascertain how the discipline has evolved over time, the paper
also seeks to clarify whether there are statistically significant differences between the field
diversity in 1997 and the field diversity in 2017 (RQ5); and between each variable diversity
in 1997 and each variable diversity in 2017 (RQ6), and how each diversity variable ranked
according to its contribution in mitigating or amplifying diversity gaps between 1997 and
2017 (RQ7).
As a result, we collect data of the same variables under study 20year ago, following
both the methodological procedures and protocols as previously outlined. Therefore, we
representatively and randomly select (at 5% margin error) the articles published (N = 263)
in all JCR journals in “communication” in 1997 (NJ= 36). Based on our research ambi-
tions, and applying the previously defined equations, we aim to answer the following
research questions:
Results
RQ1 can be solved by conducting a hypothesis test, to which the null hypothesis is
H0
𝜇
(
d
G)
=
0
, where
𝜇(
d
G)
is the expectation (that is, the population mean) of the dis-
tance between the field diversity and the diversity pattern (grounded truth or the known/
given pattern). Our proposal is to test the null with the following test statistic:
whose distribution under the null can be obtained by bootstrap. We derived the distribu-
tion of the test statistic from B = 20,000 bootstrap samples of size n = 283 (see Figure A3
in the Online Appendix for a kernel estimation of the density function and TableA2 for the
confidence intervals for
dG
).2 As we may observe, none of them contain the value 0, which
means that we should reject the null. However, we must point out that this null hypothesis
H0
𝜇
(
d
G)
=
0
is a very restrictive one, since it implies that there is grounded truth or
a known/given diversity pattern in each variable. The explanation is as follows: since a
distance cannot take negative values, a sum of distances is equal to zero if, and only if, all
the summands are equal to zero. If we look more carefully at the 99%-confidence interval,
we can observe that the field diversity is between 0.2133 and 0.2401, meaning that the
distance from the diversity pattern (grounded truth or known/given diversity pattern) is
between 21.33 and 24.01%, which is not much. Indeed, this confidence interval indicates
that, in 2017, the field diversity is between 76 and 78.7%.
To answer RQ2, we can conduct p goodness-of-fit tests, with null hypothesis
H0i
(
f
i1
,,f
ik)
=
(
p0
i1
,,p0
ik)
, for i = 1, 2 and
H
0i
fi1,,fik
=
1
k
,,1
k
, for
i = 3,…,p. In short, we test if the variables under study follow a known/given probability
distribution or a grounded truth (uniform distribution). Therefore, those variables with a p
value below 0.05/15 = 0.0033 (using Bonferroni correction) are not significant (i.e. are not
diverse), while those above 0.0033 are statistically significant and thus diverse. Note that,
if a significance level of 0.01 is preferred, then this threshold becomes 0.01/15 = 0.00,067.
(6)
d
G=
1
p
p
i=1
d
Gi
2 Remind that all bootstrap procedures are done case-wise in order to preserve the multivariate structure of
the data, which may be of importance if variables are not independent.
Scientometrics
1 3
In this case, we have conducted the Chi square goodness-of-fit test.3 Results are shown in
Table 2, where we can observe that variable diversity is statistically significant only for
First author gender (X2). Therefore, only this variable follows the diversity pattern, while
the others do not. We also show the 99%-confidence intervals obtained by bootstrap. We
observe that Form of collaboration (X6) and Interdisciplinarity (X7) are not far from
grounded truth.
RQ3 can be solved analogously to RQ1. Specifically, we are interested in testing
H0
𝜇
(
d1997
G)
=
0
, where
𝜇(
d1997
G)
is the expectation (that is, the population mean) of the
distance between the field diversity in 1997 and the diversity pattern (grounded truth or
the known/given pattern). As before, we use the test statistic of Eq.6, whose distribution
under the null is obtained by bootstrap. We derived the distribution of the test statistic from
B = 20,000 bootstrap samples of size n = 263 (see Figure A4 in the Online Appendix for
a kernel estimation of the density function and TableA3 for the confidence intervals for
dG
). Since none of them contain the value 0, we reject the null, meaning that in 1997 the
field was not 100% diverse. Indeed, the 99%-confidence interval indicates that the field
diversity is between 0.2837 and 0.3197, meaning that the distance from the diversity pat-
tern (grounded truth or known/given diversity) is from 28.37 to 31.975%. Thus in 1997, the
field diversity was between 68 and 71.6%, around 7 points lower than in 2017.
