Monday, 3 November 2008

CM&E and the benefits of ISI listing

We are having a discussion among the editorial board members of this journal. It has long been our aim to be included in the ISI citations index. The idea of this is that a journal article, an author, a university or a journal can be rated by the number of times that it is cited by others. The ISI Web of Knowledge, as it is now known, tracks citations to all of the journal articles published in the papers that it lists. This is seen as a very powerful method of evaluating the quality of scientific output (see, for example, Judge, T.A., Cable, D.M., Colbert, A.E. and Rynes, S.L. (2007) What causes a management article to be cited – article, author or journal? Academy of Management Journal, 50(3), 491-506.) The trouble is, Construction Management and Economics is not included! Obviously most of those who write for this journal know that it would be better for our academic community if we were included, so we often get requests asking us why we are not. The fact is that it is no trivial matter to apply for listing and we have done so three times (at least). Each time, we spend months putting together the case, and then wait a year or so for a response from ISI. Sufficient time has elapsed since our last attempt for us to now try again, and there are interesting discussions taking place among our editorial board members about what this all means.

One thing that I often raise in this debate is the idea that a journal does not actually have to be listed for papers in it to be cited. I have often thought that if writers in listed journals referred to papers in CM&E, then our authors and our journal would have an impact factor. I'm not 100% sure about this, because I cannot find any evidence in the ISI pages that there are any citations to non-listed journals. But if it were true, then the people clamouring to get our journal included in the list should really be seeking to write the kind of papers that get cited! Whatever the case, if authors' papers were cited from listed journals, then our listing would be more or less inevitable. And we shall be applying again soon, and doing everything we can to get CM&E included in ISI lists. It is simply too important to ignore.

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