Friday, May 23, 2008

Article of Dr. Isagani Cruz about the Workshop on Scholarly Publications

Note: Dr. Isagani Cruz is a columnist in the Philippine Star (a daily newspaper). Yesterday (5/22/08) Dr. Cruz published an article about the Workshop on Publisching Scholarly Journals sponsored by the Interantional Network fro the Availabiltiy of of Scientific Publications (INASP) and the Philippine Association of Scholarly and Academic Publishers (PASAP). See related blog entry:

Below is the article of Dr. Isagai Cruz

(Source: )

My Bucket List 2
Isagani Cruz
Thursday, May 22, 2008

Second on my bucket list is getting Philippine journals to join Philippines Journals Online (PJOL). This wish is about to be completely fulfilled, with the coming to Manila this week of two key persons from the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), which sponsors PJOL. INASP's Sioux Cumming (publishing programme officer) and Julie Walker (head of publishing support) will train more than 20 editors of Philippine journals in the use of the free journal management software called Open Journal Systems (OJS). INASP has been very generous to the Philippines, paying most of the expenses of the workshop, even the transportation of editors from outside Manila. C&E is sponsoring the meals, Ateneo is sponsoring the venue and computer time, and various universities are sending their editors on official time.

Why is it important that Philippine journals are available through a website or portal based in the UK and Canada? Right now, our Philippine-based academic websites are not exactly on the top of the list of resources scholars refer to when they do their articles. If you googled any of the current hot issues in academic research, it is highly unlikely that an article published in a Philippine journal would be on the first few pages of the search results.

Why is it important that our articles are read or cited by foreign scholars? Because the name of the game is citation. One of the major criteria for ranking a university internationally is the number of times articles written by faculty members in that university are used in the footnotes or bibliographies of articles in what are known as ISI journals. The abbreviation ISI refers to a now-outdated term (Institute for Scientific Information). ISI is a list of journals considered important by scholars around the world, as evidenced by being routinely included in footnotes and bibliographies. The list is available on the Thomson Reuters website. Thomson Reuters lists about 9,000 journals. A similar journal list, generated by Scopus, covers 15,000 journals. There are an estimated 100,000 journals in the world, with about 30,000 of them published by universities, rather than organizations or commercial publishers.

There is a formula used to find out what are called the Impact Factor and the Prestige Factor of a journal. As explained in a 2001 article by Ioan-Iovitz Popescu, the impact factor of a journal is defined as the ratio between citations and recent (previous two years) citable items published or, in other words, as the average number of citations in a given year of articles published in that journal in the preceding two years. The logarithm for the prestige factor is more complicated and has six independent variables, but the idea is simple enough: a journal is important if most of its articles are cited by scholars.

University libraries around the world subscribe only to journals with very high impact or prestige factors, since no library is rich enoughto subscribe to 100,000 journals. Even financially, therefore, it makes sense for a university journal to get itself cited and, therefore, bought by librarians worldwide. Currently, as far as I know, there are only six Philippine journals included in the ISI list: Philippine Agricultural Scientist (UP LosBaños), Philippine Entomologist (UP Los Baños), Philippine Journal of Crop Science (UP Los Baños), Philippine Journal of Science (ScienceTechnology Information Institute), Philippine Journal of Veterinary Medicine (UP Los Baños), and Philippine Scientist (University of San Carlos). No other Philippine journal is considered good enough to be cited by foreign scholars. In order for an article to be cited by anyone, it should first be easily accessible and it should be available in full. This is what PJOL aims to achieve. Once a journal is easily accessible online, because it is hosted byprestigious British and Canadian sites, it can reach ISI or Scopus status more quickly. Although I have been very vocal against ISI(ironically, my anti-ISI article was recently published in an ISI journal!), I do not think we have a choice at this point. We have to have our journals listed by ISI and Scopus. The first step is to be read by others. Once international scholars read us, I am confident that they will find that we are in step with (and in some cases, ahead of) other scholars outside the country. As I always boast whenever I speak in international conferences, Ihave read all of the sonnets of Shakespeare, but who among British or North American critics today have read Florante at Laura? But if we do not get Shakespeare scholars to read our articles about Balagtas,nobody will ever think that Balagtas was as good a poet (though not asgood a playwright) as Shakespeare. Sad to say, even most Filipinos think that Shakespeare was the better poet, even if they have not yet read either Shakespeare or Balagtas. But colonial mentality is another topic altogether, and I am too realistic to put the eradication of colonial mentality on my wish list.


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