Wednesday, 5 November 2008

ISI and CM&E

Andy Dainty and I met today to discuss various aspects of the journal. Among other things, we crystallized some thoughts about the journal's status in relation to ISI, and drafted this message for distribution to the CNBR, Co-operative Network for Building Researchers, about 2,000 construction academics around the world:

The perennial issue of ISI listing is growing more urgent in many parts of the world. The editorial board of CM&E are as interested as any of our authors in getting the journal included in ISI. It will be good for our field in general if more of our journals are included in the list. But inclusion is not easy, because it involves a process of application and the auditing by ISI of various kinds of evidence in a process that usually takes 18-24 months, resulting in a decision that produces no qualitative feedback by way of explanation. We have applied before, but in the process of thinking through this and examining the information in the public domain about ISI, there are some key points about what needs to change if journals like CM&E are to become included in the ISI database.

There is always a tension between fundamental and applied research, especially in our area, because our work is almost always applied research, and therefore, usually multi-disciplinary. The problems that we experience are common in multi-disciplinary fields. We often refer to the more mono-disciplinary areas in which theories are developed as mainstream. Multi-disciplinary, applied research tends to be more theory-testing than theory-building.

If anything is to change in terms of where our work fits in relation to the mainstream journals, as an academic community we need to do two things. First, ensure that the papers we write are citing the theory-building literature in mainstream journals and second, aim to publish papers in mainstream journals that cite the literature in our applied field. Any examination of citations in Google Scholar reveals that most construction management work refers only to the journals in our field, and is cited only from the journals in our field. Clearly, there is a lot that can be done by authors in this field to raise the profile of our work and make the kind of connections with mainstream journals that would make ISI inclusion more likely, not just for CM&E, but for a wider range of our journals.

1 comment:

Will Hughes said...

The first response to this posting when it was distributed on CNBR, and my response to it:

Dear Will,
I consider ISI listing of CME is of crucial importance to academics. I have argued very hard in our university that CME is one of the top journals in CM. However, the argument is always attacked by colleagues from other departments within the University and we lack some solid justifications to confirm it. I know the time of application is long but still it deserves to wait.
C M Tam
I think we all agree that this is of crucial importance. Let me reassure you that we shall continue to push for this.
The point we were trying to make is that there is not enough connection between CM literature and that of other departments within your University. If the authors of papers in our field do not start to make these connections, we will remain excluded and un-cited. The answer is in our own collective hands. In every paper we write, and every paper we review, we should be seeking to connect with the mainstream body of theory that underpins it, and to inform that mainstream body of theory.

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