Research Trends in Library and Information Science in Bangladesh: An Analytical Study

  • Islam, Md. Shariful (Department of Information Science and Library Management, University of Rajshahi) ;
  • Islam, Md. Nazmul (Department of Information Science and Library Management, University of Rajshahi) ;
  • Mondal, Madhob (Department of Information Science and Library Management, University of Rajshahi)
  • Received : 2018.01.29
  • Accepted : 2018.04.10
  • Published : 2018.06.30


The utmost intention of this work is to identify various field areas which are most prevalent in library and information science education. The study also denotes the rate of tendency on the rapid growth and development of research production among information specialists in Bangladesh. In order to carry out the study, an extensive literature review was carefully done to collect the basic elements of research patterns. It is noted that in the period of 1980-2016, 200 articles were published in library and information science by Bangladeshi researchers in 62 journals. In this article a total of 200 articles were reviewed. The result of the present study shows that the ratio of female authors had fewer contributions than male authors did. The majority of articles were published from the United Kingdom. The study also shows that the largest numbers of articles (19 papers, 9.50%) were published in the Social Science Journal of the University of Rajshahi from Bangladesh. The paper also shows that about 71.50% of papers have been cited while 28.50% of papers did not receive any citation. The present research might be helpful for revealing the country's research trends in library and information science. However, this study may also inspire development of a subject-based indigenous database and can act as an important device for research scholars.



Research in any field has its importance in showing the exact path for further development. Research always contributes to developing any disciplinary knowledge resource. It enriches a discipline with the ability to develop the knowledge created in other disciplines. In the context of library and information science (LIS) research, Tejomurthy and Kumar (1998) defined LIS research as the collection and analysis of original data on a problem of librarianship done within LIS institutions according to scientific and scholarly standards. Research is necessary to create new knowledge and contribute to the growth of LIS as a profession and discipline. LIS research contributes to the understanding of the information society and its development, enables professionals to relate more effectively to their working environment, provides practitioners with guidance, and promotes progress in the profession (McNicol & Nankivell, 2003, as cited in Kawalec, 2013). The concept of LIS research has gained popularity since many years ago throughout the 
world. A great deal of research has been published around the globe on various dimensions of this subject.

Davarpanah and Aslekia (2008) showed international LIS research trends based on 56 international LIS journals. Their study discussed the following subject areas: communication and information technology, computerized information storage and retrieval, and library use and users. In India, LIS researchers are highly interested in working on open access, Web 2.0, World Wide Web, and the Internet as new areas of research (Mittal, 2011). In Spain, researchers were highly interested in working in the areas of information retrieval, description of services, and studies of scientific communications. They preferred descriptive and discursive and empirical methods in conducting research (Cano, 1999). In another Spanish study, Kawalec (2013) showed Spanish research trends in LIS on the basis of academic publications issued between 2000 and 2010. Libraries, archives, and collections have also been important topics in Spanish LIS publications over the last decade. In Pakistan, researchers preferred “information treatment for information services” as the most favorite area of research, and single authorship was the most preferred form of authorship pattern (Naseer, 2013). Alemna (1996) analyzed that the major areas of LIS research in Africa were information technology, rural libraries, and the status/image of librarians. In Australia, empirical research was the most popular research strategy. Australian researchers preferred “library and information service activities,” “information seeking,” and “library history” as the most popular topic of research (Rochester, 2016).

LIS research in Bangladesh has gained much attention among researchers in the country (Jadab & Das, 2017). In Bangladesh, there are many scholars who have already been playing important roles in LIS research. At present in Bangladesh, there is no regular journal dedicated to LIS subjects. The Eastern Librarian (started in 1961) is the first professional and oldest library journal of Bangladesh, published by the Library Association of Bangladesh, and this journal is very much irregular. The Eastern librarian alone published 218 papers during 1966-1994 (Khan et al., 1998). Moreover, the Bangladesh Journal of Library and Information Science was published by the Department of Information Science and Library Management, University of Dhaka. Unfortunately, after having brought out two issues the journal did not continue to publish. As a result, library professionals in this country depend much more on foreign library and information-based journals and fewer indigenous non-LIS background journals to bring out their publications.



