O'Really?

June 29, 2012

Impact Factor Boxing 2012

Rocky Balboa  Philadelphia, PA

Rocky Balboa, Philadelphia, PA. Creative Commons licensed picture by seng1011 (steve eng) on Flickr.

[This post is part of an ongoing series about impact factors]

In the world of abused performance metrics, the impact factor is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the (publishing) world.

It has been an eventful year in the boxing ring of scientific publishing since the last set of figures were published by Thomson-Reuters. A brand new journal called PeerJ launched with a radical publish ’til you perish business model [1]. There’s another new journal on the way too in the shape of eLifeSciences - with it’s own significant differences from current publishing models. Then there was the Finch report on Open Access. If that wasn’t enough fun, there’s been the Alternative metrics “Altmetrics” movement gathering pace [2], alongside suggestions that the impact factor may be losing its grip on the supposed “title” [3].

The impact factors below are the most recent, published June 28th 2012, covering data from 2011. Love them or loathe them, use them or abuse them, game them or shame them … here is a tiny selection of impact factors for the 10,675 journals that are tracked in Journal Citation Reports (JCR) ordered by increasing punch power.

WARNING: Abusing these figures can seriously damage your Science – you have been warned! Normal caveats apply, see nature.com/metrics.

Journal 2011 data from isiknowledge.com/JCR Eigenfactor™ Metrics
Total Cites Impact Factor 5-Year Impact Factor Immediacy Index Articles Cited Half-life Eigenfactor™ Score Article Influence™ Score
Russian Journal of Cardiology* 3 0.005 0.000 75 0.00000
BMC Bioinformatics 14268 2.751 3.493 0.293 557 4.2 0.07757 1.314
PLoS ONE 75544 4.092 4.537 0.437 13781 2.4 0.50216 1.797
Briefings in Bioinformatics 2859 5.202 7.749 0.692 65 4.3 0.01129 2.857
PLoS Computational Biology 8924 5.215 5.844 0.710 407 3.1 0.06968 2.722
OUP Bioinformatics 43380 5.468 6.051 0.666 707 6.2 0.15922 2.606
Nucleic Acids Research 106520 8.026 7.417 2.016 1230 7.4 0.30497 3.003
Genome Biology 15556 9.036 7.896 1.550 151 5.2 0.08221 4.124
PLoS Biology 20579 11.452 13.630 2.461 180 4.6 0.14975 7.830
Science 480836 31.201 32.452 6.075 871 9.4 1.41282 17.508
Nature 526505 36.280 36.235 9.690 841 9.4 1.65658 20.353
New England Journal of Medicine 232068 53.298 50.075 11.484 349 7.8 0.66466 21.293
CA – A Cancer Journal for Clinicians** 10976 101.780 67.410 21.263 19 3.8 0.04502 24.502

* The Russian Journal of Cardiology is included here for reference as it has the lowest non-zero impact factor of any science journal. A rather dubious honour…

** The Cancer Journal for Clinicians is the highest ranked journal in science, it is included here for reference. Could it be the first journal to have an impact factor of more than 100?

References

  1. Richard Van Noorden (2012). Journal offers flat fee for ‘all you can publish’, Nature, 486 (7402) 166. DOI: 10.1038/486166a
  2. Jason Priem, Heather Piwowar and Bradley Hemminger (2012).  Altmetrics in the wild: Using social media to explore scholarly impact arxiv.org/abs/1203.4745
  3. George Lozano, Vincent Lariviere and Yves Gingras (2012). The weakening relationship between the Impact Factor and papers’ citations in the digital age arxiv.org/abs/1205.4328

February 15, 2012

The Open Access Irony Awards: Naming and shaming them

Ask me about open access by mollyaliOpen Access (OA) publishing aims to make the results of scientific research available to the widest possible audience. Scientific papers that are published in Open Access journals are freely available for crucial data mining and for anyone or anything to read, wherever they may be.

In the last ten years, the Open Access movement has made huge progress in allowing:

“any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers.”

But there is still a long way to go yet, as much of the world’s scientific knowledge remains locked up behind publisher’s paywalls, unavailable for re-use by text-mining software and inaccessible to the public, who often funded the research through taxation.

Openly ironic?

ironicIronically, some of the papers that are inaccessible discuss or even champion the very Open Access movement itself. Sometimes the lack of access is deliberate, other times accidental – but the consequences are serious. Whether deliberate or accidental, restricted access to public scientific knowledge is slowing scientific progress [1]. Sometimes the best way to make a serious point is to have a laugh and joke about it. This is what the Open Access Irony Awards do, by gathering all the offenders in one place, we can laugh and make a serious point at the same time by naming and shaming the papers in question.

