How Influential is Geographic Information Science?

GIScience 2012, Columbus, Ohio, 18-21 September 2012

Thomas Blaschke and Clemens Eisank

“GIScientists find themselves sometimes in a somewhat defending role when to position Geographic Information Science. Kemp et al. (2012) state that researchers in this field often find it difficult to argue in established disciplines like Geography, Statistics, or Computer Science. Kemp et al. diagnose reasons for this to include problems of a narrow focus on indices like Thomson-Reuters’ for use in assessment metrics, the relative importance of conferences versus journals, or different criteria used in geography and computer science (as well as other fields, such as statistics or economics), or the highly variable meaning of “strong impact factors” across fields, and so on (Kemp et al. 2012: 268).

“Reitsma (2012) argued that GIScience may be considered as a science if using similar criteria as Stamos (2007), namely simplicity, predictive accuracy, coherence with known facts and testability and pleads not for just a yes or no classification, but for some kind of degree classification. What distinguishes GIScience from man other sciences is the fact that GIScientists study the representation of the world and not the world in concrete. For this knowledge and principles from other disciplines are needed and used (Reitsma 2012:9). Following this line of arguments one may reason that GIScience exists in symbiosis with other disciplines and can hardly exist without them. This could be one reason why it is still in the process of self-justification. Nevertheless, in this short article, we will avoid to discuss whether or not GIScience is a science or a discipline and if it is scientific at all. Rather, we try to analyse in an unbiased and neutral way how well GIScience is reflected in the literate. We are well aware of the limitations of this approach. We of course reduce a positive hit as a “citations” if a search term is found in the title or keywords of a particular database. This will produce quite a high number of errors of omission and – less often – errors of commission: we – as many other studies which analyse publications and the number of their citations in other publications – hypothesize that an entry is a confirmation of its contents.”