journal publication and journal lists

Martin Haspelmath haspelmath at EVA.MPG.DE
Mon Mar 29 17:02:58 UTC 2010

Jan Anward wrote:
> If there were a citation index that would register articles, book 
> chapters, and books cited in peer reviewed articles, book chapters, 
> and books, possibly from a selection of journals and publishers, I 
> think there would be a more general acceptance of such measures in our 
> field. As it is now, only one ninth of the citations of our works are 
> counted.
Yes, but it looks like our field has to adapt to what is nomal in the 
sciences (if we want to be funded like the sciences), so if we published 
more in journals (and less in edited volumes), then the status of 
linguistics would rise, regardless of the actual quality of linguists' 
work. It would be a purely political move, but an effective one, and it 
would only require to make some changes in habits, not any substantial 

On the other hand, I don't think we necessarily have to accept the 
supreme authority of Thomson (a big company owned by shareholders with 
no interest in science). It may well be that for the time being, we will 
do better with an "expert-opinion-based rather than citation-derived" 
system such as ERIH. Maybe our publiction habits (e.g. the number of 
papers we publish) will never become very similar to those of the 
best-funded sciences.

Andrew Koontz-Garboden wrote:

> once a proposal is accepted, it is a *single* reviewer that has the 
> final say on the completed manuscript, by contrast with journals, 
> which tend to have two to three reviewers, in addition to the 
> (associate) editor looking at the entire manuscript. Is this the idea 
> behind your statement, Martin, or was there something more?
Well, it's also that journals are easier to "measure", and many of them 
are owned by scientists, not by private companies (mostly by scholarly 
associations). I've seen a French proposal to assess the quality of 
books by ranking publishers in a similar way as journals, but that seems 
very problematic. Publishers should not get endorsements from scientists 
for reasons having to do little with the quality of the publishers' work.

(On the other hand, in the humanities a monograph tends to count more 
simply because more work goes into it, and replacing this measure by 
page numbers, or even word numbers in purely online publications, will 
take our field a while.)


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