Archive for July, 2009

2008 Impact Factor

Friday, July 31st, 2009

JAWRA’s 2008 Impact Factor has been announced: 1.208. We’re ranked 23rd in the “Water Resources” category and 17th in “Engineering/Environmental.” The 2008 Impact Factor represents average citations in 2008 to papers published in 2006 and 2007.

You can look at this two ways. On one hand, we’re down slightly from last year’s 1.436. On the other hand, it confirms last year’s doubling of Impact Factor was not a fluke. Impact Factor is a volatile statistic, and the difference was only 18 fewer citations.

I like to think the 2008 Impact Factor confirms we’re holding our own at a new and higher level of prestige. JAWRA’s readership increased markedly when we partnered with Wiley-Blackwell in 2007, and Manuscript Central has greatly reduced our review times; both these developments make JAWRA more attractive to top authors.

We have a number of good Featured Collections in the works, which I’ll discuss in later posts. And, we have some popular threads going on some interesting and controversial topics, like Natural Channel Design. The challenge now is not only to hold our own, but to move on to a higher level.

Alaska: Spring Specialty Conference

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

AWRA held its Spring Specialty Conference in Anchorage, Alaska this year. The subject was, appropriately enough, Managing Water Resources and Development in a Changing Climate. The bottom line is, if you’re a cold-weather species, life is going to get harder. The change of Administration was obvious, as the meeting was filled with US agency researchers who now seemed to have the funding to actively participate in this activity. I had several good talks about potential featured collections for JAWRA.

Though a random variation, not persistent change, the Alaskan weather was glorious — sunny, high 60′s. A rerouted field trip to Seward and Resolution Bay provided a fantastic chance to see the wildlife. You can see photos of the conference and field trip at http://www.his.com/~lanfear/AWRAMay2009/index.html .

A twist on honorary authorship

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Research journals have long been plagued with the problem of “honorary authorship,” whereby one or more of a paper’s authors is, say, the chair of the department who contributed little or nothing to its writing. Recently, we had two papers come in with a new twist: “honorary” authors who hadn’t even been told of the paper’s existence!

Our Manuscript Central system uncovered both instances. Correspondingg authors may not realize it, but MC automatically notifies all authors when a paper is submitted under their name. The two innocent individuals involved acted honorably and immediately informed us of the situations. No reputable journal will touch a paper with its authorship in question, so both papers were summarily rejected.

JAWRA guidelines clearly state, “All authors of a paper are expected to have contributed substantially to its production and to be knowledgeable about the entire paper.” I don’t know why the corresponding authors acted the way they did, and won’t speculate on their motives. The results were clearly disasterous for their paper’s publication, and only a good detection system saved them and JAWRA from possible future embarassment.