[Taxacom] are journal-ranking algorithms code-compliant?

Roderic Page Roderic.Page at glasgow.ac.uk
Mon Apr 13 18:44:29 CDT 2015

Hi Doug,

Alas that’s not how impact factor works. It’s a function of both the number of articles published by a journal, and the number of citations, see  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_factor

Given that most taxonomic work is likely to few citations (certainly over the two-year period typically used when calculating impact factor). Consider Zootaxa, far and away the largest journal in zoological taxonomy. In 2013 approximately a quarter of all published animal names were published in Zootaxa, but its impact factor in the same year was 1.060 http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/support/impactfactor.htm

A mega journal for taxonomy is pretty much exactly the wrong strategy to maximise impact factor.



Roderic Page
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On 14 Apr 2015, at 00:29, Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu<mailto:dyanega at ucr.edu>> wrote:

On 4/13/15 4:01 PM, Fred Schueler wrote:
Quoting Neal Evenhuis <neale at bishopmuseum.org<mailto:neale at bishopmuseum.org>>:

However, until employers (mainly in academia) do away with evaluating
their employee taxonomists based on where they publish (i.e., high ranking
journals), many taxonomists will not switch over to this zero-ranking
registration/repository system.

* I'm glad I got my unemployable badge before this ranking of individuals by the ranking of the journals in which they publish came in. This practice has always seemed to me to be an institutionalization of pure stinking cowardice - those seeking to violate the commandment "judge not, lest ye be judged" rank journals by popularity criteria solely because they're afraid they (perhaps as administrative trolls luring under academic bridges) couldn't understand the work of the person they're supposed to be evaluating. They fob the job off on a numerical assessment of the journals, and go home to supper.

This is a total inversion of the taxonomic notion of "publication," in which it doesn't matter where you publish something, so long as it is available.
Before this devolves any further (and I'm not accusing Neal or Fred of doing so, but I can anticipate some of the responses this may generate), PLEASE consider the following question very carefully:

If there is only a *single* electronic venue (call it an e-journal if you must), where ALL new zoological taxonomic/nomenclatural acts and descriptions MUST appear in order for them to be available, including paleontology, all vertebrates and invertebrates - ALL disciplines - then what impact factor do you think that single venue will have? Thousands upon thousands of new works produced every year, all in one place, all with a single cited source? This is a no-brainer. No one has to worry that such a venue would not have enough of an impact factor to satisfy a tenure committee; in plain fact, any taxonomist who is worried about impact factor should be BEGGING for such a system to be implemented, as soon as is humanly possible, so they can start submitting to it! Look at it this way: when less than 1% of all new names appear in high-impact venues like Nature or Science, then the OTHER 99% of taxonomists have *everything to gain and nothing to lose* by joining all together into a single digital venue, instead of staying scattered across hundreds of different venues with a microscopic fraction of the readership.


Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
 "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
       is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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