CCA Meeting—Monday, September 10, 2007
Notes from Jim Testa’s Presentation
ISI and Thomson Web of Science
by Linda L. Putnam, U of California-Santa Barbara
ISI Web of Science—the ISI Web of Knowledge includes many parts including Medline, proceedings of scientific and research conferences, publication of abstracts, records of patents, journal citation reports, and current contents of major journals. Of significance for this presentation is the ISI journal citation database and the selection of journals to include in this database.
Composition of Database-the database allows you to cross search the entire collection of publications or focus on specific journals. This includes more than 22,000 unique journals, proceedings from 60,000 conferences from 1990 to the present, and more than 35 million patents.
Journal Citation Reports—metrics about journal citations are based on the belief that a small number of the journals publish the bulk of significant scientific results. As evidence of this fact, 7,621 journals in SCIE and SSCI have published 814,967 articles, yet 4% of them or 300 journals received 51% of the citations. 3000 of these journals receive 92% of the citations.
Number Evaluated–Thomson evaluates about 2000 journals per year and only about 10% are accepted. The evaluators are members of the Thomson staff who are librarians, information professionals and experts in their fields.
Criteria for Journal Selection
Timeliness—must be published according to its stated publication schedule to be considered for evaluation. Thomson must receive three on-time issues in sequence before the evaluation will begin. E-journals are held to the same standards. Nomination of a journal for evaluation begins with the current issue being sent to Thomson then each subsequent issue must be mailed on time to remain in nomination. Problems with timeliness or ISI not receiving the three issues drops a journal from consideration.
International Editorial Conventions—journals must follow standard conventions for high quality publications
Informative journal titles and descriptive article titles. Titles should be distinct and clear—nothing out there that is the same. Should avoid initials and codes.
Articles should have complete bibliographic information for all cited references.
English Language Bibliographic Information. Articles should have complete author’s names and full addresses, abstracts and keywords, and references in English. Access to the full text of articles in English is becoming expected in the international community.
Peer Review—journal must use a peer review process as an indication of standards and overall quality of research presented and the completeness of cited references.
Mission Statement–evaluators examine the journal at the mission statement and article level.
Content Comparison. They compare the journal with others in their list that have similar editorial content. They ask the questions: Will this journal enrich the current database or is the subject already well covered? Will this journal complement coverage in a specific category? How does this journal compare with covered journals of similar editorial content?
d. International Diversity
1) International Scope. What is the scope and mission of this journal? If it has an international scope or global context for the subject matter, then this criterion is applied.
2) International Presence. Evaluators examine the international diversity of the authors, editors, and editorial advisory board members. Do they represent the international research community in this area? ISI assesses the countries represented at the journal and the article level for the two-year time period under investigation.
3) National Journals. Journals that have a national mission and content area that is national in focus need to make this apparent in their mission statement. Editors can also indicate the national scope of the journal in their nomination letters.
2. Citation Analysis
a. Non-ISI Journals. Calculations are based on articles published in ISI that reference this sourced journal. A high number of references to the source journal (non-ISI journal under evaluation) indicates influential and useful publications. ISI measures use by analyzing citation data.
1) Citations in other ISI journals to the source journal are the basis of calculating an impact factor.
2) Citations to the contributing authors and editorial boards are also used to infer influence. These citations are particularly useful for new journals that have not been in existence long enough to generate citations to the journal itself. New journals do NOT have a waiting period before they can come up for evaluation. They can be nominated at any time.
b. Impact Factor—in evaluating journals for ISI inclusion, this ratio is determined from the references in ISI listed journals based on the average number of times articles in past two years in this journal were cited. ISI also calculates this impact factor annually for all journals listed in their database and publishes a ranking of journals in particular fields. These reports are available from ISI.
1) Impact factors are calculated through a ratio. The numerator is the number of citations to the journal in the previous two years (or the number of citations to a particular article to determine the articles impact factor). The denominator is the estimated number of articles published in that journal in the previous two years.
