Jim énez-Contreras E., Delgado López-Cózar E. Ruiz Pérez R. "Impact Index of Spanish Social Science journals (In-RECS: índice de impacto de revistas españolas de Ciencias Sociales)

Eugene Garfield garfield at CODEX.CIS.UPENN.EDU
Thu May 19 14:37:02 EDT 2005

E-Mail : evaristo at ugr.es


Dr. E. Jiménez-Contreras
Dr. E. Delgado López-Cózar
Dr. R. Ruiz Pérez

and research team

Posted at:

The authors have kindly provided an English translation of their study.

Impact  Index  of Spanish Social Science journals (In-RECS: índice de
impacto de  revistas españolas de Ciencias Sociales)

Although the databases of the ISI have universal application, because of its
international and multidisciplinary character, it presents certain thematic,
geographic, and linguistic biases that should be taken into account when
used for evaluative purposes.  These have been described in different
publications:  in favour of the English language, in favour of publications
in countries with predominantly Anglo-Saxon populations, in favour of
certain disciplines, especially experimental at the expense of social
sciences.  Spain undergoes these biases; thus, of a potential population of
some 600 of Spanish scientific journals in the social sciences, the ISI
database includes only two journals (Psicothema and European Journal of

(Impact index of Spanish social-science journals) emerges with the immediate
objective of rectifying this bias.  IN-RECS is a bibliometric index that
offers statistical information from a count of the bibliographical
citations, seeking to determine scientific relevance, influence, and impact
of Spanish social-science journals, of the authors publishing in these
journals, and of the institutions with which the authors are affiliated.
Also, this provides an individualized way of knowing the bibliographical
citations that published works receive in Spanish scientific journals, and
thus it becomes possible to determine the real impact  that such works have
in the scientific community to which they are directed.
Almost all Spanish researchers in the social sciences regularly publish in
Spanish journals, while only a few publish in foreign journals, with the
exception of Psychology, where foreign publication is far more frequent.
The databases of the ISI represent only 10% of the Spanish scientific
production in the social sciences.  In consonance with these practices,
Spanish researchers in the social sciences cite more national publications
and positively value publication in Spanish journals.
In addition, we know that 70% of the citations received by works published
by Spanish researchers in foreign journals are made by Spanish researchers.
 Among these, some 40% are citations made by the 44 Spanish journals indexed
in the ISI.  At the same time, between 70 and 90% of the citations that
Spanish journals receive in the ISI databases are made by Spanish journals.
An example of this would be the case of a journal such as Papeles de
Economía Española.  While this journal has received 1052 citations in 19
Spanish journals in 9 years (1994-2003), it has received only 239 citations
from the 8900 ISI journals between 1945 and 2003.  The conclusion could not
be clearer:  the best way to ascertain the real audience of Spanish research
as a whole is to construct databases with the bibliographic references made
by the articles published in the Spanish journals to complement
international and existing databases.

In general lines, the works originating in the sphere of social sciences
attract the attention fundamentally within the ambits where the discoveries
are made.  They are used by national scientific communities, as this
research is highly influenced by cultural peculiarities, where context is
foremost, local problems are predominant, and an applied orientation is adopted.
Finally, we believe that an initiative of this nature will have other
positive consequences.  With the quantification of the influence of journals
and works, the periodical publications that gain better ranking will prove
more attractive for the researchers and will eventually improve the quality
of the works published there.  The indicators will be more precise and the
national scientific production will receive the recognition it deserves and
will be able to be evaluated on a plane of equality with international
works.  Paradoxically, today we know that work by researchers in Spain has
international impact, but we do not know what part of it has national
impact; that is, we do not know which works are really used in the sphere of
social sciences in Spain.  This index resolves this problem.

Furthermore, this index is potentially useful for researchers (both by
authors as well as by readers), editors, librarians, documentalists,
managers, administrators, and those responsible for agencies of scientific
In addition, we believe that the scientific policy of Spain will benefit
from having more information to identify the equipment, research lines, etc.
which are currently poorly known because they remain within the national orbit.

