[Taxacom] two questions

Barna Páll-Gergely pallgergely2 at gmail.com
Tue Feb 6 03:53:47 CST 2018

 Dear Taxacomers,

Two questions concerning SJR.

The SJR (SCImago Journal Rank) is an alternative metric system, which aims
to measure the quality of journals by dividing them into categories
according to major fields of science. Just shortly, a journal is Q1 if
ranked among the best 25% in its field, Q2 if this is in the second
quartile (25-50 %), etc…. For a few years, the Hungarian Academy of
Sciences began to use the SJR-based system instead of the Thomson Reuters’
Journal Impact Factors (IF). It means that we are ranked by the number of
our Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 journal papers instead of the cumulative Impact
Factors and for any successful grant applications we are supposed to have
as many Q1 papers as possible…

One might say that taxonomist can welcome this new metric system because we
do not have to compete with neuroscientists and cancer researchers any
longer. It is true but now taxonomical journals are merged into the ‘Animal
Science and Zoology’ and the ‘Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics’
categories. Therefore, we still have to compete with ecologists,
ethologists, molecular evolutionists, population geneticists, etc.

At the end, it might turn out that the SJR is even worse for taxonomists
than IFs. So far, a taxonomist working exclusively on morphological
revisions and species descriptions could collect impact factors little by
little, and was able to accumulate a sufficient number of cumulative IF. In
the SJR system, however, it is practically impossible to publish in a Q1
journal with only morphology-based taxonomy. Just some examples: in 2016,
Zootaxa was Q3, European Journal of Taxonomy was Q3, Zookeys was Q2.

Of course, if ‘Taxonomy’ alone formed a major field in the SJR system it
would solve the problem, but currently, this is not the case…

Our questions:
- Are there any other countries where taxonomists are suffering similarly
from the SJR system, or this is just the concern of a handful of Hungarian
- Was there any attempt to make SCImago treat ‘Taxonomy’ as a separate
‘subject category’? If not, what do you think about such an initiative?

With all the best

Zoltán Fehér and Barna Páll-Gergely

Barna Páll-Gergely, PhD
MTA Premium Post Doctorate Researcher
Plant Protection Institute
Centre for Agricultural Research
Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA)
Herman Ottó Street 15,
Budapest, H-1022, Hungary
Tel: +36304673580

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