There are many studies conducted on the research of LIS throughout the world. The present researchers have identified some substantial research on this issue.

Jarvelin and Vakkari (1990) analyzed the content of the research of LIS. Their study tried to find out how international research in LIS is distributed over various topics and what approaches and methods have been used to investigate these topics. The study sample consisted of 833 articles published during 1985 in 37 core journals in 
LIS. They analyzed articles from the journals according to 11 variables covering their topic, approach, and method. Fifty-four percent of the articles were classified as research articles and 46% as professional articles (e.g., reviews, discussions, bibliographies, etc.). The proportion of library and information service activities, and information storage and retrieval, among the topics of the research articles were each nearly 30%. The proportion of empirical research methods was 56%, with survey method (22%) as the single most important method.

Calvert and Cullen (1996) carried out a study on “Research in library and information science in New Zealand.” They provided a brief overview of LIS research in New Zealand and discussed early difficulties in developing a research 
base in New Zealand. Abdoulaye (2002) conducted a research work entitled “Research trends in library and information science at the International Islamic University in Malaysia.” This study reveals research trends in the MLIS students’ theses at International Islamic University Malaysia. The study analyzed a total of 20 theses approved from 1994 to 2000 by the university. The study also shows that 
information technology (On-line Public Access Catalogue, CD‐ROMs, and the Internet) was the most popular research area (50%) among MLIS students, while none of the students explored the history of libraries, cataloguing and classification, indexing and abstracting, cooperation, or documentation. Rochester and Vakkari (2004) analyzed international and national trends in LIS research on the basis of journal articles. They described LIS research trends by comparing topic distribution, subtopics, approaches, and methods in national LIS studies in Scandinavia, followed by Australia, China, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. The comparison shows a variety of emphases in the investigation and trends in LIS research.

In a bibliometric analysis of LIS research in India, Patra and Chand (2006) analyzed 3,396 records listed in Library and Information Science Abstracts during the period from 1967 to 2004 and found that Herald of Library Science was the most prolific journal. In their study they listed authors who published 10 or more papers during 1967-2004. In another study, Patra and Chand (2009) conducted a comparative study on LIS research in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and Association of South East Asian Nations countries as reflected through Library and Information Science Abstracts. This study focused on the pattern of literature growth, core journals, authorship patterns, and LIS research trends. Their study identified that India was the leading country in terms of producing LIS research among South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries and Singapore was the foremost among Association of South East Asian Nations countries.

Ocholla and Ocholla (2007) conducted research in LIS in South Africa by analyzing journal research output published from 1993 to 2006. The findings of the research 
indicated that LIS researchers in South Africa largely published their research works in local journals (46.3%), in which the leading journals in terms of publishing the highest number of articles by South African researchers are South African Journal of Library and Information Science(25.1%), Mousaion (11.9%), and South African Journal of Information Management (9.3%). Haider and Mahmood (2007) studied a work on M.Phil. and Ph.D. theses in LIS in Pakistan. The ultimate mission of this study was to provide an insight to international readers into the perspective of doctoral-level research in Pakistan. The study depicts several hindrances or roblems that did not allow success in the doctoral programs in LIS, like lack of encouragement by senior researchers; low esteem for indigenous Ph.D. degrees in the eyes of fellow professionals; little or no impact of early recipients of the degree on the profession; and non￾availability of financial assistance to prospective candidates.

Gunasekera (2008) conducted a bibliometric study on 141 articles from the two LIS journals, namely Journal of University Librarian’s Association and the Sri Lanka Library Review during the period from 1997 to 2007. The paper also attempted to present an analysis of the authorship pattern, author productivity, prominent contributors, citation pattern, length of papers, and language and year wise distribution of articles in Sri Lanka. Rana (2011) studied research trends in LIS in India with a focus on Punjab University. He attempted to provide a comprehensive review of research works in the LIS discipline in India during 1957-2009 in order to identify the trends and patterns in doctoral research both at the national level and within the Department of Library and Information Science, Punjab University. The study reveals that most articles (94%) are carried out by a single author. The study also shows that English is the most widely used language. Basically, it is inferred that the average citations per article was 9 while the average length of articles was 12 pages.

