Research on Library and Information Science in Spain

Abadal, Ernest; Guallar, Javier (2020). “Research on Library and Information Science in Spain: diagnosis 2020”. Profesional de la información, v. 29, n. 4, e290444.

Spanish research in Documentation (or Library and Information Science, LIS) rose to prominence in the 1980s, in parallel with the creation of university programmes in LIS, and activity in this field continued to increase significantly until the year 2000. During this period, research in Documentation was oriented towards dissemination rather than innovation, its international impact was low, and it suffered from limited financial and human resources and a lack of methodological quality. In the first 20 years of the 21st century, research in this field has experienced an extraordinary level of growth and diversification, with the result that many of the problems mentioned above have been resolved.

This article presents a general overview of Documentation research in Spain over the last 20 years based on an analysis of five fundamental aspects: publications (articles and monographs), topics and methodologies, scientific journals, research projects, and doctoral theses. General descriptive data from public statistical sources are offered on each of these aspects, together with observations drawn from a bibliographic review.

Our conclusion is that the evolution of Spanish research in Documentation over the last 20 years has been very positive, due to a quantitative increase in activity (publications, theses, research projects, etc.) and a qualitative improvement in the use of research methods and techniques, as well as a diversification of research topics. However, there is room for improvement in the area of internationalisation (collaboration with foreign authors) and the presentation of international projects. There is also a risk that retirement of researchers and the absence of generational renewal of staff, especially at universities, may slow down this growth.