[ALGTOP-L] Re: Citation indices and journal assessment

R Brown ronnie.profbrown at btinternet.com
Mon Dec 15 09:53:57 EST 2008

Dev Sinha refers interestingly to a `better metric'. 

In some ways this indicates the problem to which John Ewing refers, and is discussed in the IMU report. Citation itself is variable, has no agreed standards, and is subject in various degrees to the usual human factors of laziness, ignorance, prejudice and moral hazard, or whatever. (Who cites Ed Halpern in relation to Hopf Algebras, which he called Hyperalgebras?) It amazes me that such initial data problems can be transformed by some alchemy into numbers such as 0.0040427 or 4.8546. Am I just getting too old? 

It is however important that all these devices should be open and subject to scrutiny. A problem with Thomson/ISI is that their procedures and quality assurance are not public. 

a url link to the IMU in the first version of 
has been corrected. 


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dev Sinha" <dps at uoregon.edu>
To: "R Brown" <ronnie.profbrown at btinternet.com>
Cc: <algtop-l at lists.lehigh.edu>
Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 10:18 PM
Subject: Re: Citation indices and journal assessment

> Impact factor is indeed a poor metric.  Carl Bergstrom, a biologist, has implemented a better metric which is essentially the dominant eigenvector algorithm for the directed graph whose vertices are journals and whose edges are citations in (articles within) those journals.  This gives you the "eigenfactor", and when you divide by the number of articles you get an "influence score."  This takes care of the differences between citation culture in different fields as well as the rigging of the system by such journals as that silly chaos theory journal with the editor who cites himself hundreds of times. See the results for math journals at:
> http://www.eigenfactor.org/results.php?fulljournalname1=&rosvcat=MATHEMATICS&year=2006&resultsperpage=100&issnnumber=&ordering=perarticle&grping=%25&nam=names&Submit=Search
> Congratulations, by the way, to the editorial board of G&T, which within ten years or so of its inception is now at #8.  That makes a pretty clear argument as to how open access, newly founded can still be of highest quality.
> Journals are not the only area where (in the language of business) we need to question the value we are getting from our vendors or (in the language of revolutionaries) we need to break our chains.  Textbooks and homework checking software and other educational resources are also areas where if we organized a bit and worked with our administration, we could save ourselves and our students a fair amount of money.
> -Dev


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