Mittal (2011) carried out a study on trends in LIS research. He analyzed 1,408 papers published in the period of 1990-2010 in India. His study was limited to journal articles published by Indian researchers in the English language only. Kawalec (2013) examined Spanish LIS research trends on the basis of academic publications that were published between 2000 and 2010. The study identified eleven topic groups of LIS research. The biggest group was information sources, support, and channels, representing 24% of the total publications. There were three other equally large topic groups, representing 13% of the total publication materials each. These were information treatment for information service; industry, profession, and education; and information use and the sociology of information.

Singh and Chander (2014) conducted a bibliometric study on 336 journal articles in LIS to explore the tendency of research publications. The study was conducted during the period of 2006-2012 on research articles published in the online journal Library Management. The results indicated that the majority of contributions by single authors and most cited documents are journal articles. The study highlights the chronological distribution of articles, authorship pattern, geographical distribution of authors, institution wise distribution, citation pattern, and length of articles. Maharana and Das (2014) conducted work on the growth and development of LIS research in India during 1999-2013. They analyzed the growth and development of LIS research carried out by Indian researchers based on the 
publications indexed in Social Science Citation Index. It was found that the annual publications of Indian researchers range from 9 to 10 papers with 0.64 degrees of collaboration. The most papers were published within the range between 6 to 10 pages and the majority of the publications were articles (125, 89.29%).

Jamali, Mansourian, and Alijani (2015) conducted research on LIS research in Iran. This study showed the authorship flow in Iranian articles in the field of LIS. In this study, they included articles published between 1991 and 2014 in 11 Persian LIS journals. They further showed that the publication expectation was 4.1 articles per person, and 60% of contributing authors in that study were male. In a recent study, Ali and Richardson (2016) conducted a bibliometric analysis of LIS research in Pakistan. This study analyzed the key attributes of articles published by Pakistani 
LIS scholars in national journals. In their study, a total of 104 respondents provided feedback on areas such as the number of articles published, number of citations, and the nature of any collaboration with other authors.

In Bangladesh we found only three publications on LIS research. The first one was conducted in 1998. Khan et al. (1998) conducted a bibliometric study on LIS literature in Bangladesh. The study presented the results of statistical analysis of the papers on various aspects of LIS emanating from Bangladesh during 1966-1997. The analysis was based on a list of papers compiled to show the growth and size of the LIS literature in Bangladesh, patterns of their distribution by subjects within the field of librarianship, characteristics of the contributing periodicals, the language of publication, authorship patterns, and geographic distribution of the periodicals. The study showed that during 1966-1997, a total of 308 articles by 116 library professionals were published in various periodicals with the highest number (256, 83.11%) in Bangladesh, followed by India (21, 6.82%). The second 
article was published in 2016. Islam (2016) analyzed LIS literature published in a single periodical named Social Science Journal, published under the faculty of social science in Rajshahi University, Bangladesh during the period of 1996-2013. Among 187 articles by 238 authors published in Social Science Journal, 21 articles by 28 authors were identified as LIS literature, and these were given bibliometric treatment. Solo research dominated above collaborating authors. Systematic review and survey research were the most preferred research techniques by LIS researchers. The third article was conducted by Jadab and Das (2017) on “Doctoral research in library and information science in Bangladesh: An analysis on trends and development.” They examined the trends and developments in doctoral research of LIS in Bangladesh. The result of this study showed that a total of 17 doctoral degrees in LIS were awarded in the field of LIS in University of Dhaka starting from the year 1985 to 2014. The subject area “library and information systems and services” is in the leading position in research activity among Ph.D. researchers during the period of study. In addition to traditional areas like public library systems, cataloguing, library education, library marketing, information seeking behavior, library networking, service quality, and so on are in leading positions in research activity.

It is evident from the above review that few studies explored results based only on unpublished theses papers such as those for M.Phil. and Ph.D degrees. Several works were presented as the reviews of journal articles only. Combinations of all types of research publications are not shown in any paper.



