Is there agreement on the prestige of scholarly book publishers in the Humanities? DELPHI over survey results

Authors : Elea Giménez-Toledo, Jorge Mañana-Rodríguez

Despite having an important role supporting assessment processes, criticism towards evaluation systems and the categorizations used are frequent. Considering the acceptance by the scientific community as an essential issue for using rankings or categorizations in research evaluation, the aim of this paper is testing the results of rankings of scholarly book publishers’ prestige, Scholarly Publishers Indicators (SPI hereafter).

SPI is a public, survey-based ranking of scholarly publishers’ prestige (among other indicators). The latest version of the ranking (2014) was based on an expert consultation with a large number of respondents.

In order to validate and refine the results for Humanities’ fields as proposed by the assessment agencies, a Delphi technique was applied with a panel of randomly selected experts over the initial rankings.

The results show an equalizing effect of the technique over the initial rankings as well as a high degree of concordance between its theoretical aim (consensus among experts) and its empirical results (summarized with Gini Index).

The resulting categorization is understood as more conclusive and susceptible of being accepted by those under evaluation.