Over the last 350 years, journal publication has been the predominant forum for disseminating scholarly knowledge. Being primary micro document, journals feature nascent thoughts of vanguard’s tacit knowledge the peer community. Besides publishing issues at regular frequencies, publishing authorities of scholarly journals, often stipulates some ‘topics of current interest’ and invites for relevant communications focusing on that ‘specific theme’. Journal issues - dedicating to a particular contemporary topic to highlight emerging areas of cutting-edge research, generally perceived as ‘special issues’ Besides collocating papers focusing on specific theme, special issues often provides opportunity to review the existing theme, examine previously unfolded aspects, propose and develop new approaches, exchange perspectives and encourage new lines of research.[3,4] Emerald  opines that special issues bring together a range of contributions on a given theme and allow for extensive treatment of a topic which is generally impossible within the normal scope of the journal. Besides, boosting readership, citation and subscriptions to journal, special issues often stimulates innovations and encourage new authors.
Journal special issues emanate from variety of aspirations with diverse manifestations. Typical instigation of special issue arises from invitations by the Editor; others have been proposed by scholars seeking to publish conferences or symposia. Some other special issues have originate from researcher’s quest towards relatively less explored areas ; while some others have proliferated to address issues that already explored in other fields but have yet to focus on concerned specialty. Typically, journal special issues comprises of papers dealing with scholarly articles introducing innovative technology, successful implementation of emerging techniques, critical reviews, case studies by leading researchers, subject experts. Special issues, sometime review established topics in new perspectives with more vigorous dataset. A retrospective collection of papers issued supplementary to regular volumes, sometimes published as Special Issues. However, inspite of their scholarly nature, sometimes scientific impact and quality of special issues was under question. But studies [8,9,10] have shown rationale worthiness and proliferation of special issues across disciplines, Moreover, publishing experience of special issues, sometimes lead to emergence of new dedicated journals of the specialty.
Operational Hypotheses: Journal Special Issues and Authorship Dilemma
Owing to fidelity towards ‘specific theme of research’, special issues invariably solicit communications within declared scope of journal. Therefore, in one sense, special issues are restrictive in ‘topics of investigation’ which might lead to affect authorship attributes. We could assume two classes of authors on account of different approach towards publishing of special issues.
Reportedly, special issue stipulates a ‘theme of research’, thereby allows only limited set of researcher (commonly vanguards) to serve as author. Moreover, the guest editor (acts as the central player of SI publication), the reviewers (validates the research thereon) and the authors (creator of communication) from an ‘insular network of researcher’ having analogous research interest. Eventually, authors who publish in the special issues often come from the same set of ‘semantic network’. Therefore it is more likely, that communications of special issues are dominated by renowned and eminent authors who are also well-published. Thus we would expect lesser diversity of authorship in journal special issue publications.
On the other hand, one of the main functions of special issues is to act as the ‘vanguards of knowledge’ which curve a path towards new topics. This in turn, might lead to open possibilities for ‘newer set of researcher’ to communicate ‘newer aspects of research’ through their innovative communications which otherwise remains unexplored. From this perspective, one would speculate array of debutante authors (with lesser exposure) for special issue communications – which might introduce greater diversity into ‘insular network of researcher’. Thus, from intrinsic nature of special issues we could identify two contrasting aspects regarding nature of authorship; one is suggesting dominance of eminent and veteran authors with lesser diversity, whereas the other proposes for greater diversity with new or debutante authors.
SCOPE AND OBJECTIVES
Ongoing discussion has fixated two contradicting issues regarding ‘nature of authorship’ of special issues. To address this speculation in the field of LIS, we examine the journal articles featured under special issues on DESIDOC Journal of Library and Information Science (DJLIT). Noteworthy is the fact that, within DJLIT Special Issues, there are some scholarly articles which by any means as good as special issue articles, but not featured under special issues by the journal authority. Therefore, these general articles are not taken into our study. Moreover, Guest editorials of special issues are excluded from the analysis since these are mostly meant for introduction of the special issues.
Main objective of this analysis is to identify the ‘diversity of authorship’ with regards to number, pattern, seniority, professional rank, affiliation, geographical location and nature of collaboration. To gauge authorship diversity, bibliographic profile of contributors over the author’s position in the byline of publications is explored from DJLIT special issue publications up to December 2016. However, specific objectives are:
To explore and analyses the authorship profiles of DJLIT special issues;
To determine the pattern of authorship and collaboration among contributing authors;
To deduce the degree of collaboration, collaborative index among the authors;
To enumerate ranking of prolific authors and their affiliated institutions :
To identify the geographical and institutional diversity of special issue contributors;
To ear-mark other aspects of authorship to assess the inclusiveness criterion.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Authorship has been key attribute of biblimetric analysis, ever since the inception of metric-based studies. Consequently, significant number of studies has been conducted in different dimensions to analyze and interpret authorship attributes across disciplines. As far as LIS is concerned, Brissett  provided the historical perspective of authorship studies and observed that earlier authorship studies [15,16,17,18] were mostly confined to examine authorship elements like gender, occupation and geographic locations. Findings showed dominance of male LIS practitioners (librarians, faculty and administrators).
