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I am part of a committee tasked to create a policy on creating incentives for publications of university employees. Right now, the highest incentive award is given to publications in journals "indexed in Web of Science or Scopus." I would like to rewrite the policy so that it is more general, that is, open to the possibility that there are other highly regarded bibliographic database and index services. I am aware that there are many predatory journal indexing services, and I want to exclude these.

How do I define a reputable journal indexing service?

  • Would it be possible to reword it so each subject gets to select one (or a few) indexing services that they deem relevant and reputable? So for example for mathematics one could list MathSciNet and/or Zentralblatt – Tobias Kildetoft Feb 3 '16 at 10:03
  • @TobiasKildetoft This question is also about non-topical indexing services (WoS and Scopus are not restricted to a particular subject). For instance, CrossRef (search.crossref.org) or BASE (base-search.net) have a broad coverage. – pintoch Feb 3 '16 at 12:10
  • @pintoch Sure, there is no reason some subject could not name one or more of these assuming those are the ones that provide broad coverage in that subject. – Tobias Kildetoft Feb 3 '16 at 12:12
  • @TobiasKildetoft, the policy applies to the whole university. If necessary, I suppose I can look for the most highly regarded indexing services in the main fields of academic study, but I'm hoping for a way to avoid explicitly naming the indexing services. – Joel Reyes Noche Feb 3 '16 at 12:40
  • @pintoch CrossRef is not an indexing service (in the context it's meant here), surely? – Andrew Feb 3 '16 at 14:34
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I think that there is a critical distinction to be made here between defining reputable indexing services and identifying such services.

I suspect that for most well-established scholars, it is relatively straightforward to identify whether an indexing service is reputable or not. For example, if you talk to a computer scientist, they'll point to DBLP, MathSciNet is a good one for mathematicians as noted in the comments, and PubMed is good for life sciences. Random predatory anything is usually pretty easy to determine with a little bit of research.

In order to define "reputable indexing service" for the sake of policy, then, I would suggest that it is likely to be effective to have a process by which faculty members can request an index be considered and then a few internal and external experts in the field are asked to certify whether the index is reputable or not. That way, there's not a formal definition enshrined in policy that might be evaded by technicalities, but instead some human judgement is involved.

  • Thank you for this. I agree that your approach might be the most practical. I will seriously consider it. – Joel Reyes Noche Feb 3 '16 at 12:41
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I have been using Scimago Journal & Country Rank

It's apparently powered by Scopus. You can select among different science fields and see the top journals.

Journals are put in categories of quality (can be different for each field in multidisciplinary journals).

You can rank the journals per field or see how a specific journal performs now and in the last years.

You could generally aim at publishing in Q1 journals, rather than simply journals indexed by Scopus and Web of Science.

I hope it helps.

  • Thank you, but this doesn't seem to answer my question. I'm looking for a way to identify (or a definition of) "a reputable indexing service." – Joel Reyes Noche Dec 20 '16 at 13:20
  • @JoelReyesNoche I misread "avoiding predatory indeces" as "avoiding predatory journals"... In that case, I could add that a way to identify a reputable indexing service would be by setting your own requirements for such an index, e.g. high citations, rather than (only) high pageviews. – BioGeo Dec 20 '16 at 13:41
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I sounds like you want to identify reputable publication channels, and not indexing services (which can be a source of information on publication channels though). Several countries have produced such lists, and it might be useful for you to look at some of these, or use them directly in guidelines to researchers. These lists are usually created by consulting experts in different scientific fields or having permanent panels of experts that review the different publication channels.

Two such examples are:

  • Thank you, but this doesn't seem to answer my question. I'm looking for a way to identify (or a definition of) "a reputable indexing service." – Joel Reyes Noche Dec 20 '16 at 13:19
  • @JoelReyesNoche I dont think there are any general way to identify what is "reputable indexing service". Since your aim seems to be to incentivize publication in certain publication channels I instead suggested that you look at lists that aim to include "reputable" journals. These lists usually take indexing in different databases into account, but also other sources of information (such as if journals can be deemed "predatory"). The indexing in particular databases can be a useful proxy for "reputability" but is surely not the only source of information. – fileunderwater Dec 20 '16 at 13:35
  • If it is possible to have a list of "reputable" journals, then wouldn't it be possible to have a list of "reputable" journal indexing services? – Joel Reyes Noche Dec 20 '16 at 13:37
  • @JoelReyesNoche Sure, I just don't think that there are any such lists. But you can of course create one for your own purpose. I just think that a list of publication venues would be more relevant and useful to your researchers, instead of a list of indexing services (since researchers choose journals to publish in, not indexing services). If you give them a list of indexing services they will have to wade thought these to see which journals are indexed where, and the incentive will be rather indirect. And there might still be other sources of information to determine if channels are reputable – fileunderwater Dec 20 '16 at 13:40

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