CFP workshop on Methodological Issues in Using Curricula Vitae

Boyack, Kevin W kboyack at SANDIA.GOV
Tue Mar 6 13:58:12 EST 2007

Dear Loet,
While I agree that we need a new and better journal classification system, I am unwilling to throw out the ISI classifications just yet. Although the assignments are ad hoc, they are far from random. Although there is no standardized analytical basis that is applied consistently across all journals, there is some analytical basis in the minds of the presumably smart people making the assignments.
Contrary to your findings, in Boyack, Klavans & Börner (2005). Mapping the backbone of science. Scientometrics, 64(3), 351-374 we found that the ISI categories corresponded quite closely with journal clusterings based on intercitation in many cases (better than half of the clusters), but not so well in the remainder. In other words, it's a mixed bag. Further, if one looks at pairs of highly related journals, for instance the top 10 related journals for each journal, they occur in the same ISI category roughly 90% of the time over the entire SCIE/SSCI (Klavans & Boyack (2006). Identifying a better measure of relatedness for mapping science. JASIST, 57(2), 251-263). The pairwise accuracy does vary by journal, so there is still much room for improvement.
To sum up, while not perfect, the ISI codes are a reasonable starting point for many applications. In addition, I have yet to see anyone make available a suitable and more accurate alternative that we can all use. I would welcome such a contribution.
Best regards,


From: ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics [mailto:SIGMETRICS at] On Behalf Of Loet Leydesdorff
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2007 10:32 AM
Subject: Re: [SIGMETRICS] CFP workshop on Methodological Issues in Using Curricula Vitae

Dear Jesper,  

	If researchers normally are active in many different journals covering 15-20 different subject codes what does that say about using the ISI codes for definition of specialties? 

Using the ISI codes for the definition of specialties is not a good idea. The categories have no analytical basis. They are ad hoc, as our colleagues at ISI admit.  I found no strong relations between the subject categories and principal components in the citation matrix, for example, in: 

Can Scientific Journals be Classified in terms of Aggregated Journal-Journal Citation Relations using the Journal Citation Reports? Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 57(5) (2006) 601-613. 

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 <mailto:loet at> ; <>  

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