Journal price data is important for budget management processes, but price alone is not the sole factor determining value. Some metrics, like Impact Factor, have become important in assessing value, and similar value metrics will only increase in importance in the future. The implementation of the Counter 4 during 2014 will expand the availability of usage data from journals, databases, ebooks, and multimedia to support better decision-making. Building upon COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources) and working with the digital object identifier (DOI) and ORCID (open researcher and contributor ID) identifier, the PIRUS (Publisher and Institutional Repository Usage Statistics) Code of Practice is designed to provide usage data at the individual article level, consolidating usage across platforms.
Many groups are exploring different sets of data and altmetrics that may be potential descriptors of the impact of journals, especially as the immediacy of Twitter and the social web affect scholarly communication. Indicators of the growing importance of altmetrics include the EBSCO purchase of Plum Analytics and the partnership between HighWire Press and Altmetric LLP. Efforts to create altmetrics are still being developed, but better tools to help assess the import of scholarly works would be welcomed by the community. One effort that will speed development is the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) Alternative Assessment Metrics (Altmetrics) Project. The project will study, propose, and develop community-based standards and recommend practices. Clear standards are necessary for altmetrics to move into the mainstream.
Table 4: Comparison of Average Price of Titles
in ISI Indexes by Price to Impact Factor
|Price Band||No of
|Less than $410||2,712||$158||1.9||1.76||0.0053||0.99|
|Between $410 and 760||1,406||574||6.7||1.47||0.0043||0.83|
|Between $760 and 1,455||1,515||1,070||6.5||2.21||0.0120||1.04|
|Between $1,455 and 2,475||1,016||1,898||6.9||2.64||0.0159||1.07|
|Greater than $2,475||1,258||5,188||5.4||3.33||0.0296||1.30|
|SOURCE: LJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2014|
This year we continue to use the title and publisher data collected for this article to explore the relationship between prices and metrics used to assess journals like Impact Factor, Eigenfactor, and the Article Influence Score. This year, the relationship between serial costs and numbers of citations was also explored, with interesting results.
- The EIGENFACTOR rates journals according to the number of incoming citations, with citations from highly ranked journals weighted to make a larger contribution to the score than citations from poorly ranked journals. Journals are considered to be influential if they are cited often by other influential journals.
- The IMPACT FACTOR of a journal is the average number of citations received per paper published in that journal during the two preceding years. The Impact Factor of a journal is calculated by dividing the number of current-year citations to the source items published in that journal during the previous two years.
- The ARTICLE INFLUENCE SCORE is determined by the average influence of a journal’s articles over the first five years after publication. It is calculated by dividing a journal’s Eigenfactor Score by the number of articles in the journal, normalized as a fraction of all articles in all publications. The mean Article Influence Score is 1.00. A score greater than 1.00 indicates that each article in the journal has above-average influence. A score less than 1.00 indicates that each article in the journal has below-average influence.
The pricing data titles in the merged ISI indexes for 2014 was divided into five price bands; journals priced at less than $410, between $410 and $760, $760–$1,455, $1,455–$2,475, and at more than $2,475. These bands were selected only to be sure that the number of titles in each area is reasonably comparable. The average for Impact Factor, Eigenfactor, and Article Influence Score for all titles in a price range was compared to the averages in the other price bands (Table 4). The Impact Factor and the Eigenfactor tended to show a fairly strong increase with the rise in price. The Article Influence Score did not show a significant increase, with the average for titles in the less than $410 price band showing an average of 1.00 and the most expensive titles showing an average of 1.2.
Higher priced titles do have higher Impact Factors and Eigenfactors, but the increase in the metrics is small when compared to the increase in costs, since the average price ($5,188) for the most expensive journals was 30 times higher than the average price ($158) for the least expensive journals. The increase in prices for the lower cost titles was lower than for the more expensive titles. Article Influence Score did not show a strong correlation between higher scores and prices.
Table 5: Merged ISI Indexes Average Cost per Citation by LC Subject
|LJ Article Subject Terms||No of Titles||Total Cost||Total Citations||Cost per Cite|
|Business & Economics||586||$725,461||1,018,691||$2.35|
|Language & Literature||137||$79,514||52,976||$1.32|
|Arts & Architecture||19||$15,093||14,601||$1.20|
|Military & Naval Science||12||$11,097||8,643||$0.38|
|Philosophy & Religion||30||$18,689||11,040||$0.19|
|Math & Computer Science||229||$398,200||583,454||$0.02|
|SOURCE: LJ PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2014|
The ratio of citations to serials costs is reviewed in Table 5. For STM journals, the average prices tend to be high in comparison to other subjects. This scenario changes if the costs are divided by the numbers of citations for the journals. Chemistry has the highest average price for journals but the lowest cost per citation. Journals in chemistry are heavily cited. If citations are considered an indicator of value, then chemistry journals, despite high average prices, are extremely high-value journals. Conversely, journals in the area of library science are relatively cheap but are infrequently cited, so journals in library science show the highest cost per citation. Based upon this set of data, if cost per citation is reviewed by type of publisher, it is not surprising that commercial publishers have higher per citation costs than other types of publishers. Commercial publishers showed a cost per citation of 48¢, while university presses showed 18¢ and societal publishers showed 9¢.