Page 56 - Summer 2018
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Publications Quality Spotlight
As a last note on IF, we firmly state that we shun any gaming of the system (other than adding quality material and reject- ing lower quality material at the review stage) to improve the IF. Tactics like requiring authors to cite JASA, timing the release of certain articles early in the year to improve the IF, or declining articles that are appropriate to JASA but are less likely to be cited are not employed by ASA publications and will not be. We insist that whatever recognition that comes to ASA publications comes by honestly.
Other Metrics
Having treated reputation, speed, and IF, probably the most widely discussed journal metrics, let us turn to some oth- er very important but comparatively neglected quantita- tive metrics of journal performance. The following metrics should be considered for JASA: eigenfactor score, cited half- life, immediacy index, acceptance ratio, and usage. There are, of course, many more quantitative metrics one can con- sider, but this group gives a good representative sample.
Eigenfactor score is often referred to as a rating of the total impor- tance of a scientific journal, and at 0.032, JASA ranks first among acoustics journals indexed in the Web of Science, according to AIPP’s analysis presented at a recent publication review meeting. Journals are ranked by incoming number and the quality of ci- tations (“incoming number” excludes internal citations in JASA articles), with citations in highly ranked journals being weighted more heavily than journals with lower ranks. Interestingly, over 75 percent of JASA’s citations come from other journals. As a measure of net journal worth, the eigenfactor score is thought by some to be a more robust measure than IF.
Cited half-life (or shelf life) is “the median age of the ci- tations received by a journal during” a given year (see JASA has enjoyed a good cited half-life of greater than 10 years (the maximum period considered) from 2010 to 2016! This statistic probably varies across TC areas, an issue we are currently looking into, but overall it is a good one for JASA.
Immediacy index, which is the average number of times an article in a given journal is cited in the year it is published, was 0.255 for JASA in 2016. This is not a high number but is not unexpected for a journal with a long cited half-life. The immediacy is a more important statistic for fast-moving rather than “slow-burning” topical areas.
Next in discussing quantitative metrics, we come to accep- tance rate. This fluctuates between 50 and 60% for JASA and JASA-EL. As mentioned, we are aiming for ≤50% as our goal,
54 | Acoustics Today | Summer 2018
in line with AIPP’s journals, and so will be making our ac- ceptance hurdle just a little higher.
Finally, we look at downloads, an important quantitative metric of how much usage a journal is getting. (This num- ber is especially important to libraries in making their deci- sions to maintain subscriptions in times of declining bud- gets.) Encouragingly, the number for JASA in combination with JASA-EL has gone up from about 800,000 per year in 2013 to about 1,350,000 in 2017, a 69% increase in 5 years. This statistic means that readership of JASA is increasing. We should note that this does not necessarily scale with cita- tions because many of our valued readers and users are not academics but practitioners of acoustics for whom journal citations are not the “coin of the realm.” ASA publications reach a wide and varied audience.
Qualitative Quality Factors
Having explored a sampling of quantitative metrics, let us look at some (equally important) qualitative ones. Our list includes (1) quality of reviews, (2) customer service and professional courtesy, (3) ease of submission/revision (author experience), (4) full features being available, and (5) language services for international authors and authors requiring assistance.
The first item on our “qualitative” list, quality of review, is of paramount importance. Our standard level is two substan- tial reviews per article and supplemental reviews if needed. Our staff of AEs is large so that we can deliver a quality re- view for each article in the numerous disciplines that JASA and JASA-EL cover. To aid our AEs, we undertook a massive “data cleaning” of our reviewer databases in JASA and JASA- EL Editorial Manager sites in 2017, which removed close to 50,000 inactive/duplicate names from our list of potential reviewers, and we have plans to maintain the databases go- ing forward. This makes AE searches for reviewers within the databases much easier. Additionally, the "PDF for Re- viewers" that we ask authors to create with line numbers and embedded figures and tables is a recent feature that has been well received by reviewers. While we have heard occasional negative feedback from authors regarding this extra require- ment, reviewers are using it routinely and like it. We remain open to reconsider this file in the future, but for now, the reviewer PDF is beneficial by keeping many good reviewers from declining.
The next item, customer service and professional courtesy, is something that can be easily overlooked in the slightly ad- versarial world of peer review. Our aim is to keep the peer- review process professional and courteous; it’s hard enough

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