[iDC] Fwd: 22.279 journals under threat

Nicholas Knouf nak44 at cornell.edu
Tue Aug 31 15:43:25 UTC 2010

In light of this, I thought I would post about a recent project of mine,
Journal of Journal Performance studies, that deals with this very issue:


The Firefox extension is a satirical take on this movement of
"accountability" and "metrics" and is meant to be a foil to some other,
existing, projects that aim to quantify "popularity" with respect to
journal articles.  As well, bibliometric data is often copyrighted
(i.e., impact factors), so the extension plays with this as well:


I also wrote some thoughts about these issues, especially the role of
Google in directing traffic and authors potentially changing their
academic articles to be easily found via Google (this already exists
under the title of "Academic Search Engine Optimization"):


Finally, the radio component of the project suggests alternative means
of distribution of scholarly data in an age where some of the major
academic publishers are hiring litigators from the music industry to
police the spread of PDFs online:




jeremy hunsinger wrote:
> Given the recent discussion of the RAE, I thought i'd remind people of this little bit of recent history:)
> -j
> Begin forwarded message:
>> From: Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at MCCARTY.ORG.UK>
>> Date: October 17, 2008 1:51:02 AM EDT
>> To: humanist at Princeton.EDU
>> Subject: 22.279 journals under threat
>> Reply-To: Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at MCCARTY.ORG.UK>
>>              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 279.
>>      Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
>>                       www.princeton.edu/humanist/
>>                    Submit to: humanist at princeton.edu
>>        Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2008 06:39:40 +0100
>>        From: Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>>        Subject: [Fwd: journals under threat]
>> Sorry for x-posting, but I think people need to know this is likely
>> going on in their field too.
>> Journals under Threat: A Joint Response from History of Science,
>> Technology and Medicine Editors
>> We live in an age of metrics. All around us, things are being
>> standardized, quantified, measured. Scholars concerned with the work of
>> science and technology must regard this as a fascinating and crucial
>> practical, cultural and intellectual phenomenon. Analysis of the roots
>> and meaning of metrics and metrology has been a preoccupation of much of
>> the best work in our field for the past quarter century at least. As
>> practitioners of the interconnected disciplines that make up the field
>> of science studies we understand how significant, contingent and
>> uncertain can be the process of rendering nature and society in grades,
>> classes and numbers. We now confront a situation in which our own
>> research work is being subjected to putatively precise accountancy by
>> arbitrary and unaccountable agencies.
>> Some may already be aware of the proposed European Reference Index for
>> the Humanities (ERIH), an initiative originating with the European
>> Science Foundation. The ERIH is an attempt to grade journals in the
>> humanities - including "history and philosophy of science". The
>> initiative proposes a league table of academic journals, with premier,
>> second and third divisions. According to the European Science
>> Foundation, ERIH "aims initially to identify, and gain more visibility
>> for, top-quality European Humanities research published in academic
>> journals in, potentially, all European languages". It is hoped "that
>> ERIH will form the backbone of a fully-fledged research information
>> system for the Humanities". What is meant, however, is that ERIH will
>> provide funding bodies and other agencies in Europe and elsewhere with
>> an allegedly exact measure of research quality. In short, if research is
>> published in a premier league journal it will be recognized as first
>> rate; if it appears somewhere in the lower divisions, it will be rated
>> (and not funded) accordingly.
>> This initiative is entirely defective in conception and execution.
>> Consider the major issues of accountability and transparency. The
>> process of producing the graded list of journals in science studies was
>> overseen by a committee of four (the membership is currently listed at
>> http://www.esf.org/research-areas/humanities/research-
>> infrastructures-including-erih/erih-governance-and-panels/erih-expert-
>> panel s .html). This committee cannot be considered representative. It
>> was not selected in consultation with any of the various disciplinary
>> organizations that currently represent our field such as the European
>> Association for the History of Medicine and Health, the Society for the
>> Social History of Medicine, the British Society for the History of
>> Science, the History of Science Society, the Philosophy of Science
>> Association, the Society for the History of Technology or the Society
>> for Social Studies of Science. Journal editors were only belatedly
>> informed of the process and its relevant criteria or asked to provide
>> any information regarding their publications.
>> No indication hgiven of the means through which the list was compiled;
>> nor how it might be maintained in the future. The ERIH depends on a
>> fundamental misunderstanding of conduct and publication of research in
>> our field, and in the humanities in general. Journals' quality cannot be
>> separated from their contents and their review processes. Great research
>> may be published anywhere and in any language. Truly ground-breaking