The objectives of the current study are as follows:

i. To identify the growth and development of LIS literature published by Bangladeshi researchers;

ii. To trace out the trends in LIS research publications in Bangladesh; and

iii. To give bibliometric treatment of LIS research publications published by Bangladeshi researchers.



The study was carried out to review journal articles published by the faculty members of the department of information science and library management of two universities, namely Dhaka University and Rajshahi University, Bangladesh. A set of questions were constructed to get data from reviewed papers. An informal interview was conducted for further explanation of data gathered from the self-structured questions. The study tried to find out several answers such as number of contributions, number of authors, number of references, length of pages, geographical distribution, and so on. All the collected data have been precisely analyzed and scrutinized with the help of modern statistical methods and presented in tabular and graphical form, and explained in theoretical form.


Table 1. Status of journals’ involvement



5.1. Growth and Development of LIS Literature by Bangladeshi Researchers

Table 1 depicts the list of journals together with the number of articles categorized by the research scholars of two universities in Bangladesh, Rajshahi University and Dhaka University. It is noted that in the period of 1980-2016, 200 articles were published by Bangladeshi researchers in 62 journals. Based on productivity, the journal rank has been organized in ascending order.

It is inferred that the highest number of articles (19) was published in Social Science Journal, which is at number one in ranking. Social Science Journal is a Bangladeshi journal which is brought out under the faculty of social science, Rajshahi University. The second and third in order, respectively, are Library Philosophy and Practice and
Malaysian Journal of Library and Information Science; these two journals published 11 (5.50%) and 10 (5.00%) of papers by Bangladeshi researchers, respectively.


5.2. Decade-wise Publications

Table 2 reveals that during the period from 2010 to 2016, the highest number of LIS publications (60%) was published. On the other hand, 1990-1999 was the least productive decade, in terms of publishing the lowest number of articles during that period.


Table 2. Decade-wise publications


Table 3. Gender-wise distribution of publications


Table 4. Medium-wise publications


5.3. Gender-wise Distributions of the Publications

The trend in conducting LIS research by female researchers is slower than by male esearchers. Table 3 depicts that the total number of publications by male researchers is 159 with a percentage of 79.50% of total publication. On the other hand, the percentage rate of female researchers’ publications is only 4%.


5.4. Medium-wise Publications

It is demonstrated from Table 4 that most researchers in Bangladesh preferred online journals (41.50%) to publish their research articles in most of the cases.


5.5. Subfield-wise Publications

The highest number of works (16%) was published in the field of digital libraries (Table 5). The second and third most interested fields of research chosen by the researchers of Bangladesh were knowledge management (14%) and information technology (12%).


Table 5. Subfield-wise publications


Fig. 1. Geographical distribution of journals.


Table 6. Type of research approach


Table 7. Method-wise research


Table 8. Techniques of data collection


5.6. Geographical Distribution of Journals

The geographic distribution of the journal articles is shown in Fig. 1. Most of the publications (56; 28%) under the study were published from the United Kingdom. The second highest number of articles (43; 21.50%) was published from Bangladesh, followed by India (32, 16%), also followed by the United States of America (25; 

5.7. Research Approach in LIS Publications

About 60% of research was quantitative research while about 20% research was a mixed type of research (Table 6). 


5.8. Research Methods Used by the LIS Researchers

Various research methods were applied by Bangladeshi LIS researchers in their research articles for achieving particular target goals. Table 7 depicts that the most used research methods among researchers in Bangladesh were survey method (44%) and conceptual research method (27%). 

5.9. Techniques of Data Collection 

Table 8 depicts that the most popular technique of data collection is questionnaires (47%). Other popular tools for data collection are interviews (22%), observation (5%), and focused group discussion (6%). As data collection tool questionnaires, interview and observation techniques were used altogether in 5.50% of articles.


5.10. Authorship Pattern

It can be observed from Table 9 that a majority of publications were published by collaborative authorship (41.50%), while a mentionable amount of literature published in LIS was by single authorship (34%).


