The Journal Impact Factor: A brief history, critique, and discussion of adverse effects

Authors : Vincent Lariviere, Cassidy R. Sugimoto

The Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is, by far, the most discussed bibliometric indicator. Since its introduction over 40 years ago, it has had enormous effects on the scientific ecosystem: transforming the publishing industry, shaping hiring practices and the allocation of resources, and, as a result, reorienting the research activities and dissemination practices of scholars.

Given both the ubiquity and impact of the indicator, the JIF has been widely dissected and debated by scholars of every disciplinary orientation. Drawing on the existing literature as well as on original research, this chapter provides a brief history of the indicator and highlights well-known limitations-such as the asymmetry between the numerator and the denominator, differences across disciplines, the insufficient citation window, and the skewness of the underlying citation distributions.

The inflation of the JIF and the weakening predictive power is discussed, as well as the adverse effects on the behaviors of individual actors and the research enterprise. Alternative journal-based indicators are described and the chapter concludes with a call for responsible application and a commentary on future developments in journal indicators

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1801.08992

A systematic identification and analysis of scientists on Twitter

Authors : Qing Ke, Yong-Yeol Ahn, Cassidy R. Sugimoto

Metrics derived from Twitter and other social media—often referred to as altmetrics—are increasingly used to estimate the broader social impacts of scholarship. Such efforts, however, may produce highly misleading results, as the entities that participate in conversations about science on these platforms are largely unknown.

For instance, if altmetric activities are generated mainly by scientists, does it really capture broader social impacts of science? Here we present a systematic approach to identifying and analyzing scientists on Twitter.

Our method can identify scientists across many disciplines, without relying on external bibliographic data, and be easily adapted to identify other stakeholder groups in science.

We investigate the demographics, sharing behaviors, and interconnectivity of the identified scientists.

We find that Twitter has been employed by scholars across the disciplinary spectrum, with an over-representation of social and computer and information scientists; under-representation of mathematical, physical, and life scientists; and a better representation of women compared to scholarly publishing.

Analysis of the sharing of URLs reveals a distinct imprint of scholarly sites, yet only a small fraction of shared URLs are science-related. We find an assortative mixing with respect to disciplines in the networks between scientists, suggesting the maintenance of disciplinary walls in social media.

Our work contributes to the literature both methodologically and conceptually—we provide new methods for disambiguating and identifying particular actors on social media and describing the behaviors of scientists, thus providing foundational information for the construction and use of indicators on the basis of social media metrics.

 URL : A systematic identification and analysis of scientists on Twitter

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0175368

arXiv e-prints and the journal of record: An analysis of roles and relationships

Authors : Vincent Larivière, Cassidy R. Sugimoto, Benoit Macaluso, Staša Milojević, Blaise Cronin, Mike Thelwal

Since its creation in 1991, arXiv has become central to the diffusion of research in a number of fields. Combining data from the entirety of arXiv and the Web of Science (WoS), this paper investigates (a) the proportion of papers across all disciplines that are on arXiv and the proportion of arXiv papers that are in the WoS, (b) elapsed time between arXiv submission and journal publication, and (c) the aging characteristics and scientific impact of arXiv e-prints and their published version.

It shows that the proportion of WoS papers found on arXiv varies across the specialties of physics and mathematics, and that only a few specialties make extensive use of the repository.

Elapsed time between arXiv submission and journal publication has shortened but remains longer in mathematics than in physics. In physics, mathematics, as well as in astronomy and astrophysics, arXiv versions are cited more promptly and decay faster than WoS papers.

The arXiv versions of papers – both published and unpublished – have lower citation rates than published papers, although there is almost no difference in the impact of the arXiv versions of both published and unpublished papers. »

URL : http://arxiv.org/abs/1306.3261