RQ4 can be solved analogously to RQ2, that is, conducting p goodness-of-fit tests, one
for each variable. As before, we performed the Chi square goodness-of-fit test.4 Results are
Table 2 Results of the Chi
square goodness-of-fit test and
99%-confidence interval
Category Chi square statistic p value 99%-CI (boot-
strap)
% of
diver-
sity
range
X185.1651 0.0000 0.1122 0.2154 78 89
X21.2497 0.2636 0.0000 0.0773 92 100
X368.2721 0.0000 0.1288 0.2362 76 87
X4526.2721 0.0000 0.4405 0.5475 45 56
X564.1449 0.0000 0.1282 0.2329 77 87
X611.7809 0.0028 0.0239 0.1306 87 98
X726.0106 0.0000 0.0604 0.1676 83 94
X8451.8587 0.0000 0.346 0.4698 53 65
X942.2933 0.0000 0.1064 0.2188 78 89
X10 105.7845 0.0000 0.172 0.2808 72 83
X11 138.3004 0.0000 0.2251 0.3319 67 77
X12 198.4629 0.0000 0.2349 0.3409 66 77
X13 182.8445 0.0000 0.2223 0.3269 67 78
X14 293.9293 0.0000 0.2685 0.3688 63 73
X15 224.9894 0.0000 0.1709 0.2607 74 83
4 Note that, all expected cell values are greater than 5, hence no Yates correction is needed. For example, if
we compute expected cell values in the worst case, which are those corresponding to variable “area of data
collection” with k = 13 categories, we have that for a sample size of n = 263, they are n·1/k = 20.23.
3 Note that all expected cell values are greater than 5, hence no Yates correction is needed. For example, if
we compute expected cell values in the worst case, which are those corresponding to variable “area of data
collection” with k = 13 categories, we have that for a sample size of n = 283, they are n·1/k = 21.77.
Scientometrics
1 3
shown in Table3, where we reject the null for all variable diversities at any significance
level. Therefore, none of them are 100% diverse. Looking at the 99%-confidence intervals,
we can see that First author gender (X2) is the closest to the diversity pattern.
To solve RQ5 we have to check if the differences between the field diversity in 1997 and
the field diversity in 2017 are statistically significant. Thus, we can perform a test with null
hypothesis
H
0𝜇
(
d
1997
G)
=𝜇
(
d
2017
G)
. Our proposal is to test the null with the following
test statistic:
whose support is the interval [− 1, 1]. The distribution of the statistic under the null is com-
puted from B = 20,000 bootstrap samples of sizes n1 = 263 and n2 = 283 (see Figure A5 in
the Online Appendix for a kernel estimation of the density function and TableA4 for the
confidence intervals). We can observe that both limits are positive, indicating that the field
diversity in 2017 is closer to the diversity pattern (grounded truth or known/given pattern)
than in 1997. Since both limits are positive (zero is not included in the confidence interval),
we conclude that there are statistically significant differences between the field diversity in
1997 and 2017.
To answer RQ6, we proceed analogously to RQ5 and obtain 15 bootstrap confidence
intervals in order to test if there are statistically significant differences between each vari-
able diversity in 1997 and 2017. We propose the following tests statistics:
with support in [− 1, 1]. Their distributions are obtained from B = 20,000 bootstrap samples
of sizes n1 = 263 and n2 = 283. Table 4 contains the confidence intervals (see Figure A6
Diff_field
=d1997
G
d2017
G
Diff_variable
(i)=d
1997
Gi
d
2017
Gi
,for i =1,
, 15.