5.11. Productivity per Author

Table 10 shows that 28 scholars had published 200 research publications. The productivity per author (PPA) is 7.14, which means every author produced more than 7 articles during the study period.


Table 9. Authorship pattern


Table 10. Productivity per author


Table 11. Length of articles


Table 12. Citation analysis


5.12. Length of Articles

Table 11 exhibits the pagination pattern of the research articles. The majority of the articles (32.50%) had page lengths between 11 to 15 pages. There were very few articles above 26 pages (1%).

 5.13. Citation Analysis

Table 12 depicts that based on Google Scholar citation results, 71.50% of papers were cited (up to June 10, 2016) and 28.50% of papers were not cited by other papers. Articles published in the area of “knowledge management” were cited to a larger extent than other areas.



The present study attempted to analyze research productivity in the area of LIS which is based on two prominent public universities (Dhaka and Rajshahi University) for the period of 1980-2016.


6.1. Growth and Development of LIS Literature Published by Bangladeshi Researchers

During the period under study, the decade 2010-2016 was the most productive decade in terms of the maximum number of publications published within a single decade. During that time a total of 120 articles were published. It is interesting to note that the highest number of articles (19) was published in a journal of Bangladesh named Social Science Journal, which is followed by Library Philosophy and Practice and Malaysian Journal of Library and Information Science. Male researchers dominate over female researchers in publishing articles. The e-journal is the most preferred medium of publication by Bangladeshi researchers. 


6.2. LIS Research Trends

The most preferred field of study was “digital libraries.” A maximum number of articles were quantitative research by research type. The survey type of work is the most popular research method and the questionnaire is a favorite tool of data collection among research scholars in Bangladeshi. 


6.3. Bibliometric Treatment of LIS Publications by 

Bangladeshi ResearchersThe collaborative working trend is stronger than single authorship. In publishing research articles, double authors dominated over other types of authorship. Moreover, Bangladeshi researchers have collaborated with researchers from a few foreign countries, including England and the USA. Most of the articles were published in the UK, according to the country-wise distribution of research output. The PPA is 7.14. The average page length is from 11 to 15 and a maximum number of papers were cited by others.



The present study reveals various aspects of LIS research output published during the period of 1980-2016, i.e., growth and development of LIS literature by Bangladeshi researchers, subfield-wise publications, place of publication, research approaches in LIS publications, research methods used by LIS researchers, techniques of data collection, authorship pattern, PPA, length of articles, citation analysis, and so on. This is very much similar to the research of Calvert and Cullen (1996), Kawalec (2013), Gunasekera (2008), Patra and Chand (2009), Mittal (2011), Rana (2011), Singh and Chander (2014), and Ali and Richardson (2016). 

In conducting this research we have faced difficulty in locating all of the LIS research articles published by Bangladeshi researchers because of the absence of a 
comprehensive list of published materials and their non-availability in one particular place. The same view was expressed by Khan et al. (1998). The LIS researchers of 
Bangladesh expect a comprehensive list, covering all LIS publications, which should be compiled and published for wider dissemination. There is a need to increase LIS research in new and emerging areas. Special emphasis on the impact of information and communications technologies, open access, scientometrics, digitization, interdisciplinary, and technology-based research can also be given priority for strengthening LIS research. 

To understand Bangladeshi LIS research output’s strengths and weaknesses, a comparative study of LIS research output with the researchers of India, Pakistan, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, UK, USA, and Australia needs to be explored. To have a global presence, researchers in Bangladesh need to communicate their research findings in citation index-covered international journals. In addition, the two national bodies of library professionals, i.e., the Library Association of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Association of Librarians, Information Scientists, and Documentalists should form a national committee to promote research activities in LIS in Bangladesh (Jadab & Das, 2017). The University Grants Commission should provide funding for publishing LIS research results and participating in international conferences. It is a matter of hope that the national accreditation council has already been formed by the parliament of Bangladesh. The researchers desire that the quality of LIS education and research will obviously be uplifted for accreditation of LIS education in the universities and institutions of Bangladesh.


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