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the Acoustical Society of America (JASA) and its special sec- tion JASA Express Letters (JASA-EL), measure up to current quality standards. And finally, after seeing where we are, we look toward the future. What do we want to do and where do we want to be in 1 year, 5 years, and (for the Acoustical Society’s 100th birthday) 10 years down the road?
As mentioned, our main focus in this article is on JASA and JASA-EL. But before getting to these publications, we need to mention what our other two publications, Acoustics To- day (AT) and Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics (POMA), bring to our overall “suite” of publications.
AT gives ASA publications a popular magazine that can reach a much broader audience than just acoustics practitio- ners (but including them), covers the full range of acoustics topics, informs people about the ASA and other topics of in- terest, and is distributed both free online and in an attractive glossy paper format. AT is, in a sense, the ASA and acoustics “public ambassador.” This is a very desirable niche to fill.
POMA is the ASA conference proceedings journal. It is a lightly reviewed, free-access publication and gives authors who attend the ASA meetings or cosponsored meetings a quick and easy way to disseminate their ideas. POMA is a good tool for nonacademic acoustics practitioners as well as academics. Importantly, publishing in POMA does not constitute prepublication for any other ASA publication. POMA, like AT, has a strong function as an outreach tool as more and more cosponsored meetings, often outside the United States, are using it. These two publications, POMA and AT, give ASA publications a breadth and outreach ca- pability that are not possible with strictly peer-reviewed, ar- chival journals.
JASA, including its special section JASA-EL, is an archival and fully peer-reviewed journal. JASA-EL is designed for quickly reviewed and published “extended letter” research, whereas JASA is a full-length, historically well-known major journal. Both are similar in many ways and are published together, but they are not entirely the same. So the judgment of quality for each will be slightly different.
Before plunging into the details of quality, however, we owe the reader one more general explanation: specifically, who are the “we” that are referred to rather generously in this ar- ticle (Figure 1)? The authors of this article are the four people who work in the ASA main publications office in Hyannis, Massachusetts, but they are only a small part of the “we” for ASA publications. “We” also consists of editors in Maryland,
Vermont, and Utah; publications personnel in the ASA main headquarters in Melville, New York, and in various cities in Massachusetts; and a large and extremely good staff of as- sociate editors (AEs) located around the world. We are very much a team, and our publications are a team effort.
So, What Does Constitute Quality
for the Journals?
Let’s start the “quality definition” discussion for both JASA and JASA-EL by trying to list the factors that comprise qual- ity in an archival journal. Just like in our automobile ex- ample, there are multiple qualities to consider in evaluating a journal, and the weighting factors differ from person to person and institution to institution, where the latter can be academic or industrial/government/commercial.
There exists today a vast literature devoted to the issue of journal quality; this is far from a new topic. Rather than trying to give even a brief overview of what journal qual- ity is from this literature, let us instead cite something from a website produced by a typical vested stakeholder in jour- nals, a library. In particular, we looked at the Boston Col- lege Libraries site and their article called “Assessing Journal Quality: Journal Quality” (Boston College Libraries, 2018). Libraries invest a major part of their budgets in journals and therefore are very concerned and critical parties in evalu- ating quality in order to decide which publications to pur- chase. There are many other vested parties in publication quality, including publishers, professional societies, authors, and readers, but as an example, libraries seem a fair and rep- resentative choice.
To begin, we quote the Boston College Libraries (2018) posting, “Traditional measures, such as peer review, im- pact factor, and the reputation of the journal, continue to be hallmarks within the academic community.” It continues, “Increasingly, alternative metrics (sometimes referred to as “altmetrics”) are being considered in evaluating journal quality, tracking the diffusion of scholarship through non- traditional sources such as blogs, social media, and other on- line systems.” This posting, in addition to spelling out some prime and well-known journal quality metrics, also makes another very interesting point; the world of publications is rapidly changing and has now fully entered the “electronic media universe,” and so more than just traditional metrics must be considered.
But this Boston College short list is just the tip of the ice- berg; there are many other qualities and metrics to consider.
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