Johan Bollen, Marko A. Rodriguez, and Herbert Van de Sompel "Journal Status" arXiv:cs.GL/0601030 v1 9 Jan 2006

David Goodman dgoodman at PRINCETON.EDU
Tue Mar 7 23:36:32 EST 2006

Still on-list, there are several   reasons for classifying
journals.  It can be for the practical purposes of arranging  a library, or
organizing information, and of interest mainly to those who do these things and
wish to do it intelligently, or verify their intuition. This is quite a
number of people, including A&I services.
As a minimum,practical applications justify the more theoretical work.

Clustering as a study in itself is interesting when it finds unexpected clusters,
or those known only to specialists--such as the biopharmacology-plant science
connection, or to help refine categories for specific uses, such as dividing
up the BCMB   subject heading.  It rarely gives suprises that
alert practical people do not already know.

Clustering is  part of a bibliometric analysis, which has many
subsequent directions. A related subject is the history of publishing
and of journals, where bibliometrics is one of the methods of

But most of what I think we are discussing is clustering for the purpose of ranking
journals; its obviously a necessary preliminary.  where it is the first step
(usually w do not want to rank all the journals in the world, as
the early  BLL studies did.)

Why is this of practical interest? Obviously, to clarify what journals are
of value, and should therefore be acquired. I am not sure of the
relevance of global analysis here, because one is usually
acquiring journals for some specific institution. In such cases the
global data is of use mainly in providing a background to compare
with the local measures, and to spot idiosncratic needs.

This is not merely an exercise in statistics, and citation analysis is but
one of the measures. In practice, global citation analysis has been often
used, being the only objective measure at hand,
except for price and size. As other measures
develop, we need  valid ways of incorporating them. So far,
for scholarly journals in many subjects, none have been
shown more useful than IF alone, employed intelligently.

We might be talking about journals so high ranking that they ought
to be acquired whether there is an immediate need or not? This used
to be necessary to accommodate future diversification when financially
possible, but with e-journals is irrelevant, because the complete runs
can be obtained when they become necessary.

Why do we care about what journals to acquire? Why shouldn't we
simply obtain access to them all?  The main reason is because
this is not yet practical, and we do have to provide for the current
pre-OA environoment. (It can also be argued that a selected list is
of use to beginners--but that is another discussion and possibly another

 Dr. David Goodman
Associate Professor
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
Long Island University
and formerly
Princeton University Library

dgoodman at
dgoodman at

[I omit the sequence we have all read previously]

More information about the SIGMETRICS mailing list