Critics have lengthy bashed Clarivate Analytics’s journal affect issue, complaining that the metric, which stories common citations per article, has methodological flaws that help deceptive comparisons of journals and researchers. Right now, the corporate unveiled an alternate metric that improves on a few of these flaws by permitting extra correct comparisons of journals in several disciplines.
The brand new Journal Quotation Indicator (JCI) accounts for the considerably totally different charges of publication and quotation in several fields, Clarivate says. However the transfer is drawing little reward from the critics, who say the brand new metric stays weak to misunderstanding and misuse.
The announcement comes as a part of the corporate’s 2021 launch of its Journal Quotation Studies database. It consists of the most recent journal affect components and different journal analytics. Amongst these is the brand new JCI, which averages citations gathered by a journal over 3 years of publications, in contrast with simply 2 years for the affect issue. What’s extra, Clarivate says the JCI consists of journals not lined by the affect issue, together with some within the arts and humanities, in addition to regional journals or these from “rising” scientific fields.
The JCI is “a step ahead” and “higher late than by no means,” says Henk Moed, a bibliometrician and editor-in-chief of the journal Scholarly Evaluation Studies. Its major advance, he explains, shouldn’t be new in any respect: For many years, researchers in bibliometrics have been growing strategies to check quotation affect throughout disciplines. For example, the place math papers may cite only a handful of sources, biochemistry papers generally have quotation lists with dozens and even tons of of entries. So, “It’s not an indication of high quality that biochemistry papers are cited extra,” Moed says. Impression components, which merely complete up citations with out accounting for the norm in a discipline, miss this reality.
For that purpose, in 2010, Moed developed the methodology for a distinct metric—the Supply Normalized Impression by Paper (SNIP)—that was adopted by a Clarivate competitor, the publishing large Elsevier, in its Scopus bibliometric database.
Now, Clarivate’s JCI, which makes use of a distinct methodology, supplies a metric much like the SNIP for the journals in its Journal Quotation Studies database. That can strengthen Clarivate’s place available in the market, Moed says.
However Clarivate’s announcement leaves lots to be desired, together with transparency, says Marianne Gauffriau, a analysis librarian at Copenhagen College Library. The corporate’s white paper describing the brand new metric doesn’t cite any of the substantial literature revealed by bibliometricians through the years, she says. The issue extends additional than simply giving credit score the place it’s due, as a result of the shortage of quotation makes it unimaginable to know what previous classes and analysis Clarivate has baked into the JCI: “There are lots of people working to attempt to enhance these indicators,” she says. “You must use that information.”
There may be additionally the danger that, just like the affect issue, the JCI can be used inappropriately, Gauffriau says. Regularly, evaluators for tenure awards and different choices use such metrics to evaluate the scholarly output of researchers, establishments, and particular person publications—a apply that’s typically criticized by bibliometricians as a flawed option to choose high quality.
Clarivate has tried to go off misuse of the JCI from the beginning, says Martin Szomszor, director of the corporate’s Institute for Scientific Info. It has made clear in describing the JCI that it’s not designed for assessing particular person researchers. “In the event you’re utilizing this in a analysis analysis setting, that is most likely a nasty factor,” he says. “Don’t do it.” He says the supposed use is for individuals who personal portfolios of journals—together with publishers, college presses, and society journals—to see how their journals stack up throughout fields. However, Moed counters, the analytics trade ought to put extra effort into explaining the boundaries of the indications they provide.
The JCI is unlikely to elbow out the broadly used journal affect issue any time quickly, Szomszor says. Clarivate will wait to see how broadly the metric is adopted, giving it an opportunity to develop as a parallel choice.
However regardless of its many sturdy factors, the JCI may not, in fact, gain much traction, says publishing guide Phil Davis. Primarily based on the lukewarm uptake of different, related metrics—like Elsevier’s SNIP—the brand new indicator might have a troublesome path forward, he says: “I imagine the JCI can be largely ignored, like SNIP.”