Table 3 Results of the Chi
square goodness-of-fit test and
99%- confidence interval
Sample 1997
Category Chi square statistic p value 99%-CI (boot-
strap)
% of
diver-
sity
range
X1113.7046 0.0000 0.1660 0.2884 71 83
X250.1736 0.0000 0.0991 0.2109 79 90
X3172.5057 0.0000 0.2778 0.3858 61 72
X4552.3916 0.0000 0.4558 0.5702 43 54
X5128.4715 0.0000 0.2508 0.3649 64 75
X697.3308 0.0000 0.1567 0.2687 73 84
X797.2395 0.0000 0.1565 0.2684 73 84
X8945.1369 0.0000 0.4668 0.5963 40 53
X973.308 0.0000 0.1488 0.2642 74 85
X10 122.3232 0.0000 0.2462 0.3807 62 75
X11 244.0494 0.0000 0.2683 0.3792 62 73
X12 107.2053 0.0000 0.1950 0.3067 69 81
X13 161.8593 0.0000 0.2643 0.3947 61 74
X14 168.1939 0.0000 0.2954 0.4045 60 70
X15 175.4867 0.0000 0.2399 0.3512 65 76
Scientometrics
1 3
in the Online Appendix for the kernel density estimations). If we look at 99%-confidence
intervals, we can see that the variables which show statistically significant differences in
their diversity between 1997 and 2017 are: First author gender (X2), First author ethnicity
(X3), Type of authorship (X5), Form of collaboration (X6), Interdisciplinarity (X7), Land of
data collection (X8) and Theoretical framework (X15). All of them have experienced a sig-
nificant diversity increase within these 20years.
As we can observe in Fig.1 (RQ7) there is a notable increase in the percentage of diver-
sity between 1997 and 2017 in the vast majority of variables. Only for research paradigm
(X12) the percentage of diversity in 1997 was greater than in 2017, but this difference was
not statistically significant. Therefore, as the field becomes more mature, the diversity
gaps are generally mitigated, in most cases significantly, while the diversity gap in 1997 is
higher than in 2017 in only one case.
Theoretical applications andmore empirical testing: cross‑comparisons
betweenacademic elds
The application of our diversity measurements can also be implemented to calibrate,
compare and rank academic fields. The different variables under study can be adapted or
complemented with other values, as long as the studied category (i.e. variable) remains
the same across all disciplines. For instance, X1 (First author origin/affiliation), X2 (First
author gender), X3 (First author ethnicity), X4 (First author affiliation type), X5 (Type of
authorship), X6 (Form of collaboration), X7 (Interdisciplinary) and X8 (Land of data col-
lection) are variables whose values should not change much across the spectrums of both
natural and social sciences. However, X9 (Methodologies), X10 (Research approach), X11
(Type of samples), X12 (Paradigms), X13 (Content area), X14 (Analytical focus), X15 (Theo-
retical framework) are variables with values that should be adapted and/or complemented
to capture the nature of each field under study. Nevertheless, in order to make sound
Table 4 Confidence intervals for
Diff_variable statistic
***Stands for statistically significant
Category 99%-CI (bootstrap)
X1− 0.0185 0.1406
X20.0543 0.1967 ***
X30.0744 0.2297 ***
X4− 0.0639 0.0988
X50.0470 0.2047 ***
X60.0571 0.2109 ***
X70.0220 0.1744 ***
X80.0368 0.2139 ***
X9− 0.0356 0.1236
X10 − 0.0015 0.1584
X11 − 0.0314 0.1205
X12 − 0.1143 0.0427
X13 − 0.0298 0.1336
X14 − 0.0448 0.1111
X15 0.0073 0.1513 ***
Scientometrics
1 3
comparisons, every variable under analysis should be added in all fields, modifying or
maintaining the values for its measurement. Therefore, when comparing academic fields,
variables must remain the same across the board, while values can be adapted, modified,
changed or complemented.
The previous application of different diversity measurements was based on a single aca-
demic field, i.e. communication sciences, comparing two different points in time (current
situation vs. 20years ago). However, in this section, we apply said diversity measurement
to calibrate the diversity distance between two academic fields: communication and politi-
cal science. First, from a statistical point of view, different academic fields (i.e. academic
field “A” and academic field “B”) can be considered similar to an academic field in a par-
ticular year (i.e. 1997 or 2017). Therefore, this new scenario can be solved following previ-
ous indications, in particular those from RQ5 to RQ7. Indeed, when comparing two differ-
ent academic fields, we are interested in testing
H
0𝜇
(
d
A
G)
=𝜇
(
d
B
G)
, thus we use the test
statistic previously proposed:
Second, to test if there are statistically significant differences between each variable
diversity in Field A and Field B, the following test statistics are proposed:
In consequence, we compare these two different fields. Concerning paper selection for
Political Sciences, we chose the same analogous method that we used for communication,
leading to a proportional random sample of N = 329 papers (inter-rater reliability of 95%
Diff_field
=dA
G
dB
G
Diff_variable
(i)=d
A
Gi
d
B
Gi
,for i =1,
, 15.
