Running faster or measuring better? How is the R&D sector in Central and Eastern Europe catching up with Western Europe?
This paper explores the development of the science sector in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries and convergence with ‘old’ European Union countries. The aim is to better understand the observed development processes in the science sector in CEE by the use of data concerning research outcomes in the form of articles indexed in the Web of Science (WoS) database. The Authors put forward the hypothesis that changes in the list of journals, particularly in the number of periodicals published in specific CEE countries, have a significant impact on bibliometric indicators and, consequently, on the convergence levels they are used to measure.
The analyses presented in the article support the argument that countries from Central and Eastern Europe, despite showing fairly consistent convergence trends, achieve noticeably weaker results than Western Europe in terms of research and development and scientific activity. The evident impact made by inclusion of numerous CEE journals in WoS on the values of the indicator analysed, directly supports the hypothesis put forward in this article. The results of the study are important because data on the number of publications and citations in the Web of Science are increasingly used as development indicators of national R&D sectors. By showing how modifications in these databases influence the results obtained, we can better understand and thus make better use of data from these sources. The article concludes with listing the possibilities for furthering and deepening selected themes pointed out in the paper.