SIGMETRICS Digest - 7 Aug 2000 to 10 Aug 2000 (#2000-116)

Sinisa Maricic smaritch at ROCKETMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 11 07:33:09 EDT 2000

--- Automatic digest processor  wrote: > There are 3 messages
totalling 343 lines in this issue.
> Topics of the day:
>   1. Discussion? (3)
> Date:    Thu, 10 Aug 2000 22:32:43 +0100
> From:    "Quentin L. Burrell"
> Subject: Discussion?

Yes. I agree. Let me add some comment along Quentin's (abbreviated)

> 1. For me, one of the major disappointments of SIGMETRICS has >
been the lack of discussion or debate.

A year ago, I (S.M.) wrote to the SIGMETRICS list:


> Dear SIGMETRICSians,
> Out of 107 postings on our list so far, the archives yield 20 items
> after a "substring search" for IMPACT FACTOR . There is thus
> already a "respectful" thread. Those postings/references deal with
> the JOURNAL CITATION REPORTS (JCR) impact factors in a
> laudable or critical way, but quite a number of them indicate a new
> approach in "constructing" the impact factors for
"non-ISI"journals, > i.e. those which are NOT within the ISI
selection for regular
> coverage, but have nevertheless been cited by them, as evidenced
> by the  records within the citation indexes. They are, however,
kind > of "hidden data".
> According to Van Hooydonk, G. and Milis-Proost, G.  /(1997),
> Measuring impact by a full option method and the notion of
> bibliometric spectra, Proceedings of the Sixth Conference of the
> international Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics,
> Jerusalem Israel, pp.449-461/  N. Bayers and H. Small (from ISI)
> estimated in 1996 that between 50 and 70% of all citations
>(depending on the particular ISI index) are to non-ISI journals.
> After 20 years of my meandering attempts to bring to the attention
> of the mainstream science communities that the citation indexes
> could be exploited one step further in evaluating the journals from
> the peripheral scientific communities  /Maricic, S (1997), The
> mainstream peripheral science communication, Technoscience,
> Winter 1997, vol. 10, Number 1, also in

<> /

> I eventually propounded a concrete proposal  /Maricic, S (1998),
> The missing link - The mainstream-peripheral science
> communication, Current Science (India), 75(5):427-428, and on
> 28th January 1999, for the World Conference on Science in

<> /.

> Of course, whoever is interested in the "non-ISI" journals standing
> within the citation mindset, can "construct" their impact factors
> by making use of the ISI's data bases and - paying for it.
> However, for the science studies (and policy) in peripheral
> scientific communities it would be of great help if there existed a

> yearly "catalogue" of all the "non-ISI" journal titles appearing
> within the citation indexes. Titles only - at lest. Even more
useful > would be to have the total numbers each title had been cited
within > the given year.
> Any comments, or questions (to me or otherwise)?
> Yours in discourse,
> Sinisa


NO: there was no reaction whatsoever. MAYBE the topic I suggested is
just plain irrelevant in general, or for the "Sigmetricians" in

> 2. The way it has developed over the past six months or so,
> SIGMETRICS  seems to be primarily a vehicle for sending out
> "relevant" abstracts.

Although Quentin is to me on this, too, mostly correct, I'm adding
for good measure that the List did in fact bring out even an abstract
of a paper of ours on evaluating domestic journals. Perhaps because
the journal we published it in (this year - 2000) is covered by
Current Contents.

> 3. In case the above all seems rather critical, let me finish with
> a  question which should at least warrant factual response but will
> hopefully engender some discussion.
> The problem in those early days was that the importance of
> the  time dimension had not been realised - it was thought that
> Bradford's  law (whether or not it was true!) - was the same
whether > we were looking  at a "collection" for one year or ten.
(And nobody > bothered to check!)
> Is not the same true for much of the current research?
> Where is the theory of time dependent citation analysis? Is there
> an  accepted stochastic theory? Indeed, is there any successful
> theory or do  we just have a collection of empirical studies?

Notwithstanding the brave attempts of offering theory of citation, we
enlarged the "collection of empirical studies" with the hope of at
least presenting some food for thought (the time span was 10 years of
publishng + 20 years of citations to the source papers):

Maricic,S; Spaventi,J; Pavicic,L; Pifat-Mrzljak,G (1998): Citation
context versus the frequency counts of citation histories. Journal of
the American Society for Information Science, 49/6, 507-516.

> If this latter is the case (cont. from Quentin's message!-SM), then

> what is the real value of citation analysis and can it have any
> scientifically justifiable role in the policy decision making

Well, this indeed is an ongoing (but not in this list!) discussion.
Bearing in mind all the caveats for using citation analysis in
decision making  process", again for good measure - here is my
experience at the periphery where the ugly side of indiscriminate use
of citations does come in the foreground:

Maricic,S (1997): About "Measuring" Croatian Science. Croatian
Medical Journal 38,383-385., available at

< >
> Over to you.
> Quentin Burrell


Sinisa Maricic

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