0.0% 20.0%40.0% 60.0% 80.0% 100.0%
X8
X4
X14
X3
X11
X13
X5
X10
X15
X12
X6
X7
X1
X9
X2
field
2017 1997
Fig. 1 Diversity gaps between variables in 1997 and 2017
Scientometrics
1 3
and a kappa coefficient of 0.90). Regarding the diversity pattern, we compute the grounded
truth for all variables, except for first author origin/affiliation and first author gender, for
which we assume the true probability distributions given by IPSA (International Political
Science Association).
The distributions of the previous statistics under the null are computed from 20,000
bootstrap samples of sizes n1 = 329 and n2 = 283 (see Figure A7 in the Online Appendix for
a kernel estimation of the density function and TableA5 for the corresponding confidence
intervals). We can observe that both limits are positive, meaning that the field diversity for
Communication Sciences is closer to the diversity pattern (grounded truth or known/given
pattern) than for Political Sciences. Since both limits are positive (zero is not included
in the confidence interval), we conclude that there are statistically significant differences
between both academic fields.
Concerning variable diversity, Table 5 contains the corresponding confidence intervals
(see Figure A8 in the Online Appendix for the kernel density estimations). If we look at
99%-confidence intervals, we can see that the variables which show statistically significant
differences in their diversity between both fields are: First author origin/affiliation (X1),
First author ethnicity (X3), Form of collaboration (X6), Interdisciplinarity (X7), Methodolo-
gies (X9), Paradigms (X12), Content area (X13) and Theoretical framework (X15). In particu-
lar, Communication has more diversity than Political Sciences in First author origin/affili-
ation, First author ethnicity, Form of collaboration, Interdisciplinarity, Methodologies and
Theoretical Framework; whereas the contrary occurs in the Paradigms and Content area.
Finally, as we can observe in Fig.2, the diversity in Communication is greater than that
of Political Science in eight out of fifteen variables, although those differences were statis-
tically significant in only six of them.
Table 5 Confidence intervals
for Diff_variable statistic for
the comparison between two
academic fields
***Stands for st atistically significant
Category 99%-CI (bootstrap)
X10.0464 0.1918 ***
X2− 0.0645 0.0523
X30.0412 0.1874 ***
X4− 0.1269 0.0265
X5− 0.0567 0.0885
X60.0587 0.2036 ***
X70.0737 0.2204 ***
X8− 0.1558 0.0157
X90.0114 0.1619 ***
X10 − 0.1449 0.0020
X11 − 0.0153 0.1340
X12 − 0.1857 − 0.0387 ***
X13 − 0.1796 − 0.0322 ***
X14 − 0.1381 0.0038
X15 0.1004 0.2369 ***
Scientometrics
1 3
Discussion andconclusion
The goal of this study was to propose and test a methodological protocol to calibrate the
research diversity in a given scientific field. Specifically, we tested the mathematical fea-
sibility of our instrument within the fields of Communication and Political Sciences. This
study offers three inter-related contributions regarding this line of inquiry at different lev-
els of analysis: theoretical, methodological and empirical. First, we propose six theoreti-
cal definitions to empirically measure research diversity, describing their mathematical
and theoretical foundations in detail: grounded truth, known/given diversity, diversity of
a g-group of papers, g-group mean diversity, variable diversity and field diversity. While
extant research in ecology (Simpson’s Index by Magurran 1988), economics (Hirschmann-
index by Hirschmann 2018) and information sciences (Shannon index by Shannon 1948)
have provided different equations that may be applied to assess diversity in a myriad of
realms, our contribution extends these indices by designing ad hoc measurements to empir-
ically calibrate the potential and multiple dimensions of diversity in science. The 15 cat-
egories proposed are thus aimed to capture a detailed portrait of the field diversity in Com-
munication, also adding a temporal frame for longitudinal examination.
