Academic nurses are increasingly turning to bibliometrics to assess the state and status of research publication in nursing in countries around the world. Early bibliometric studies were carried out by Cattell as part of a project to advance research in psychology in the early decades of the 20th century. There are some echoes in nursing's moves to increase its standing over the last 40 years. The interpretation of bibliometric studies can reveal embedded values about academic disciplinary activity and normative views of scientific work. Patterns of publishing by nurse academics appear increasingly to resemble those in biomedicine as a whole.