Teaching and Learning in a Net-Centric World

Citation Ratings in Distance Education Journals

The following post will likely seem as very self-serving, as it positively reflects on the impact of the Journal of which I edit. But, besides self aggrandizement, I hope the post encourages you to subscribe, submit an article or offer to review articles to IRRODL our online and open access journal.

Determining the relevant value, impact and prestige of any academic Journal is challenging, often idiosyncratic and subject to charges of favoring the established outlets over the emerging. The for profit Thomson Empire has for years dominated this business with their ISI listings (for example see comparisons of Educational journals at http://in-cites.com/research/2004/october_25_2004-2.html). Unfortunately not all Journals, and especially not newer and online journals are represented in Thomson indexes. Most particularly none of the major distance education journals are indexed.

A 2005 article An Examination of Citation Counts in a New Scholarly Communication Environment by Kathleen Bauer and Nisa Bakkalbasi compares the results of citation counts (the number of times an article is referenced by another article) between Thomson’s Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar. They conclude that “A search of Google Scholar will likely reveal both traditional journal articles, some of which will also be covered in Web of Science and Scopus, and additional unique material, but the scholarly value of some of the unique material remains an open question.” This open question refers to all the distance education journals – since none are indexed by Thompson or any others that I am aware of. Bauer and Bakkalbasi note the value of Google Scholar for citation indexing and thus I was encouraged to see what results come from Google Scholar searches of peer reviewed distance education journals.

The method I choose was to use the advanced search capacity of Google Scholar to search for articles published in the most well read, English language, peer-reviewed Distance Education journals and to count the number of times each of the top ten articles returned had been cited in other articles referenced in Google Scholar. Google Scholar sorts articles retrieved based upon the number of these citations. Since the longer the period of time since an article has been published increaes the likelihood of its being cited, I also restricted the timeframe to articles published since 1999.

The results are as follows:

It is interesting to note that the two Canadian Journals (two of three highest rated) are also the only open access journals providing full text of all articles, while the two lowest scoring Journals (as well as AJDE) are available only to paid subscribers.

So, to conclude for highest impact in your distance education reading or publishing – get involved with IRRODL!!!!

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