Second, we present and describe a research protocol for a step-by-step evaluation of how
the different measurements should be applied following standard procedures of data col-
lection and analysis. After proposing a research protocol and problematizing the potential
adaptation of our instrument to calibrate diversity in different academic fields, we empiri-
cally apply it to evaluate the state of communication, comparing the diversity state in 2017
with the situation twenty years ago. Our empirical evidences demonstrated that diversity
should be calibrated as a complex phenomenon and thus different dimensions must be con-
sidered. As a result, a given field may hold almost grounded truth diversity in one cat-
egory, while still lacking it in other variables, as our results demonstrate. In addition, as
contrasted with former cross-sectional research (Lauf 2005; Demeter 2018), a longitudinal
0.0% 20.0% 40.0%60.0% 80.0%100.0%
X4
X8
X14
X12
X11
X13
X10
X15
X3
X5
X9
X1
X7
X6
X2
field
Communicaon Sciences Polical Sciences
Fig. 2 Diversity gaps between variables in political sciences and communication sciences
Scientometrics
1 3
analysis adds a better understanding of the phenomena, addressing how different features
of research diversity may evolve during the course of the years, also signaling potential
diversity gaps that may exist in a given field.
In our analysis of the Communication Sciences field, we show that, comparing it to
grounded truth or given/known diversity, most variables and the field as a whole are not
statistically significant (i.e. are not diverse), suggesting that the discipline still has room
for improvement at its macro and micro levels of inclusiveness. In this regard, only the
variable “first author gender” is statistically significant, demonstrating that the knowledge
production of communication research, taking the ICA as baseline, is representative of its
members. The longitudinal analysis also shows that the field is improving its overall lev-
els of diversity throughout the years, as the research production in 2017 has a statistically
significant increase in diversity compared to that of 1997. Our results thus suggest that
most scientific stakeholders aim to create a more open space for communication research,
in which different diversity dimensions may harmoniously coexist. Finally, in order to
account empirically for cross-comparisons between scientific fields, our analysis applies
diversity measures to calibrate the diversity distance between two cousin fields: Communi-
cation and Political Sciences. Our findings show that Communication, compared to Politi-
cal Sciences, is a significantly more diverse field, especially in terms of first author origin,
ethnicity, interdisciplinarity and the methods employed.
In summary, the main purpose of our study is to systematize a general and generaliz-
able protocol for measuring diversity within different academic fields. Therefore, our main
ambition is to define a protocol that measures the diversity of a discipline in a multivari-
ate way, based on the information on their authors and the type and characteristics of the
research they carry out. Specifically, we measure the diversity of a discipline through the
analysis of a multivariate sample of articles published in JCR. For each of the variables of
interest, the distance to a reference standard or, in its absence, to the discrete uniform dis-
tribution (since we consider that a variable is more diverse the more balanced its probabil-
ity distribution) is calculated. Our protocol is assumed to be general enough to be applica-
ble to other disciplines.
This study has some limitations that should be addressed by future research. First, while
we aimed to be consistent with the categorization schema of former studies (Lauf 2005;
Demeter 2018), the geographical coding could be different, nuancing the final results. Sec-
ond, and most importantly, in order to establish our benchmark comparisons, we rely on
grounded truth when frequency distributions were unknown and on given/known diver-
sity when such data was potentially available (in our case from ICA or IPSA for gender
and geographical diversity). While our measurements work well and provide sound results
for comparisons (between years and across fields), as the benchmark is always the same
(although it is not perfect) for gauging the diversity of a given field in a given point of
time (i.e. 2017), results may change according to the benchmark of selection. A potential
solution to establish a more reliable benchmark for given/known diversity when studying
scientific fields in a given point of time is to content analyze a more open scientific ranking
(Scopus) and then adjust the frequencies for each variable to the data gathered from JCR
journals.
Raising the level of diversity in the global academy in general, and in communication
studies in particular, has been a topic of emerging interest in the last decades. The dis-
cussions concerning the internalization and diversification of the field are rife with both
empirical analyses (Lauf 2005; Demeter 2018; Toth 2018) and theoretical polemics (Wais-
bord and Mellado 2014; Waisbord 2019), while an inferential examination of research
diversity in Communication Studies has been missing. This article contributes to current
Scientometrics
1 3
discussions on research diversity by providing a mathematical apparatus and research pro-
tocol for diversity calibration, accounting for the inherent complexity and multidimension-
ality of the phenomenon and its potential adaptation to other fields. The mathematical defi-
nitions proposed could be of great interest for all academics and policymakers oriented to
grasp the complexity and evolution of diversity in science, and all those stakeholders who
want to establish a more inclusive and diverse global science.
