In a new working paper published in the California Digital Library's eScholarship repository, economist Ted Bergstrom (University of California, Santa Barbara) and colleagues look at Differences in Impact Factor Across Fields and Over Time.
The impact factor of an academic journal for any year is the number of times the average article published in that journal in the previous two years are cited in that year. From 1994-2005, the average impact factor of journals listed by the ISI has been increasing by an average of 2.6 percent per year. This paper documents this growth and explores its causes.
Library Journal, in its annual Periodical Price Survey, says that the current state of the dollar means that journal prices will likely average 10% more in cost next year. Given the state budget deficit and the effect that will undoubtedly have on funding for higher education, LJ's forecast raises concern about the Libraries' ability to hold off journal cancellations.
The marked changes brought on by the advance of open access has so far had little effect on the price of subscribed journals, the notable exception being some 3300 peer-reviewed journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), all of which are free. Prices of subscription-based journals increased nine to ten percent in 2008, driven by an extremely weak dollar. Non-U.S. titles in the humanities and social sciences increased even more (11 percent), because publishers in these disciplines tend to price in native currencies, driving U.S. prices up when those currencies are converted to dollars. The sciences, on the other hand, are dominated by large European publishers that price in U.S. dollars, reducing the volatility of prices and keeping price increases in foreign scientific journals under nine percent. Given the continuing slide of the dollar, expect increases in 2009 to approach ten percent overall.
Finding quality, peer-reviewed, open access journals in the humanities is still something of a challenge. However, Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide , which has appeared twice a year since 2002, is a shining example of the possibilities of the online medium.
The journal describes itself as "the world's first scholarly, refereed e-journal devoted to the study of nineteenth-century painting, sculpture, graphic arts, photography, architecture, and decorative arts across the globe. Open to various historical and theoretical approaches, the editors welcome contributions that reach across national boundaries and illuminate intercultural contact zones."
It should be noted that the University of Minnesota's Gabriel P. Weisberg is part of the editorial board, serving as the reviews editor.
Check this journal out for stimulating discussions of visual culture in the long 19th century!
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