Do social sciences and humanities behave like life and hard sciences?

The quantitative evaluation of Social Science and Humanities (SSH) and the investigation of the existing similarities between SSH and Life and Hard Sciences (LHS) represent the forefront of scientometrics research. We analyze the scientific production of the universe of Italian academic scholars, over a 10-year period across 2002–2012, from a national database built by the Italian National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes. Here we demonstrate that all Italian scholars of SSH and LHS are equals, as far as their publishing habits. They share the same general law, which is lognormal. At the same time, however, they are different, because we measured their scientific production with different indicators required by the Italian law; we eliminated the “silent” scholars and obtained different scaling values—proxy of their productivity rates. Our findings may be useful to further develop indirect quali–quantitative comparative analysis across heterogeneous disciplines and, more broadly, to investigate the generative mechanisms behind the observed empirical regularities.



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