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Aliations
ManuelGoyanes1,2 · MártonDemeter3 · AureaGrané4 ·
IreneAlbarrán‑Lozano4· HomeroGildeZúñiga2,5,6
Márton Demeter
demeter.marton@uni-nke.hu
Aurea Grané
aurea.grane@uc3m.es
Irene Albarrán-Lozano
ialbarra@est-econ.uc3m.es
Homero Gil de Zúñiga
hgz@usal.es
1 Department ofCommunication, Carlos III University, C/Madrid 133, Madrid, Spain
2 Democracy Research Unit (DRU), Political Science, University ofSalamanca, Salamanca, Spain
3 Department ofSocial Communication, National University ofPublic Service, Budapest, Hungary
4 Department ofStatistics, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
5 Department ofFilm Production andMedia Studies, Pennsylvania State University, StateCollege,
USA
6 Facultad de Comunicación y Letras, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile
... Thus, while our study is limited to the analysis of national diversity of communication journals, our results can contribute 3030 Marton Demeter et al. International Journal of Communication 16(2022) to a narrower discussion about the diversity and inclusiveness of the discipline (Goyanes, Demeter, Grané, Albarrán-Lozano, & Gil de Zúñiga, 2021). ...
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This study joins the emerging de-Westernization discourse within communication studies and empirically compares the diversity of Ibero-American, Western, and regional journals at three different levels: authorship, editorial board membership, and citations. Our findings show that through low geopolitical diversity and high regional shares in authorship, editorial board membership, and citations, the Ibero-American region uses its structural, linguistic, and cultural resources to offer an alternative universe to mainstream English-based communication research. The article argues that the process of trailblazing the pathways to de-Westernizing communication scholarship is best accomplished when it is actively led by peripheral regions.
... Variety is the number of different elements. This concept had a strong influence not only in ecology (e.g., Rousseau et al., 1999) but also in scientometrics (e.g., Goyanes et al., 2020;Rousseau, 2018;Wang, Thijs, & Glänzel, 2015). The idea of composing an indicator multiplicatively from several individual indicators is captivating and opens up many possibilities for analysis. ...
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Diversity is a central concept not only in ecology, but also in the social sciences and in bibliometrics. The discussion about an adequate measure of diversity is strongly driven by the work of Rao (Sankhyā Indian J Stat Series A 44:1-22, 1982) and Stirling (J R Soc Interface 4:707-719, 2007). It is to the credit of Leydesdorff (Scientometr 116:2113-2121, 2018) to have proposed a decisive improvement with regard to an inconsistency in the Rao-Sterling-diversity indicator that Rousseau (Scientometr 116:645-653, 2018) had pointed out. With recourse to Shannon's probabilistically based entropy concept, in this contribution the three components of diversity “variety”, “balance”, and “disparity” are to be reconceptualized as entropy masses that add up to an overall diversity indicator dive. Diversity can thus be interpreted as the degree of uncertainty or unpredictability. For "disparity", for example, the concept of mutual information is used. However, probabilities must be estimated statistically. A basic estimation strategy (cross tables) and a more sophisticated one (parametric statistical model) are presented. This overall probability-theoretical based concept is applied exemplarily to data on research output types of funded research projects in UK that were the subject of the Metric Tide Report (REF 2014) and ex-ante evaluation data of a research funding organization. As expected, research output types depend on the research area, with journal articles having the strongest individual balance among the output types, i.e., being represented in almost all research areas. For the ex-ante evaluation data of 1,221 funded projects the diversity components were statistically estimated. The overall diversity of the projects in terms of entropy is 55.5% of the maximal possible entropy.
... In order to answer our research question we coded the selection of the papers by the coding protocol used by Goyanes et al. (2020): . We have combined different geopolitical levels to present the data in a coherent and sensible manner, following previous studies (Demeter 2018b). ...
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