[Sigmetrics] Validity of Journal IF

Stephen J Bensman notsjb at lsu.edu
Sat Mar 11 09:35:21 EST 2017


I was surprised that my contribution made it through, because my server was blocking my sendings for being a "spoofer" getting ready to hack everybody on this listserv.  Shades of the DNC.  I may be horrified at how many of my comments made it through because I was fighting this thing.

You are right about the field of development but things are field dependent, and I do not want to get  into technicalities.  That is your specialty.  On a general level, I always thought that the IF would a good way to judge the rank of various programs.  By IF journals distribute in the usual power-law fashion with a slope/exponent of probably about 2.  One could take a given program like biotech at Amsterdam and check how far out on the asymptote the journals in which it publishes are.  The more of them further out and particularly at the right tip of the asymptote they are, the higher the contribution of the program to its field.  This would be according to Gene's theoretical conception of the IF.

I am sure that you could whip together a measurement like this in a whiffy, including comparative program measurements.

Steve B.

From: loet at leydesdorff.net <leydesdorff at gmail.com> on behalf of Loet Leydesdorff <loet at leydesdorff.net>
Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2017 12:42:56 AM
To: Stephen J Bensman; sigmetrics at mail.asis.org
Subject: RE: [Sigmetrics] Validity of Journal IF

Dear Stephen,

I learned from you that IFs were developed for fields like bio-medicine with high turn-over rates at a research front. The model was provided by Martyn, J., & Gilchrist, A. (1968). An Evaluation of British Scientific Journals. London: Aslib.

Review journals have a long cited half-life time. One would not expect to be able to predict the citation of review articles within a two-year window, wouldn’t one?


From: SIGMETRICS [mailto:sigmetrics-bounces at asis.org] On Behalf Of Stephen J Bensman
Sent: Friday, March 10, 2017 8:36 PM
To: sigmetrics at mail.asis.org
Subject: [Sigmetrics] Validity of Journal IF

Journal IF is a valid measure mainly because of the role of the review article in the scientific information system.  In general review journals have the highest IF, and it is for this reason Garfield made it his key measure.  In general you have to be invited to write a review article, and you are invited because journal editors know you.  I discuss all these matter in my articles Gene Garfield has posted on his Web site.  I have spent my entire career analyzing why Garfield was so important.  Basically I am a historian, and the role of the historian is to make other people famous--not yourself.  For example, Garfield was the grandfather of the Google search engine for showing relationships--not words--are semantically correct.  I also discuss these matters in papers posted on my Google Scholar citations page, which I have made public.  If you read these materials, I only hope you find that I have done him justice.


Stephen J. Bensman, Ph.D.

LSU Libraries (Retired)
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