Journals under threat?

07/01/2009 at 13:11 Leave a comment

The European Science Foundation is trying to establish a European rating system for humanities journals (ERIH). The resulting list would classify journals according to their quality in three groups (A, B, C) and could then serve as some kind of metric in the humanities. I am not a big fan of metrics in science evaluation for a lot of reasons. One of them is that if the main purpose of them is that administrators get an easy decision tool to cut funding, then this does not improve science at all. (Most probably science gets worse.) But establishing metrics on the journal-level is an even worse idea as has been discussed many times for the case of the impact factors.

I am thus kind of supportive of the joint response from ten editors distancing themselves from the ESF journal policy. However, publishing the joint response with restricted access, e.g. in Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, and trying to charge the reader $31.50 (I kid you not!) points to the real threat for journals: restricted access. Journals will be fine with or without ERIH. Their answer to the challenge from the open access-movement, on the other hand, will determine their fate.

The joint response can be read here, free of charge. If ERIH would incorporate metainformation about the journals like rejection rates, review times, publication times, etc. then I might even become a supporter.

Entry filed under: Commercialization of science, Publishing, Science policy. Tags: , , , .

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