So far as DJLIT is concerned, author has identified large array [19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27] of bibliometric studies. Longitudinal review of literature has revealed the fact that - studies are mostly dealing with content analysis of DJLIT over certain period of time. Sometimes studies are even overlapping in scope, objectives and time lines. Of which, Kumar, Bansal & Kanungo  have portrayed the genesis and sustainable growth of DJLIT towards embracing contemporary IT tools by the LIS community. Therefore, in view of above, it might be difficult to fathom out need for ‘another study’ on DJLIT. But, inspite of so many studies, no studies have ventured exclusively on the Special Issues (based on contemporary themes supposed to be emphasized on). Present study, therefore uniquely and exclusively attempt to concentrate on the articles that are published under the banner of Special Issues on the DJLIT to reveal its uniqueness with regards to authors’ inclusiveness dilemma!
Keeping in view of the aforesaid objectives, primary data for the study has been retrieved from the DJLIT website. For data collection, bibliometric scrutiny method is mostly employed. Articles published in the special issues of DJLIT are earmarked and bibliographic data of individual articles were transcribes accurately. In order to identify the authorship parameters, each special issues articles of DJLIT were scanned. Complete scrutinizing (up to December 2016) has yielded 346 scholarly articles distributed over 59 special issues in 20 (twenty) volumes - which are analyzed to test the hypotheses. Relevant bibliographic elements of individual article like - year and contributor/s name, professional affiliations/ ranks, departmental designation, collaboration types, etc. were recorded in MS Excel spread sheet and subsequently analyzed for making insightful observations and interpretations. Gender of individual contributor was determined by considering the first name. If the first name could not be attributed to either gender, the information provided in the ‘about the author’ section of the source article, is consulted. In some cases gender was ascertained by conducting an ‘image search’. Author’s occupation was determined by analyzing the affiliations provided with each article. This was further confirmed by consulting the ‘about the author’ section provided at the end of each article. However, in few articles, author’s affiliations were not mentioned, in such cases - authors affiliations available in other articles of DJLIT is considered. Rank lists of prolific contributors and their affiliated institutions have been prepared based on the fractional counting method and normal counting method respectively.Research collaboration among the scholars has been assessed in terms of proportion of non-collaborative to collaborative papers. Extent of collaboration are further estimated in the form of ‘degree of collaboration’ (DC) and ‘collaborative index’ (CI) using Subramanyan’s formula  and Lawani’s formula  respectively. Thus, systematic analysis of collected data has been worked out in different dimensions using simple mathematical and statistical techniques.
ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION
Analysis of collected data is carried out using simple mathematical operations so as to test the operational hypothesis regarding aspects of authorship with respect to inclusiveness. These have been categorized into range of tables and presented in subsequent paragraphs.
General Status of DJLIT Special Issue articles
DJLIT has long tradition of featuring special issues on contemporary theme of emerging areas of information technology applicable to library and information science. It has published the first special issue during September 1992 under the auspices of birth centenary of Dr S R Ranganathan. Table 1 represents descriptive statistics about DJLIT special issues published during the course of 25 years (1992 – 2016). Tabulation shows, DJLIT has released as many as 59 special issues containing 346 scholarly articles distributed over 20 volumes. The journal, on an average has been publishing 2.36 special issues per year. Therefore, publishing frequency of special issue is quite consistent, though during 1993 to 1994 and 2004 to 2006 no special has been featured. Figure 1 shows the time line of DJLIT special issue publications. Analysis of authorship data shows that 346 special issue articles of DJLIT are contributed by 434 unique authors of which 326 (75%) are male and rest of 108 are female authors. Analysis of authorship pattern shows that 434 authors have made 556 appearances in different authorship positions of 346 communications. Majority (57.8%) of special issue articles are single-authored followed by double-authored (29%) and triple-authored (8%). Average author per paper varies inconsistently from 1 to 2.33 with a mean of 1.61. Table (1A) shows chronological variations of authorship pattern of DJLIT special issues.
