15 January 2010

It’s time for a new (rank) order

In the sciences, journal articles are probably the most important factor determining your career success. Much has been written about how to compare publications in different journals in different fields.

Currently, in our department’s evaluations, publications are weighted differently depending on what journal you publish in. We don’t use anything like impact factors, though. Journals are ranked as:
  1. International
  2. National
  3. Regional
In some disciplines, the idea of a “regional” journal may sound a bit strange. After all, chemistry is chemistry regardless of where you are. But in biology (and maybe geology?), there is often a niche for research that is tied to particular locations. So you have the Canadian Journal of Zoology or the Texas Journal of Science (where a lot of faculty in my department have published – including me).

But there’s always been these niggling difficulties. An international journal may actually have a smaller readership and reach fewer people than a national journal (at least in the United States).

Given how much distribution networks for journals have changed, a better rating of journals would be:
  1. Online and open access
  2. Online and behind a paywall
  3. Print only

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