In earlier blog postings on the best type of publication outlet for ICT4D research and on ICT4D research quality and impact, I surmised that there is value in publishing ICT4D research in specialist ICT4D journals. But I skirted round the issue of which ICT4D journal to publish in. Here, then, is an ICT4D journal “league table”:
ICT4D Journal Impact Table
The ICT4D journals (top part of the table) were selected on the basis of all journals with titles that combine some reference to informatics/ICTs, and some reference to development (as in “international development”) or developing countries or regions dominated by developing countries.
How are the impact scores calculated? Using the formula: (average cites per paper*(1-((uncited-unlisted papers)/2)-unlisted papers)/average no. years since publication)*journal accessibility
So this is a league table of impact, based mainly on the average number of citations per paper, and calculated by taking every paper for the given year published in a journal and seeing how many citations for that paper (if any) are shown in Google Scholar, then averaging the total. The citation figure is amended to take account of the length of time since publication, and of both the proportion of papers that have no citations, and the proportion of papers that aren’t even listed on Google Scholar. Because not all impact is accounted for by citation, open access journals – which will attract many more readers – are given an additional weighting of 1.5. These calculations were undertaken for both 2005 and 2008 for the journals that go back that far, and an average of the two scores taken.
Clearly, there are subjective elements in this and you are welcome to provide a critique. Here, you can find the raw data, allowing you to create your own ranking formula. One alternative would be a simple table based just on average citation rates per year, as shown below:
ICT4D Journal Citation Table
The general conclusion is the same for both league tables: that the three journals EJISDC, ITID and ITforD are head and shoulders above the rest if you wish to publish in an ICT4D specialist journal and if you are interested in citation-related impact when publishing your ICT4D research.
But would you be better advised to publish in a journal in one of ICT4D’s “parent” disciplines? To allow a comparison, both tables include the same calculations for:
- Development studies: the top journal (World Development) and a lower-ranked journal (Journal of International Development)
- Information systems: a top journal (Information Systems Journal) and a mid-ranked journal (The Information Society)
- Technical informatics/computer science: a top journal (Human-Computer Interaction)
This suggests that these disciplinary journals have on average two-four times the impact of the ICT4D specialist journals. That average suggests – but does not prove – that your specific article will have a greater impact in these journals. In addition, academic career kudos is greater for at least the higher-end disciplinary journals. Only one ICT4D specialist journal – Information Development – is currently listed in ISI’s Web of Knowledge. One journal (AJC) gets an “A” ranking and six journals (AJICT, EJISDC, ID, ITID, IJEDUICT, SAJIM) get a “C” ranking in an Australian list (see: http://lamp.infosys.deakin.edu.au/journals/index.php?page=alljournals – a fantastic resource on ICT and information systems journals maintained by John Lamp). But that is the exception: none of the ICT4D specialist journals is ranked in the UK Association of Business Schools journal ranking list (http://www.the-abs.org.uk/), the Association for Information Systems journal ranking list (http://home.aisnet.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=345), or Anne-Wil Harzing’s journal quality list (http://www.harzing.com/jql.htm).
On the other hand . . .
- you will only get accepted in the higher-end mainstream journals if your paper is above a certain quality threshold (also true for ICT4D specialist journals, but with the assumption that the threshold is somewhat lower for those journals or, at least, that their rejection rate is lower; of course the quality threshold also varies between ICT4D journals just as it does between other journals);
- it may take more time and effort to get your paper accepted;
- it might reach a somewhat different audience; and
- none of these disciplinary journals is open access (figures from open-access EJISDC suggest typical rates of around 500 downloads per paper per year; figures from subscription-based ITforD suggest typical rates of around 100 accesses per paper per year)
Particularly if you add in the open access argument, and link it to the fact that ICT4D audiences (e.g. practitioners, strategists in developing countries) generally can’t access the subscription-based disciplinary journals, then there remains a logic for publishing ICT4D research in ICT4D journals.