Published in: Subotić Siniša and Šipka Pero (2015). “Open SEESAmE”: A conceptual and empirical rationale behind the Southeast European scientific journal indexing and evaluation system. CEON/CEES Occasional Paper Series No. 2015-03-1. ISBN 978-86-89475-02-9
“Open SEESAmE”: A Conceptual and Empirical Rationale behind the Southeast European Scientific Journal Indexing and Evaluation System
Abstract: In this paper, we describe the typical problems of the so called regional research, including the issues of poor regional journal indexing, the inappropriateness of global citation metrics for impact evaluation, and the general necessity for employing alternative measures to assess quality. We propose that simply extending the regional journals' coverage in the highest tier international indexing services such as WoS/JCR is not an optimal course of action. Instead, we argue for the making of middle tier regional indexing and evaluation services, which would complement the international ones. Under this paradigm, regional journals would be evaluated by regional impact factors, in conjunction with the so-called indicators of (formal) bibliometric quality (which are mostly derived from the Thompson Reuters admission criteria). We concentrate our efforts on the Southeast European (SEE) scientific region, proposing a system called SEESAmE. In order to empirically justify this approach and the SEE-centric system, we conducted three studies. The results of Study 1 revealed that only a small portion of SEE journals is included in major indexing services such as WoS or Scopus and that the seemingly high WoS/Scopus output of some bigger SEE countries diminishes when it is controlled for country size. This is consistent with the notion that a regional service might be useful to fill the current coverage gaps. The results of Study 2 confirmed that there is, in fact, an empirical justification for treating the SEE as a joint scientific publishing entity, as there is substantial co-authorship collaboration evident in existing WoS data. Smaller SEE countries are especially reliant upon scientific cooperation within the SEE. Finally, Study 3 confirmed that a regional impact factor is a useful complement to the impact factor calculated for the global citation data, as it taps into the effects that are under the radar of WoS and Scopus. Furthermore, indicators of bibliometric quality are highly related to the regional impact factor, and regional impact is related to global impact both directly and indirectly, with indicators of bibliometric quality partially mediating the relationship. Finally, both indicators of bibliometric quality and regional impact have an external validity, as they uniquely and incrementally predict the journals’ current indexing status. All this confirms that they are useful quality proxies and tools for progress tracking. Taken together, these findings point to a conclusion that there is enough empirical justification for the SEE regional scientific indexing and evaluation initiative and its proposed concept, and we argue that a system that would be based on the SEE data (i.e. SEESAmE) would positively enhance the scientific output of the region as a whole.
Keywords: Southeast Europe (SEE); regional impact factor; indicators of bibliometric quality; coauthorship, scientific journal evaluation; SEESAmE