November 21, 2017

Webcast: How Rankings and Reviews Help in Acquiring Scholarly Content

By Dodie Ownes

A look at Eigenfactor.org and at services from Doody’s

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  • Breadth, volume and multiple formats of literature make selection challenging
  • Traditional impact factor ranking ignores citation sources and networks
  • Know the metrics when evaluating the evaluators

Library Journal‘s October 29 webcast, Acquiring Scholarly Content, placed two rating and ranking tools and methodologies squarely in the spotlight: Doody’s Core Titles/Doody’s Review Service and Eigenfactor.org. The webcast, sponsored by Ovid and Library Journal, provided an excellent exploration of these highly regarded resources used by libraries to make title and journal collection management decisions.

Moderated by Jennifer Robinson from Wolters Kluwer Medical Research, the 60-minute webcast included provided a brief overview of Ovid, a global provider of electronic medical, scientific and academic research information solutions. In her introduction, Robinson emphasized that relevant and current content put in the hands of end-users and researcher can lead to new discoveries, with more practical results such as improved patient care.

To set up the panel, Robinson then asked attendees to think about how they define quality when it comes to evaluating content, and how resources such as Doody’s Book Reviews or measurement tools such as Eigenfactor.org can support content selection decisions.

How Doody’s works

Dan Doody, president of Doody Enterprises, led off his talk with a list of three challenges librarians face when evaluating content, particularly in health sciences literature: the breadth of the literature, with 140 specialty areas; the volume of the literature, with 120 publishers just in English and 3000 to4000 new and revised titles added each year; and multiple formats and media, with a single title having 14 iterations or more available through multiple aggregators and downloadable formats.

In response to library demand, Doody’s created two services designed to assist in content evaluation. Doody’s Review Service covers 105,000 book titles and 25,000 reviews, in 140 different specialties in the health sciences. Doody’s Core Titles, published annually, features core titles and essential purchases in 114 health sciences areas.

Doody stressed that both resources are created by and for health sciences librarians, and shared the criteria and scoring tool that librarian evaluators use when selecting titles for Doody’s Core Titles.

Behind Eigenfactor
The second panelist was Jevin West, head developer of Eigenfactor.org and an ARCS Fellow in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington. West’s varied interests in the history of science, bibliometrics, and the economics of publishing led him to create Eigenfactor.org.

He described the distinction between Eigenfactor metrics and impact factor measurement: Eigenfactor not only counts citations, but also "takes into account where citations come from." West then led attendees through a probing look at how scholarly literature can be better evaluated, what quantitative measures are needed, and how the Eigenfactor team came to define their metrics.

In the scholarly evaluation of content, Eigenfactor accounts for five factors: citations, articles, sources, price, and usage. West’s beautifully illustrated slides provided great visual support for attendees in understanding the concepts behind Eigenfactor and Article Influence Score assessments.

Q&A

Robinson led West and Doody through an extended and lively Q&A session with attendees. Questions ranged from the validity of using JCR (Journal Citation Reports) in Eigenfactor content evaluation to the credentials of Doody’s reviewers.

Both panelists addressed the question of "How are publishers reacting to your evaluation tools?" West replied that, for some, it depends on whether they end up on the top or bottom when new metrics are applied, though, as Doody later also stated, the publishing community has been very supportive and interested in how the science of ranking and evaluation is changing.

The webcast is now available on-demand by registering at www.libraryjournal.com/ovidworksforyou, and will be available through October 2010.

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