To get the ball rolling, here is are some examples:

  • The Lancet owned by Evilseviersorry I mean Elsevier, recently  published a paper on “the case for open data” [2] (please login to access article). Login?! Not very open…
  • Serial offender and über-journal Science has an article by Elias Zerhouni on the NIH public access policy [3] (Subscribe/Join AAAS to View Full Text), another on “making data maximally available” [4] (Subscribe/Join AAAS to View Full Text) and another on a high profile advocate of open science [5] (Buy Access to This Article to View Full Text) Irony of ironies.
  • From Nature Publishing Group comes a fascinating paper about harnessing the wisdom of the crowds to predict protein structures [6]. Not only have members of the tax-paying public funded this work, they actually did some of the work too! But unfortunately they have to pay to see the paper describing their results. Ironic? Also, another published in Nature Medicine proclaims the “delay in sharing research data is costing lives” [1] (instant access only $32!)
  • From the British Medical Journal (BMJ) comes the worrying news of dodgy American laws that will lock up valuable scientific data behind paywalls [7] (please subscribe or pay below). Ironic? *
  • The “green” road to Open Access publishing involves authors uploading their manuscript to self-archive the data in some kind of  public repository. But there are many social, political and technical barriers to this, and they have been well documented [8]. You could find out about them in this paper [8], but it appears that the author hasn’t self-archived the paper or taken the “gold” road and pulished in an Open Access journal. Ironic?
  • Last, but not least, it would be interesting to know what commercial publishers make of all this text-mining magic in Science [9], but we would have to pay $24 to find out. Ironic?

These are just a small selection from amongst many. If you would like to nominate a paper for an Open Access Irony Award, simply post it to the group on Citeulike or group on Mendeley. Please feel free to start your own group elsewhere if you’re not on Citeulike or Mendeley. The name of this award probably originated from an idea Jonathan Eisen, picked up by Joe Dunckley and Matthew Cockerill at BioMed Central (see tweet below). So thanks to them for the inspiration.

For added ironic amusement, take a screenshot of the offending article and post it to the Flickr group. Sometimes the shame is too much, and articles are retrospectively made open access so a screenshot will preserve the irony.

Join us in poking fun at the crazy business of academic publishing, while making a serious point about the lack of Open Access to scientific data.

References

  1. Sommer, Josh (2010). The delay in sharing research data is costing lives Nature Medicine, 16 (7), 744-744 DOI: 10.1038/nm0710-744
  2. Boulton, G., Rawlins, M., Vallance, P., & Walport, M. (2011). Science as a public enterprise: the case for open data The Lancet, 377 (9778), 1633-1635 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60647-8
  3. Zerhouni, Elias (2004). Information Access: NIH Public Access Policy Science, 306 (5703), 1895-1895 DOI: 10.1126/science.1106929
  4. Hanson, B., Sugden, A., & Alberts, B. (2011). Making Data Maximally Available Science, 331 (6018), 649-649 DOI: 10.1126/science.1203354
  5. Kaiser, Jocelyn (2012). Profile of Stephen Friend at Sage Bionetworks: The Visionary Science, 335 (6069), 651-653 DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6069.651
  6. Cooper, S., Khatib, F., Treuille, A., Barbero, J., Lee, J., Beenen, M., Leaver-Fay, A., Baker, D., Popović, Z., & players, F. (2010). Predicting protein structures with a multiplayer online game Nature, 466 (7307), 756-760 DOI: 10.1038/nature09304
  7. Epstein, Keith (2012). Scientists are urged to oppose new US legislation that will put studies behind a pay wall BMJ, 344 (jan17 3) DOI: 10.1136/bmj.e452
  8. Kim, Jihyun (2010). Faculty self-archiving: Motivations and barriers Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology DOI: 10.1002/asi.21336
  9. Smit, Eefke, & Van Der Graaf, M. (2012). Journal article mining: the scholarly publishers’ perspective Learned Publishing, 25 (1), 35-46 DOI: 10.1087/20120106

[CC licensed picture "ask me about open access" by mollyali.]

* Please note, some research articles in BMJ are available by Open Access, but news articles like [7] are not. Thanks to Trish Groves at BMJ for bringing this to my attention after this blog post was published. Also, some “articles” here are in a grey area for open access, particularly “journalistic” stuff like news, editorials and correspondence, as pointed out by Becky Furlong. See tweets below…

September 12, 2008

Blogging Professors: Big Boffins with Blogs

Jeffrey Bates by Julian CashI’ve been hunting all over the interweb looking for Professors that have blogs. While it would be a good thing if there were more, (see the science blogging challenge 2008), there are surprising amount of big boffins that already blog. I should say that by big, I mean (full) professor. By boffin I mean a person practicing science including biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering and hell, even computer “science” and the “dismal science” of economics too. By blog I mean, a web-log or a lab-log which is personal, frequently updated (with web feed) and allows comments. Here is my collection of big boffins with blogs, with a little help from friendfeed.com [1]. It is ordered alphabetically by surname and I hope it gives a flavour of some of the bloggers out there on the Web. If you know any more, please let me know. (more…)

Customized Rubric Theme Blog at WordPress.com.

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