[Taxacom] two questions

Uwe Fritz Uwe.Fritz at senckenberg.de
Tue Feb 6 04:53:15 CST 2018

Dear Barna and Zoltán,
I fear the situation is similar in many countries. A few years ago I
tried to suggest Thomson Reuters to include a distinct subject category
"Taxonomy". This was supported by letters of many journal editors. The
journals suggested to be included in this new subject category
outnumbered by far those of some smaller subject categories in the Web
of Science. Unfortunately, despite repeated requests, Thomson Reuters
simply did not respond, i.e. they send some kind words like, "we will
consider and you will hear from us in due time". Well, obviously the
time was never due as I haven't heard from them yet.
All the best,
Uwe Fritz
>>> Barna Páll-Gergely 02/06/18 10:54 AM >>>
 Dear Taxacomers,

Two questions concerning SJR.

The SJR (SCImago Journal Rank) is an alternative metric system, which
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
Journal Impact Factors (IF). It means that we are ranked by the number
our Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 journal papers instead of the cumulative Impact
Factors and for any successful grant applications we are supposed to
as many Q1 papers as possible…

One might say that taxonomist can welcome this new metric system because
do not have to compete with neuroscientists and cancer researchers any
longer. It is true but now taxonomical journals are merged into the
Science and Zoology’ and the ‘Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and
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
little, and was able to accumulate a sufficient number of cumulative IF.
the SJR system, however, it is practically impossible to publish in a Q1
journal with only morphology-based taxonomy. Just some examples: in
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
from the SJR system, or this is just the concern of a handful of
- 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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