[Taxacom] two questions

Evangelos Vlachos evlacho at gmail.com
Tue Feb 6 07:48:50 CST 2018

Dear Zoltan and Barna,

First of all, I would to say that this is only my first day as a member of
this group, and I am really happy with all the information I am receiving
already. I would to congratulate all of you for this wonderful community,
and thank you for allowing me to be a member.

I would like to offer my insights on this topic, "suffering" similar issues
and thoughts.

I would like to share a, somehow, relevant problematic case. It is not
about Taxonomy, but rather about Nomenclature: during my recent internal
evaluation, the committee decided not to count one of my publications that
deals with some nomenclatural issues because "*it does not represent a
research article*" (translation from Spanish). I found that action and the
explanation as outrageous.

So, I completely share your concerns and I would like to further suggest
that it is a much bigger problem, both for taxonomical and nomenclatural

About SJR:

Even if for the internal and external evaluation of its members an
institution uses the SJR metric, it should not only use the quartiles
(Q1-Q4) but the metric itself as well.

For example, Zookeys is Q2 in two categories, but its SJR metric is 0.527
(2016). The quartiles are just subjective divisions, and of course
Scimago's divisions cannot cover every case.

That being said, the SJR metric does not change, but the quartiles do
(depending on the grouping and categories). So, if an institution wants to
make the best evaluation for its members, and there is no existing category
in Scimago, the best practice would be that the committee *could make its
own sub-category and rank the journals of interest in quartiles*. There is
nothing to stop you from doing that, it just requires some more work (e.g.,
to select journals that have taxonomy within their aims and scope). When
there is a decision-making process, the evaluation committee should do its
best to have a fair evaluation of the applicants.

Maybe this could be an interesting "project" for Taxacom? I do not know if
there is any list with all the journals that include taxonomy as their
primary aim and scope; if so, it would be relatively easy to make a SJR
quartile categorization. If the results make sense, they could then be
communicated to Scimago and the major research institution in each country
through us.

It is also necessary to communicate, that taxonomy is a topic that cannot
be judged by impact factors or other metrics, a statement that has appeared
even in some of the top journals (see
https://www.nature.com/articles/35014664.pdf for an example).

All the best,


P.S. One might argue that "taxonomy" is within the subcategory "Ecology,
Evolution, Behavior and Systematics" but I am sure that we can all agree
that it is something distinct from systematics.

Evangelos Vlachos, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Researcher,
CONICET and Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio,
Trelew, Chubut, Argentina
Research Associate, School of Geology,
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
evlacho at gmail.com ; evlacho at mef.org.ar ; evlacho at geo.auth.gr

On 6 February 2018 at 06:53, Barna Páll-Gergely <pallgergely2 at gmail.com>

>  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
> taxonomists?
> - 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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