Book review

Last updated

A book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is merely described (summary review) or analyzed based on content, style, and merit. [1]


A book review may be a primary source, an opinion piece, a summary review, or a scholarly view. [2] Books can be reviewed for printed periodicals, magazines, and newspapers, as school work, or for book websites on the Internet. A book review's length may vary from a single paragraph to a substantial essay. Such a review may evaluate the book based on personal taste. Reviewers may use the occasion of a book review for an extended essay that can be closely or loosely related to the subject of the book, or to promulgate their ideas on the topic of a fiction or non-fiction work.

Some journals are devoted to book reviews, and reviews are indexed in databases such as Book Review Index and Kirkus Reviews ; but many more book reviews can be found in newspaper and scholarly databases such as Arts and Humanities Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index , and discipline-specific databases.


Photios I of Constantinople has been called "the inventor of the book review" for his work, Bibliotheca . [3]

Types of reviews

Academic reviews

Academic reviews are both a form of academic service and a contribution to the academic literature. [4] They are frequently published as a section or part of academic journals. [5] They help the profession understand what has been happening in their profession, and work on the emerging intellectual challenges of their field. [4] However, not all academics are incentivized to take on the work required in a book review, because they are often not rewarded for that work. [4] Book reviews can be used to predict which monographs are likely to have subsequent citations. [5]

Newspaper and magazine reviews

Newspaper reviews became prominent in the 18h century, as a form of reader responses [6]

In academic criticism, popular book reviews in newspapers and magazine reviews are often used to evaluate the relative audience and impact of books during a period. [7]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peer review</span> Evaluation of work by one or more people of similar competence to the producers of the work

Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work. It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field. Peer review methods are used to maintain quality standards, improve performance, and provide credibility. In academia, scholarly peer review is often used to determine an academic paper's suitability for publication. Peer review can be categorized by the type of activity and by the field or profession in which the activity occurs, e.g., medical peer review. It can also be used as a teaching tool to help students improve writing assignments.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Citation</span> Reference to a source

A citation is a reference to a source. More precisely, a citation is an abbreviated alphanumeric expression embedded in the body of an intellectual work that denotes an entry in the bibliographic references section of the work for the purpose of acknowledging the relevance of the works of others to the topic of discussion at the spot where the citation appears.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Academic publishing</span> Subfield of publishing distributing academic research and scholarship

Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published in academic journal articles, books or theses. The part of academic written output that is not formally published but merely printed up or posted on the Internet is often called "grey literature". Most scientific and scholarly journals, and many academic and scholarly books, though not all, are based on some form of peer review or editorial refereeing to qualify texts for publication. Peer review quality and selectivity standards vary greatly from journal to journal, publisher to publisher, and field to field.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Academic journal</span> Peer-reviewed scholarly periodical

An academic journal or scholarly journal is a periodical publication in which scholarship relating to a particular academic discipline is published. They serve as permanent and transparent forums for the presentation, scrutiny, and discussion of research. They nearly universally require peer review for research articles or other scrutiny from contemporaries competent and established in their respective fields.

A citation index is a kind of bibliographic index, an index of citations between publications, allowing the user to easily establish which later documents cite which earlier documents. A form of citation index is first found in 12th-century Hebrew religious literature. Legal citation indexes are found in the 18th century and were made popular by citators such as Shepard's Citations (1873). In 1961, Eugene Garfield's Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) introduced the first citation index for papers published in academic journals, first the Science Citation Index (SCI), and later the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI). American Chemical Society converted its printed Chemical Abstract Service into internet-accessible SciFinder in 2008. The first automated citation indexing was done by CiteSeer in 1997 and was patented. Other sources for such data include Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic, Elsevier's Scopus, and the National Institutes of Health's iCite.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bibliometrics</span> Statistical analysis of written publications

Bibliometrics is the application of statistical methods to the study of bibliographic data, especially in scientific and library and information science contexts, and is closely associated with scientometrics to the point that both fields largely overlap.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Derek J. de Solla Price</span> Physicist and science historian (1922–1983)

Derek John de Solla Price was a British physicist, historian of science, and information scientist. He was known for his investigation of the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient Greek planetary computer, and for quantitative studies on scientific publications, which led to his being described as the "Herald of scientometrics".

Scientometrics is a subfield of informetrics that studies quantitative aspects of scholarly literature. Major research issues include the measurement of the impact of research papers and academic journals, the understanding of scientific citations, and the use of such measurements in policy and management contexts. In practice there is a significant overlap between scientometrics and other scientific fields such as information systems, information science, science of science policy, sociology of science, and metascience. Critics have argued that overreliance on scientometrics has created a system of perverse incentives, producing a publish or perish environment that leads to low-quality research.

Citation analysis is the examination of the frequency, patterns, and graphs of citations in documents. It uses the directed graph of citations — links from one document to another document — to reveal properties of the documents. A typical aim would be to identify the most important documents in a collection. A classic example is that of the citations between academic articles and books. For another example, judges of law support their judgements by referring back to judgements made in earlier cases. An additional example is provided by patents which contain prior art, citation of earlier patents relevant to the current claim. The digitization of patent data and increasing computing power have led to a community of practice that uses these citation data to measure innovation attributes, trace knowledge flows, and map innovation networks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Google Scholar</span> Academic search service by Google

Google Scholar is a freely accessible web search engine that indexes the full text or metadata of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines. Released in beta in November 2004, the Google Scholar index includes peer-reviewed online academic journals and books, conference papers, theses and dissertations, preprints, abstracts, technical reports, and other scholarly literature, including court opinions and patents.