|Publication Year||1992 to 2016||25 Years|
|Volume of Coverage||Vol 12 to Vol 36||20 Volumes #|
|No of Special issues Covered||59|
|Average Special Issues/year||2.36|
|No of Country involved||24|
|Total no of Papers||346|
|Total author occurances||556|
|Male author occurences||424||76.25%|
|Female author occurances||132||23.74%|
|No of Unique male authors||326||75.12%|
|No of unique female authors||108||24.88%|
|No of Senior authors||335||77.18%|
|No of Junior authors||83||19.12%|
|Authors having PhD(295)|
|Unique authors having PhD||228||52.54%|
|Male authors having PhD||184||42.40%|
|Female authors having PhD||44||10.14%|
|Country of Authors|
Coauthoring Pattern of DJLIT Special Issue
Research collaboration is the mark of 20th century academia, mostly viewed as an attitude towards linking distributed knowledge and competencies into novel ideas so as to improve the quality of research. Conventionally, collaborative activity is often been estimated from the measure of multi-authored or co-authored publications. Table 2 reflects that out of 346 special issue articles, majority 200 (58%) are singled authored - therefore non-collaborative; while rest of 146 (42%) are collaborative. Further analysis shows that, out of 146 collaborative articles, only 22(6.36%) are purely foreign contributions (having no Indian authors) and majority 116(33.53%) belongs to domestic contributions (i.e. collaboration within Indian authors) while international collaborative article (i.e. Indian authors collaborating with foreign counterparts) are only 8(2.31%). Further analysis of collaborative publications in the byline of order of authorship, reveal the fact that majority of (54%) collaboration occurs between senior authors (in terms of age and professional rank), followed by collaboration between senior and junior authors (21%), junior and senior authors (19%) and junior and junior authors (5%). Findings suggest that senior authors are more likely to appear at the first position in the byline of special issue publications of DJLIT, which some way reinforce the first proposition of our hypotheses. However, finding seems to contradict with the general trends of order of authorship in collaborative research - where seniors authors (normally supervisor of the research) comes at the last position (viz. senior signing pattern).
In depth analysis of non-collaborative articles (Appendix – 1) reflects that, about 46 %( 159) contributions are from India while only 41(11.85%) are foreign contributions of which USA (16) and UK (8) predominates. Moreover, vast majority (166) of contributions are from senior authors, while only 27(7.80%) are contributed by authors of junior profiles. Table also reflects that during the study period, degree of collaboration varies inconsistently within 0.66 with a nominal average of 0.42. Another proxy measure of research collaboration - collaborative index was not also significant, as average CI is found to be 2.44. Figure 2 shows chronological variations of DC and CC over the study period. From above analysis, it is found that collaborative research is still not popular practice in case of DJLIT special issues. However, dominance solo research could be an indication of less author-inclusiveness in case of DJLIT special issues. Little surprisingly, findings are consistent with previous studies in LIS arena.
Appendix - 2
Ranking of Prolific Authors
Table 3 enumerates ranking of contributing authors of special issues of DJLT based on weighted values of total contributions. Ranking of authors have been estimated employing ‘fractional counting method’ to produce distinctive listing of contributors so as to remove anonymous ranking. It is observed that 346 special issue articles of DJLIT are contributed by 434 unique authors in different authorship positions. Of which, only 49(11%) authors have weight > 1 whereas majority authors 257 (59 %) have weight <1. Result signifies that, share of productive authors (in terms of weighted contribution) is quite small in the total author base. However, top ranks were dominated by eminent senior LIS professionals like C K Ramiah, M P Satija, B. M. Gupta, S.M. Dhawan, N.V. Sathyanarayana, V K Gupta, Sujit Bhattacharya, Pratibha A. Gokhale, A. Amudhavalli and Gangan Prathap. Though there is handful of young and debutant authors like Smita Chandra, Bharat Kumar, G. Mahesh, Alka Bansal, D.R. Patel, Dipti Arora. Finding implies that, among large set of author population, only small portion contribute significantly in special issue publications. Interestingly, many of prolific authors of special issues also emerged as significant authors found in recent study  on DJLIT.
It is therefore, evident from the analysis that, DJLIT specialsdominance of Indian contribution in the sues are predominantly authored by senior and eminent LIS professionals thereby supports the proposition that special issues are lesser authors inclusive. However, in the rank list (particularly in lower positions) individual author names and authorship distribution of contributors belongs in the same rank were not mentions to avoid longer listing. Unsurprisingly, most of the productive contributors are associated with LIS departments of University and research institutions.
