Bizarre wiki page on ISI (and comments about DORA and The Cost of Knowledge)

More and more people are supporting the  San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) .  Timothy Gowers, the initiator of The Cost of Knowledge movement, asks “Elsevier journals: has anything changed?” and writes

Greg Martin, a number theorist at UBC (the University of British Columbia in Vancouver) doesn’t think so, so he has decided to resign from the editorial board of Elsevier’s Journal of Number Theory.

Igor Pak rationalizes the apparent small effects in the real world of  the open access movement and asks   rhetorical questions:

 Should all existing editorial boards revolt and all journals be electronic?  Or perhaps should we move to “pay-for-publishing” model?  Or even “crowd source refereeing”?  Well, now that the issue a bit cooled down, I think I figured out exactly what should happen to math journals.  Be patient – a long explanation is coming below.

DORA, in my opinion, can be considered a positive outcome of this movement (and of course, the Cost of Knowledge is only a drop in the sea of initiatives towards updating the research communication system from the medieval age to the present one). Let’s not be more pessimistic  than we should.

Or, maybe, should we?

Is the stumbling block  the publisher, or is it in the academic realm? Where is the weak link of this Research Banana Republic? Could it be in the entrenched opinions of a majority of researchers, based on a self-referential definition of academic impact which is built around “objective” measures?

I took a look at the wikipedia page on Thompson  ISI, to see what an open, non-partisan source is writing about it.

Here is an excerpt from this source:

This database allows a researcher to identify which articles have been cited most frequently, and who has cited them. The database not only provides an objective measure of the academic impact of the papers indexed in it, but also increases their impact by making them more visible and providing them with a quality label. There is some evidence suggesting that appearing in this database can double the number of citations received by a given paper.

An “objective measure of the academic impact”?  What is the evidence which backs this PR on wikipedia? The ISI was founded in the 1960 and “there is some evidence suggesting that appearing in this database can double the number of citations received by a given paper” in ONE article from 2013?

I clicked then on the Thomson Scientific & Healthcare  link and suggest you to do the same. Wikipedia has the following comments on the top of that page:

This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.

This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (February 2008)
This article relies on references to primary sources. (February 2008)

This article reads like a news release, or is otherwise written in an overly promotional tone. (January 2008)

What do you think about this?


3 thoughts on “Bizarre wiki page on ISI (and comments about DORA and The Cost of Knowledge)”

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