In the construction of the index, the following steps were followed.
1. Identification of the population of Spanish scientific journals in the
social sciences
For this task, the main national and international directories specialized
in the monitoring of periodical publications have been used:  the journal
directory LATINDEX, Spanish Directory of Journals of the Social Sciences and
Humanities (Directorio Español de Revistas de Ciencias Sociales y
Humanidades), Ulrichs Periodicals International Directory, and the
collective catalogue of the network of university libraries.
2. Distribution of journals by discipline and specialty
In thematic terms, a prerequisite for a non-biased construction of the
impact index is for the main specialities and sub-specialities be
represented in the database.  Consequently, at least one specialized journal
from each area appears in the index as a source journal.
For this task, two procedures were used:
· The thematic classifications that the databases used for categorizing the
indexed journals: C.D.U., Classification of Unesco, Dewey, and Ulrich's
thematic classification.
· The method of co-word analysis for constructing thematic clusters of
journals.  For this, the records of the source journals processed by the
ISOC database 1993-2002 were analysed.
3. Selection of source journals
It has been widely known ever since the description by S. C. Bradford that a
relatively small number of journals publish the substantial core of the
significant scientific results, in any field of knowledge considered.
Bibliometric studies based on the count of citations in the ISI databases
have demonstrated that only 150 journals concentrate half of what is cited
and a fourth of what is published on a given theme.

Consequently, our aim has been to identify the core of the most influential
Spanish scientific journals in the social sciences.  For this, four criteria
were used:

· Survival or age.
· Editorial quality in two senses:  quality in the editorial process (use of
a rigorous selection and evaluation system) and reputation and prestige of
the editor and editorial committees.
· Scientific impact of Spanish journals in the social sciences both at the
national as well as the international level.
· Polled opinion of Spanish researchers on the perceived quality of journals
in their speciality.
The first two criteria act as prerequisites for entering the database—that
is, those journals that do not satisfy the requirements are automatically
eliminated.  The second two criteria are definitive for the selection.

4 Sphere of development

For reasons of security, robustness, efficiency, scalability, and
interconnection, the management system chosen for the database (SGBD) was
version 7.1 of the PostgreSQL system.  The SGBD was run under the platform
SuSe Linux 9.1.

6. Generation of indicators
1. Journals:  from each journal title the index offers the following
· Annual scientific impact, following the standard methodology.
· Number and percentage of self-references and self-citations per year.
· Evolution of impact and position of the journals by quartiles and in graphs.
· Ageing curves.
· List of journals citing and cited, arranged in descending order.
· Citation rate per article published for the entire period.
· Number of “hot papers” per journal.
2. Works:  a ranking is offered by speciality of the most cited works in the
database, with an indication of the citing and cited works.
3. Authors:  a list is offered by speciality of the most cited authors in
the database, with an indication of the citing and cited works (in progress).
4. Institutions:  A list will be offered by specialities of the most cited
institutions in the database, with an indication of the citing and cited
works (in progress).
General data of the index

Categories Source journals Journals with the impact index calculated
Source articles Processed citations  Self-references 1994-03 Self-citations
Economics 19 95 9192 22865 0.31671598 0.18476331
Geography 9 44 2936 6916 0.44171123 0.28128342
Sociology 8 58 3050 3709 0.47014218 0.25023697
Psychology 20 97 5388 11104 0.45953631 0.34864392
Totals 56 294 20566 44594

We estimate that when the database covers all the disciplines projected, it
will have some 70,000-75,000 citations to Spanish journals made by some
30,000 articles published in 100 journals that serve as the source for the
generation of the impact indicators.  Annually, the volume of information
increases by some 12,000 bibliographical citations.

The project is financed by the Plan Nacional I+D+I (SEJ 2004/08027SOCI) and
by the Dirección General de Universidades (Proyectos EA2003-086,
EA2004-0119), and offers free and open access.

More information about the SIGMETRICS mailing list