Re: [xmca] Publish or Perish indices

From: Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth who-is-at>
Date: Mon Nov 05 2007 - 09:12:36 PST

Dear David,
I don't think it leads to loss of memory, but is more like a snow
ball. In the sciences where the impact factor counts for a lot,
review times lie around 3 week! In MCA, I ATTEMPT to get reviews back
within 3 months. There are many social science journals where it
takes 6 months, 12 months, and sometimes 24 months to get an article

In the hard sciences, objects and tools are transformed rather
quickly, leading to new artifacts. In the social sciences, this is
less a case, as is collaboration----check out sociology,
anthropology, social studies of science, where there are single
author requirements at the universities. A SCIENCE article recently
showed that collaborations tended to be higher in quality, more


On 5-Nov-07, at 8:58 AM, Michael Glassman wrote:


I agree with you on many counts - another trouble with journals with
high ISI ratings is that they tend to be very immediate and concerned
with research that is occurring at the moment (and because references
are so important, concerned with research that they think will be
referenced in the immediate environment). I fear this leads to the
loss of much institutional memory of ideas and where they came from,
and what we have accomplished and what we are looking to accomplish.
Also ideas that are out of favor in the immediate political
environment tend not to get as much consideration. Andy made a
poignant point about how we don't read or know Marx in the United
States. This is really true, because discussions of Marx really
aren't part of the current publishing market. But the same thing can
be said about Freud and sadly often times about Dewey and Mead, in
spite of their extraorindary contributions to our current society.

I hope to go and read the Tomasello articles and see if he has
referenced the many thinkers who have made the point of cooperative
human cognition to this point, and the way they struggled with it.
This is an issue that has come up again and again, the degree to
which cooperation is an innate human experience.



From: on behalf of David Preiss
Sent: Mon 11/5/2007 11:44 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Publish or Perish indices

Hi Peter,

I think that, as always, everything depends on context. I know of
places that use the impact factor of journals to estimate economic
incentives for academic publications. If we follow this policy
strictly we better don't do any research on education at all and jump
into more lucrative fields such as neuroscience (please read
ironically) . What goes wrong with this policy, and softer ones such
as assesing an academic according to the journals where he or she
publishes, is that nobody care about the IDEAS the person is thinking
and everything get reduced to superficial quantitative measures. So
someone can be a JPSP author instead of a social psychologist that
studies prejudice, for instance. How would have been rated, for
instance, Jean Piaget's books according to these rankings? Or
Vygotsky's? Or Freud's? Most of their contributions are not in
journals but in enduring books, that old and neglected medium for

On Nov 5, 2007, at 11:05 AM, Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:

> Hi Peter, thanks for your comments. David IS right in some sense,
> as I get frequent requests for measures of quality, often times
> what our rejection rate is, when people come up for tenure. Tenure
> committees, too, contact me to find out about rejection rates. And
> I don't think this is a good measure for the quality of a journal.
> Cheers,
> Michael
> On 5-Nov-07, at 2:49 AM, Peter Smagorinsky wrote:
> David, I think you overstate the case. Many people are taking
> risks--just check
> the vitas of the people on this list. And I've found that journals
> are very
> receptive to out-of-the-box studies, as long as they're done with
> sufficient
> rigor, and with rigor broadly defined.
> While impact ratings carry some weight, I've never heard them used
> in any
> tenure/promotion cases at 2 universities. Rather, journal
> reputations carry
> weight. And so MCA's rep matters more than its impact rating.
> Like many of you, I'm on several editorial boards and so don't see
> any reason to
> cite work just because it's published in a particular journal; I
> try to cite whatever
> informs my work. If MCA articles fit that profile, then they get
> cited, but not
> gratuitously to elevate an impact score. If boosting that score is
> an editorial
> goal, then the best approach is to continue publishing scholarship
> that has an
> impact on other people's thinking and writing.
> Peter
> ---- Original message ----
>> Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2007 02:19:00 -0300
>> From: David Preiss <>
>> Subject: Re: [xmca] Publish or Perish indices
>> To:, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
> <>
>> Mike,
>> Echoing your words, it never stops to astonish me how the use of
>> these indexes is transforming university activity in a very negative
>> way. In my opinion, the first impact of ISI is that nobody can take
>> risks, nobody can get out of the mainstream, and... nobody can do
>> science in any language that is not English. I wonder when these
>> indexes started to become so popular, as to settle as the final
>> criterion to judge the intellectual productivity of an academic and
>> to become standards to be imitated by the developing world.
>> I really would love to learn about what the most experienced people
>> in this list have to say about the use of ISI and how the inclusion
>> of the Internet radicalized the "indexation" of human intellect.
>> There is a real cultural-historical process behind it and I can think
>> of a very nice application of Yrjö Engëstrom diagrams to the nature
>> of academic life these days. A new ivory tower, whose ceiling is the
>> impact factor of a journal?
>> David
>> On Nov 4, 2007, at 10:45 PM, Mike Cole wrote:
>>> Very helpful, Michael.
>>> The "publish or perish site," as Peter noted, is interesting. It is
>>> not
>>> error free. You need to go through their "hits" and clean it
>>> up but it includes a LOT of pubs that ISI does not touch. Of
>>> course, given
>>> the "join our fraternity of experts" role of ISI that may
>>> not cut it with everyone, but the additional info is important.
>>> Meantime, how about we get great research done that transforms the
>>> world.
>>> People might recognize it has happened (of course,
>>> given the retrospective nature of such recognition we will not be
>>> around to
>>> witness it, but think how happy our progeny will be!)
>>> :-)
>>> mike
>>> On Nov 4, 2007 5:25 PM, Wolff-Michael Roth <> wrote:
>>>> Hi all,
>>>> further to the issue of how to get our journal more valorized. Here
>>>> the Thompson information in impact factor, which is the factor most
>>>> scientists consider to be the important thing to watch (SCIENCE has
>>>> IF=30, NATURE IF=27, J LEARN SCI IF~3). Here is how it is
>>>> calculated
>>>> Figure 1: Calculation for journal impact factor.
>>>> A= total cites in 2006
>>>> B= 2006 cites to articles published in 2004-5 (this is a subset
>>>> of A)
>>>> C= number of articles published in 2004-5
>>>> D= B/C = 2006 impact factor
>>>> I did a quick count. In 2006, we had B=11 cites to articles
>>>> published
>>>> in 2004-5
>>>> We had published C=(I don't know whether they count commentaries,
>>>> book reviews, assuming they don't:) 21
>>>> D=B/C=0.52
>>>> In Education, this would put us at a rank of about 49 out of 100
>>>> journals; in Ed Psych on 27 out of 40, in Social Sciences
>>>> Interdisciplinary at rank 31 of 48. I also believe that the
>>>> citations
>>>> have to come from other journals, at least, this is what a quick
>>>> check in another journal appeared to indicate (J LEARN SCI,
>>>> which is
>>>> #1 in Education, #2 in PSYCH ED).
>>>> So what you can do is publish in ISI journals, and when you do,
>>>> cite
>>>> works in our journal MCA.
>>>> Cheers,
>>>> Michael
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> xmca mailing list
>> David Preiss, Ph.D.
>> Subdirector de Extensión y Comunicaciones
>> Escuela de Psicología
>> Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
>> Av Vicuña Mackenna 4860
>> Macul, Santiago
>> Chile
>> Fono: 3544605
>> Fax: 3544844
>> e-mail:
>> web personal:
>> web institucional:
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David Preiss, Ph.D.
Subdirector de Extensión y Comunicaciones
Escuela de Psicología
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Av Vicuña Mackenna 4860
Macul, Santiago

Fono: 3544605
Fax: 3544844
web personal:
web institucional:

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Received on Mon Nov 5 09:32 PST 2007

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