Citation impact or citation rate is a measure of how many times an academic journal article or book or author is cited by other articles, books or authors. Citation counts are interpreted as measures of the impact or influence of academic work and have given rise to the field of bibliometrics or scientometrics, specializing in the study of patterns of academic impact through citation analysis. The importance of journals can be measured by the average citation rate, the ratio of number of citations to number articles published within a given time period and in a given index, such as the journal impact factor or the citescore. It is used by academic institutions in decisions about academic tenure, promotion and hiring, and hence also used by authors in deciding which journal to publish in. Citation-like measures are also used in other fields that do ranking, such as Google's PageRank algorithm, software metrics, college and university rankings, and business performance indicators.

The h-index is an author-level metric that measures both the productivity and citation impact of the publications, initially used for an individual scientist or scholar. The h-index correlates with success indicators such as winning the Nobel Prize, being accepted for research fellowships and holding positions at top universities. The index is based on the set of the scientist's most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received in other publications. The index has more recently been applied to the productivity and impact of a scholarly journal as well as a group of scientists, such as a department or university or country. The index was suggested in 2005 by Jorge E. Hirsch, a physicist at UC San Diego, as a tool for determining theoretical physicists' relative quality and is sometimes called the Hirsch index or Hirsch number.

The Science Citation Index Expanded – previously titled Science Citation Index – is a citation index originally produced by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) and created by Eugene Garfield.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Social Sciences Citation Index</span> Citation index product of Clarivate Analytics

The Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) is a commercial citation index product of Clarivate Analytics. It was originally developed by the Institute for Scientific Information from the Science Citation Index. The Social Sciences Citation Index is a multidisciplinary index which indexes over 3,400 journals across 58 social science disciplines – 1985 to present, and it has 122 million cited references – 1900 to present. It also includes a range of 3,500 selected items from some of the world's finest scientific and technical journals. It has a range of useful search functions such as 'cited reference searching', searching by author, subject, or title. Whilst the Social Sciences Citation Index provides extensive support in bibliographic analytics and research, a number of academic scholars have expressed criticisms relating to ideological bias and its English-dominant publishing nature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nova Science Publishers</span> American academic publishing company

Nova Science Publishers is an academic publisher of books, encyclopedias, handbooks, e-books and journals, based in Hauppauge, New York. It was founded in 1985. Nova is included in Book Citation Index and scopus-indexed. A prolific publisher of books, Nova has received criticism from librarians for not always subjecting its publications to academic peer review and for republishing public domain book chapters and freely-accessible government publications at high prices.

Journal ranking is widely used in academic circles in the evaluation of an academic journal's impact and quality. Journal rankings are intended to reflect the place of a journal within its field, the relative difficulty of being published in that journal, and the prestige associated with it. They have been introduced as official research evaluation tools in several countries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Web of Science</span> Online subscription index of citations

The Web of Science is a paid-access platform that provides access to multiple databases that provide reference and citation data from academic journals, conference proceedings, and other documents in various academic disciplines. Until 1997, it was originally produced by the Institute for Scientific Information. It is currently owned by Clarivate.

Author-level metrics are citation metrics that measure the bibliometric impact of individual authors, researchers, academics, and scholars. Many metrics have been developed that take into account varying numbers of factors.

There are a number of approaches to ranking academic publishing groups and publishers. Rankings rely on subjective impressions by the scholarly community, on analyses of prize winners of scientific associations, discipline, a publisher's reputation, and its impact factor.


  1. Princeton (2011). "Book reviews". Scholarly definition document. Princeton. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  2. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (2011). "Book reviews". Scholarly definition document. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Archived from the original on September 10, 2011. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  3. Reynolds, L. D. and N.G. Wilson (1991). Scribes and Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature (3rd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 321. ISBN   0-19-872145-5.
  4. 1 2 3 Runnels, Curtis (January 1994). "Book Reviews". Journal of Field Archaeology. 21 (3): 357–390. doi:10.1179/009346994791547544. ISSN   0093-4690.
  5. 1 2 Gorraiz, Juan; Gumpenberger, Christian; Purnell, Philip J. (2014-02-01). "The power of book reviews: a simple and transparent enhancement approach for book citation indexes". Scientometrics. 98 (2): 841–852. doi:10.1007/s11192-013-1176-4. ISSN   1588-2861.
  6. Lavin, Matthew J. (2020-01-30). "Gender Dynamics and Critical Reception: A Study of Early 20th-century Book Reviews from The New York Times". Journal of Cultural Analytics. 5 (1). doi: 10.22148/001c.11831 .
  7. Lavin, Matthew J. (2020-01-30). "Gender Dynamics and Critical Reception: A Study of Early 20th-century Book Reviews from The New York Times". Journal of Cultural Analytics. 5 (1). doi: 10.22148/001c.11831 .

Further reading