Authors’ Profile Analysis
Table 4 depicts professional profiles of the contributing authors of DJLIT special issue. For the purpose, we consider ‘the-then affiliations and positions’ of the authors - as reflected in the respective source article. Analysis shows that - DJLIT special issues are authored by peoples of varied professions ranks ranging from veteran scientists, emeritus Professors, distinguished LIS practitioners, Government advisors, Ex-President of India (Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam), practicing lawyer, freelancer to younger research scholars and university students. Result shows that vast majority (80%) of authors are holding the senior positions like – directors of organizations (9%), headship and in-charge of academic departments or divisions (5.5%), managers of systems and units besides significant numbers of processors (12%) of different academic disciplines (including LIS) and working librarians(17%). It is also clear from the table that the ‘teaching academicians’ as single community is the leading contributors (30%) of DJLIT special issues which includes Professors (54), Lecturers (24), Associate Professors (22), Assistant Professors (20), Readers (6) and Teachers (4). However, inspite of best efforts, designation / positions of few authors were not ascertained from the source articles. Another significant fact is that about 52% (228 in numbers) of authors having PhD. Thus, predominance of author representation from senior academia and professional practitioner (including LIS) is fairly consistence throughout the DJLIT special issue publications. Therefore, we can conclude that academia and working professionals is the main author base of DJLIT special issues of which senior rank holders are clearly predominating.
Geographical Diversity of DJLIT Special Issue Authors
Our analysis of the authors’ affiliations revealed that DJLIT special issues are contributed from 24 countries across the globe (Table-5). Country names of the contributors have been identified from the corresponding affiliations as found in respective special issue publications. Rank list of affiliated countries is prepared on the basis of decreasing number of affiliations from the countries. Unsurprisingly, India contributed 328 (75.58%) the most, followed by USA (7.14%), Greece (3.23%), Singapore (2.53%) and UK (1.61%). Result identifies author representation from 24 countries across 6 continents (except Antarctica). However, it is perhaps little surprising the dominance of Indian contribution in the DJLIT special issues, as the Journal was created and established in India with Indian editors.
Table 5A shows regional distribution of DJLIT special issue authors among different states & union territories of India. Expectedly, New Delhi shares about 31% of total Indian contribution is on the top of the list, followed by Karnataka (16%), Maharastra (13%), Andhra Pradesh (10%)and Uttar Pradesh(6%). Though there are 24 regions found in the list, first five federal states cover more than 76% of Indian contributors, indicating high concentration of DJLIT special issue authors. However, findings of geographical confinement of DJLIT authors around New Delhi is also found previous studies. Therefore, study reflects that DJLIT special issue contributors are unevenly distributed around India.
Institutional Affiliation of DJLIT Special Issue Authors
Table 6 depicts the distribution of DJLIT special issue authors ‘the then’ institutional affiliations’ as appeared in the respective source articles. Rank list of affiliated institutions of the contributors has been prepared based on the aggregated value of the contributions from respective institutions. Analysis shows that 434 contributing authors of DJLIT special issues were affiliated to 243 different institutions across the globe. Therefore, on an average, these institutions contribute 1.79 authors. It is observed from the table that, the top seven positions (having ≥ 5 contributions) are occupied by 17 institutions, of which only two institutions are from abroad (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and Virginia Tech, USA). Therefore, majority (225) of institutions of the list have contributed nominally (>1% authors). Expectedly, DESIDOC, New Delhi has appeared on the top; followed DRTC, Bangalore; University of Delhi, Dept of LIS; NISTADS - CSIR, New Delhi; DRDO Laboratories, Hyderabad and BARC- Scientific Information Resource Division are the leading contributors- Indicating high concentration of DJLIT special issue authors. It is evident that DJLIT special issues authors were mostly affiliated to national research institutions (NRI-IND) and universities of India.
FINDINGS OF THE STUDY
In the spirit of introspection, present study has provided some observation of broader spectrum with regards to authorship diversity of DJLIT special issues. These are as follows:
DJLIT has been quite consistent (annual average 2.36 issues and 13.84 articles) in releasing special issues as it publishes 59 special issues over period of 25 years (1992 to 2016) containing 346 scholarly articles.
Analysis of authorship pattern shows dominance (58%) of single author with average authorship of 1.61 per paper. Observation resembles with general authorship trends of LIS periodicals found earlier. However, further analysis of collaboration activity shows that neither average degree of collaboration (0.42) nor average collaborative index (2.44) is impressive.
Moreover collaboration activity is largely confined among senior (age and professional rank) Indian authors of whom ‘senior vs senior’ collaboration predominates (54%). However, in the byline of publication, unconventionally senior authors more likely appear in the first position (senior signing pattern).
