Keywords: social sciences and humanities, reliability and validity, case study.
The article focuses on the debate in the social sciences and the humanities
about the evaluation of research through bibliometric indicators.
Many scholars call into question the validity of bibliometric indicators
for social sciences and the reliability of the databases, but there are
few empirical studies that have sought to verify the real impact of this
state of things in the Italian context. After reviewing the national and international
debate, the case at the center of the analysis - an academic
department based in Milan - is introduced. A proposal for conceptualizing
scientific production is advanced and data sources and indicators
used to put this conceptualization into practice are described. Data analysis
aims to highlight the strengths and limitations of bibliometric indicators
for the social sciences, as well as to study the reliability and validity
of the proposed indices: simple analytical tools will be used to try
to maintain a balance with information capacity of the collected data
that is somewhat limited (since it is a local case). In conclusion it is argued
that the problem is not only the insufficient coverage of the literature
of social sciences from the available data sources, but also the inadequate
conceptualization of scientific production.