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

Stephen J Bensman notsjb at LSU.EDU
Thu Mar 9 09:28:28 EST 2006

That is pretty basic, but the problem is that due to Bradford's Law and
Garfield's Law definition of such sets is impossible.  You are always going
to have exogenous variables if you use citations.  If you going to use
citations in evaluations, they must be used together with other
variables--the best being experta ratings if such are available.  Then you
can check for extreme outliers indicating sources of distortion.  The
evaluation must be specific to those scientists  being evaluated.  It is
not possible define mathematically sets universally applicable.

The one thing that really bothers me about European research is that they
seem to assume that citations are valid measures of quality.  It then
concentrates on find some mathematical technique supposedly capable of
measuring quality.  This research seems woefully short of studies of the
opinions of actual scientists as well as the institutional and social bases
of citations.  It seems to boil down to fascination with new
gimmickry--latest being the present fad with the Hirsch index,  Compared
with the work done by the American Council on Education and the US National
Research Council it is quite crude--even the vaunted British RAE.  What the
Americans have found is that no matter how carefully you do it, you always
crap it up somehow.


Loet Leydesdorff <loet at LEYDESDORFF.NET>@LISTSERV.UTK.EDU> on 03/09/2006
12:25:45 AM

Please respond to ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics

Sent by:    ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics

cc:     (bcc: Stephen J Bensman/notsjb/LSU)

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

> What's not to laugh about it?  There probably is no better
> way to do it.
> SB

Let me then repeat the problem: comparisons in terms of impact factors,
etc., are valid only within cognitive domains with common citation and
publication practices. In other words, citation graphs among journals have
different densities and this affects the impact factors in the
domains. For example, impact factors of immunology journals are much higher
than impact factors of toxicology journals.

The delineation of the sets in which one can compare thus matters. We know
that this delineation cannot be perfect, but it matters how good they are.
Increasingly evaluation commission and scientometric researchers seem to
assume that the ISI subject categories are valid delineation of domains
within which one can make comparisons. The article by Bollen et al. was a
point in case.

With best wishes,

Loet Leydesdorff
Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR),
Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam.
Tel.: +31-20- 525 6598; fax: +31-20- 525 3681;
loet at ;

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