>> work may be more likely to appear from marginal, dissident or unexpected
>> sources, rather than from a well-established and entrenched mainstream.
>> Our journals are various, heterogeneous and distinct. Some are aimed at
>> a broad, general and international readership, others are more
>> specialized in their content and implied audience. Their scope and
>> readership say nothing about the quality of their intellectual content.
>> The ERIH, on the other hand, confuses internationality with quality in a
>> way that is particularly prejudicial to specialist and non-English
>> language journals.
>> In a recent report, the British Academy, with judicious understatement,
>> concludes that "the European Reference Index for the Humanities as
>> presently conceived does not represent a reliable way in which metrics
>> of peer-reviewed publications can be constructed" (Peer Review: the
>> Challenges for the Humanities and Social Sciences, September 2007:
>> http://www.britac.ac.uk/reports/peer-review). Such exercises as ERIH can
>> become self- fulfilling prophecies. If such measures as ERIH are adopted
>> as metrics by funding and other agencies, then many in our field will
>> conclude that they have little choice other than to limit their
>> publications to journals in the premier division. We will sustain fewer
>> journals, much less diversity and impoverish our discipline. Along with
>> many others in our field, this Journal has concluded that we want no
>> part of this dangerous and misguided exercise. This joint Editorial is
>> being published in journals across the fields of history of science and
>> science studies as an expression of our collective dissent and our
>> refusal to allow our field to be managed and appraised in this fashion.
>> We have asked the compilers of the ERIH to remove our journals' titles
>> from their lists.
>> Hanne Andersen (Centaurus)
>> Roger Ariew & Moti Feingold (Perspectives on Science)
>> A. K. Bag (Indian Journal of History of Science)
>> June Barrow-Green & Benno van Dalen (Historia mathematica)
>> Keith Benson (History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences)
>> Marco Beretta (Nuncius)
>> Michel Blay (Revue d'Histoire des Sciences)
>> Cornelius Borck (Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte)
>> Geof Bowker and Susan Leigh Star (Science, Technology and Human Values)
>> Massimo Bucciantini & Michele Camerota (Galilaeana: Journal of Galilean
>> Studies)
>> Jed Buchwald and Jeremy Gray (Archive for History of Exacft Sciences)
>> Vincenzo Cappelletti & Guido Cimino (Physis)
>> Roger Cline (International Journal for the History of Engineering &
>> Technology)
>> Stephen Clucas & Stephen Gaukroger (Intellectual History Review)
>> Hal Cook & Anne Hardy (Medical History)
>> Leo Corry, Alexandre Métraux & Jürgen Renn (Science in Context)
>> D.Diecks & J.Uffink (Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern
>> Physics)
>> Brian Dolan & Bill Luckin (Social History of Medicine)
>> Hilmar Duerbeck & Wayne Orchiston (Journal of Astronomical History &
>> Heritage)
>> Moritz Epple, Mikael Hård, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger & Volker Roelcke (NTM:
>> Zeitschrift für
>> Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin)
>> Steven French (Metascience)
>> Willem Hackmann (Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society)
>> Bosse Holmqvist (Lychnos) Paul Farber (Journal of the History of
>> Biology)
>> Mary Fissell & Randall Packard (Bulletin of the History of Medicine)
>> Robert Fox (Notes & Records of the Royal Society)
>> Jim Good (History of the Human Sciences)
>> Michael Hoskin (Journal for the History of Astronomy)
>> Ian Inkster (History of Technology)
>> Marina Frasca Spada (Studies in History and Philosophy of Science)
>> Nick Jardine (Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and
>> Biomedical
>> Sciences)
>> Trevor Levere (Annals of Science)
>> Bernard Lightman (Isis)
>> Christoph Lüthy (Early Science and Medicine)
>> Michael Lynch (Social Studies of Science)
>> Stephen McCluskey & Clive Ruggles (Archaeostronomy: the Journal of
>> Astronomy in
>> Culture)
>> Peter Morris (Ambix)
>> E. Charles Nelson (Archives of Natural History)
>> Ian Nicholson (Journal of the History of the Behavioural Sciences)
>> Iwan Rhys Morus (History of Science)
>> John Rigden & Roger H Stuewer (Physics in Perspective)
>> Simon Schaffer (British Journal for the History of Science)
>> Paul Unschuld (Sudhoffs Archiv)
>> Peter Weingart (Minerva)
>> Stefan Zamecki (Kwartalnik Historii Nauki i Techniki)
>> Viviane Quirke
>> RCUK Academic Fellow in twentieth-century Biomedicine
>> Secretary of the BSHS
>> Centre for Health, Medicine and Society
>> Oxford Brookes University
> jeremy hunsinger
> Center for Digital Discourse and Culture
> Virginia Tech
> www.tmttlt.com
> ()  ascii ribbon campaign - against html mail
> /\                        - against microsoft attachments
> http://www.stswiki.org/  sts wiki
> http://transdisciplinarystudies.tmttlt.com/  Transdisciplinary Studies:the book series
> _______________________________________________
> iDC -- mailing list of the Institute for Distributed Creativity (distributedcreativity.org)
> iDC at mailman.thing.net
> https://mailman.thing.net/mailman/listinfo/idc
> List Archive:
> http://mailman.thing.net/pipermail/idc/
> iDC Photo Stream:
> http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/idcnetwork/
> RSS feed:
> http://rss.gmane.org/gmane.culture.media.idc
> iDC Chat on Facebook:
> http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2457237647
> Share relevant URLs on Del.icio.us by adding the tag iDCref

More information about the iDC mailing list