Share of productive authors is quite small (11%) in the total author base, indicates that authors are not generally prefer to contribute their articles in DJLIT special issue. Nevertheless, senior LIS professional like C.K. Ramaiah, B. M. Gupta, M.P. Satija, N.V. Sathyanarayana, B. M. Gupta, A. Amudhavalli, S.M. Dhawan, S. Bhattacharya, K S Raghavan are the most prolific authors/collaborative authors of DJLIT special issues.
Another significant observation from the study suggests that DJLIT special issue authorship includes significant proportion professors (12%) and working librarians (11%). Of which 228 (52%) authors holding PhD. Implies that intellectual perceptions from senior academia as well as from practitioners are blended in the DJLIT special issues communications – publications therefore ought to be relevant and useful.
Little surprisingly, India (native country) has contributed about 76% of special issue authors followed by USA (7.14%), Greece (3.23%), Singapore (2.53%) and UK (1.61%). Further analysis has revealed that fives regions of India viz. New Delhi, Maharastra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh contributed about 76 % of total authors – indicating high concentration of DJLIT special issues authors. Finding seems to comply with the results regarding leading journal producing states of the country.
Collaboration initiatives are heavily dominated by native senior LIS professionals and practitioners affiliated to national research institutions and universities; of which DESIDOC- New Delhi predominates followed by DRTC-ISI, University of Delhi, NISTADS-New Delhi, BARC and NISCAIR- New Delhi.
Study conclusively indicates dominance of eminent and renowned authors with occasional participants of junior or debutant authors thereby endorse the first proposition that journal special issues are less author inclusive in nature. Results therefore, signify greater exposure, better impact and quality literature that might encourage researcher to submit their work increasingly to journal special issue.
Scholarly journals, across disciplines publish special issues to encourage spurring research on innovative topics that are otherwise unattended. Being one of the premier LIS journals, DJLIT has been publishing thematic issues of contemporary topics focusing on application of IT in the areas of LIS since 1992. Our study suggests a holistic perspective about authorship diversity of DJLIT Special Issues. Result reflecting that, DJLIT has been quite consistent in featuring special issues. These issues are dominantly contributed by male veteran authors and eminent visionaries like Honorable ex- President Dr. Kalam, Dr. P Jayarajan (scholar of Dr. S R Ranganathan), T B Rajashekhar, Harjit Singh and many more. Analysis of authorship shows dominance of single author (average authorship 1.61/ article) mostly signing at the first position in the byline of publications. Which was ascertained further from the study of collaboration activity - as neither average degree of collaboration nor collaborative index is significant. Furthermore, collaboration activity is largely confined among senior Indian LIS professionals and practitioners affiliated to national research institutions and universities. Though there have been indications of cross-country contributions, present investigation reaffirming that, India (host country) has contributed about 76 % of special issue authors, of which New Delhi contributed the most (31%). Another significant observation from the study suggests that DJLIT special issue authorship comprises of significant proportion of professors (12%) and working librarians (11%) - indicating participation of academia and practitioners in the journal’s author base. This implies that intellectual perceptions of academia as well as from practitioners have been intermingled into the DJLIT special issue publications - thereby justifies their emergence and utility. In the enumeration of affiliating institutions, majority (93%) have contributed little, of which expectedly, DESIDOC- New Delhi has emerged as the most fertile institution. Co-authoring pattern of literature signifies the fact that, collaborative research is not a popular practice in case of special issue publication (only 6.36% purely collaborative). Therefore, prevalence of solo research (indicative of less author inclusiveness) is distinctly evident from the study. This might be owed to the fact that, announcements are generally solicited from renowned authors inviting communications for the special issues.
Finally, it can be concluded that DJLIT special issues are dominated by male, senior and renowned authors around New Delhi. Therefore case of less author inclusiveness is distinctly evident along with occasional participant of debutant authors. Our assessment, therefore justifies the significance LIS special issues as formidable path of scholarly knowledge dissemination process which might encourage new researcher to submit innovative communications. Noteworthy is the fact, that like general nature of profiling studies, findings of the present study should be considered as ‘indicative but not authoritative declaration’. Because inferences drawn from our study are exclusively based on ‘the-then status and affiliations’ of the contributor’ - that may vary in course of time. Moreover, researchers operate in complex multidimensional environments; several other factors (viz. editorial policy, quality criteria, and review process) might influence their publication preference and practices. Therefore, to have more comprehensive view, along with number of publications, paradigms from other factors like analysis of collaboration network, productivity and citation impact of publications, etc needs to be correlated. However, findings of this study obviously have implications for journal authority and prospective authors to have the-state-of –the- art insights about the authorship variety of DJLIT special issues. This could be helpful for the stakeholders for selecting subject expert, reviewer, resource person, etc.