2) For a journal with 4 issues in 2006, ISI calculates the average number of citations to this journal in their database published in 2004 and 2005 then divides this numerator by the number of articles published in the journal in 2006. Thus, a larger numerator (average citations) and a smaller denominator (number of articles) produce a higher impact factor.
c. Criteria for ISI highly cited articles
1) a descriptive title and abstract
2) one or more named authors with addresses
3) longer articles as opposed to three or four page pieces
4) articles with tables and figures that provide lots of
5) articles with extensive references
6) quality work
d. What gets counted. In counting number of articles, ISI concentrates on articles, not book reviews, forums, or editorials.
e. Review and meta-analysis articles that synthesize bodies of literature, critique theories and approaches, and distill knowledge often receive a large number of citations.
f. Self citations naturally raises the impact factor. But journals that cite their own journals are typically about 0 to 20%. Self-citations above this factor raise a red flag and can be considered stacking the deck or gaming. One journal was dropped from ISI for jumping in impact factor 10 places in the ranking due to 90% self-citations. When self-citations are very high, something is wrong.
g. Impact Factors of Fields. ISI also determines impact factors and metrics for all journals in its database for a given field.
1) Communication has 44 journals so for all journals published in 2006, the median impact factor of all journals was .70 with an aggregated factor of .77 for 1309 articles.
2) Communication published fewer articles than economics and applied psychology and was lower in citation impact factor in its journals. By aggregated impact factor, it was the lowest of 6 comparison fields (economics, applied psy, psychology-biological, substance abuse, and ethics).
3) Linda noted that the 44 journals included in the communication ranking (we have 53 on our list, so I do not know which ones he selected) exclude important journals in our field that are listed in other field, but not cross-listed with communication, e.g., Philosophy & Rhetoric, Journal of Language & Social Psychology, Historical Journal of Film, Radio, & Television. Hence, we need to talk with ISI about cross-listing more journals in the Communication category.
h. Immediacy Index. The immediacy index is how swift or quick articles are cited in a given year to articles published in that year. This metric indicates quick citations or immediate influence of articles or journals.
C. Process of Selection
1. Anna Marie Hinds, Social Sciences Editor, makes her call on the nomination of a journal based on the data and criteria listed above. Then she goes to her supervisor with the recommendation. Every two weeks the journal selection team comes together to vet all nominations.
2. The growth in the overall database has been 2-3% with a large growth in the social sciences.
D. Regional Journals—ISI is trying to reach out to international audiences and nominate the regions of the world with the highest standards and best quality journals. (Linda’s comment—Communication has 16 regional country-based journals in its list—all in English. We need to be very aggressive in getting more of these journals into the ISI database.)
E. Diversity Journals—CCA members point out a major gap in the field with no journals on diversity issues in the database. Women’s Studies in Communication and Howard Journal of Communication were rejected and Feminist Media Studies, a newer journal, has not gone into nomination (through submission of issues). This concern addresses the ISI criteria of unique Editorial Content.
F. Uses of Impact Factor—tells something about the journal as a whole—extent to which its recently published papers were cited. It gives very little information about a specific paper or specific author (although the database provides information to calculate both). Most articles in a field are NOT highly cited—less than 25% receive 5 or more citations.
V. Ways to Improve Journals and Enhance ISI Selection
A. Active recruitment of high-impact articles by courting top researchers
B. Offering authors better services like fast turn-around
C. Publicize and boost journal profile in databases and appropriate media—for communication, this means getting covered in as many databases as possible.
D. More careful article selection
E. Read an article that conducted a study to deduce these suggestions. M. Chew, E.V. Villanueva, and M. B. Van Der Weyden, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 100 (3), 142 (2007.
VI. Delegation Visit to ISI—Jim Testa was open to having a small group from CCA come to visit ISI and talk about the field, topic areas, journals that fill gaps in topic areas, and a strategy for journal nominations in the field.