Our shiny new Impact Factor

Yesterday the ISI released their new impact factors: the second year we have been given one. And this year ours is
5.924Our impact factor, zooming ahead

(that 4 at the end is vitally important. Vitally)

This means we’re now 12th in the Ecology impact factor league tables (yes, Diversity and Distributions, we’re gunning for you next), and are still the highest BES journal. We have been asking those nice people at ISI to put us in the evolution list too (apparently having “Evolution” in the journal name isn’t enough): if we were in that list we would be 7th. This is an increase from last year, when we were 15th, with an IF of 5.093. Our 5 year impact factor is a nice round 6, and is only based on 3 years too.

Of course we are all deliriously happy about this, a pleasure only slightly mollified by the knowledge that the use of the IF is overstated: it is an interesting statistic that says something, but really shouldn’t be taken too seriously (unless it’s 5.924, in which case it is clearly very important, and any journal with a lower IF isn’t worth reading, and those above are clearly fiddling their citations in ways we can’t imagine). What it suggests is that we are comparable with the other high quality journals in the field.

We are not wedded to the impact factor, though, and as regular readers of this blog know, we are also trialling altmetrics on the papers we publish. Hopefully this will give us some more information about papers and how widely they are being read and talked about.

Of course, we couldn’t have got where we are without a lot of hard work, so Rob and I would like to thank our associate editors, authors and reviewers, without whom we wouldn’t have all these wonderful papers to be cited an average of 5.924 times. And we would also like to thank Graziella and Sam, who have kept everything running, as well as the other staff at the BES and Wiley for their support and work.

ISEC 2012: Ecological statistics in Norway

So. Last week I was just west of Oslo, in Norway, for the third International Statistical Ecology Conference (as I write registration is still open). This is a core area for Methods, and there was a strong contingent of MEE editors, authors and reviewers present. This was a good opportunity to chat to them, and generally raise the profile of the journal. It’s always nice to get feedback, and also help potential authors thinking about submitting – and even one author who’s paper I had just rejected.

The weather was excellent throughout the meeting:

Norway being nice

Proof it doesn’t always rain in Norway

so, of course, we had to spend so much time inside. But what, you are wondering, did we talk about?
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MEE has an impact factor

Yesterday the ISI announced the 2011 impact factors. This is the first year Methods in Ecology and Evolution has been given an IF. And our factor is…


Our EiC is told how to get a good impact factor

This is really good, and we’re very happy with this. By comparison, we are 15th out of 131 journals in ecology, and ahead (just) of all of the other British Ecological Society journals. Among the other journals we’re ahead of are Ecology and American Naturalist. So well done to the team, particularly Rob and Graziella, for their hard work over the last couple of years to set up the journal and get it running (I’m just basking in the reflected glory here).
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How to advertise your Methods paper (and can you suggest better ways?)

Our latest wheeze at Methods is to suggest some ways of advertising your latest Methods paper. So, we now have a new section in our author guidelines giving some links to places you might want to go to to tell the world about your amazing new method to efficiently calculate the value of ecosystem services provided by the running of macroecology meetings. But we’re sure the list is incomplete, so we’re asking you to suggest more resources we could add. So if you know of any more mailing lists, or wikis, or other web sites then please suggest them in the comments. This is in addition to the more traditional ways of advertising papers, through press releases, and the announcements we put out at the journal.

If you blog about your paper, or if you blog about someone else’s MEE paper, then please tell us so we can retweet, add it to Facebook, etc.

Updates to Methods applications: we need your advice

I hope that you all know that MEE publishes applications paper, which we make freely available for everyone to read, and the software is (of course) downloadable too.

A couple of times over the last few weeks we have been asked to update some of the software code in the Applications. This presents us with a problem: whilst the occasional update is OK, if we commit to adding every update that is released, as could end up spending significant time putting up updates, which is inefficient all round. On the other hand we obviously want to provide access to the latest, best, software.

So, what to do? Should we allow all updates, only some (e.g. bug fixes), or none at all? We need a policy on this, so everyone knows the situation, but we have not decided what the policy should be. Now, we could come up with something half-baked on our own, but we thought it would be better to ask for some help, so we can come up with a plan that will suit everyone.

There are a number of issues:

  1. As a journal, MEE needs to have some level of permanence and stability: when you cite something you need to be confident that it’s the same when someone reads the citation.
  2. Permanence and stability of links is also important: if we link to a page we want to be reasonable confident it will still be there in 5 years time.
  3. We don’t want to be constantly changing code on the website: it could take up a lot of our time, and we aren’t set up to be a software repository like SourceForge.
  4. There are different levels of changes: from bug fixes through minor tweaks to total re-writes of the code. We don’t have to deal with them in the same way, but we should obviously be consistent.

So, what exactly should we do? How can we balance our desire to provide a stable record with providing access to up to date code? My current thought is that we should provide bug fixes, but perhaps not bigger changes. But we should also provide links to data repositories, and provide access that way. My worry with this is that the web pages we link to should be stable, so they don’t disappear 6 months after we put the link up.

I just googled “OpenBUGS”, and the first link I got was to the now-defunct Helsinki pages that I set up years ago – luckily I was prodded to put in a link to the newer pages (and – even better – those pages are current). How can we ensure our links remain current for some time (several years, at least) after an application is published? Or do we have to worry about this?

I’m sure these questions have been raised before, and other journals have found their own solutions. If you have any thoughts, or links, or wise words then please comment and help us reach the right decision.

Why Simpler Models are Better

(this is the first in a possibly irregular series of posts about papers that catch my eye. I don’t intend to only cover MEE papers, but I had to start somewhere)

ResearchBlogging.orgA perennial worry for anyone building models for the real world is whether they actually represent the real world. If the whole process of finding and fitting a model has been done well, the model will represent the data. But the data is only part of the real world. How can we be sure our model will extrapolated beyond the data?
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Introducing … Myself

You might have seen the adverts for the position of a new editor of MEE, to help Rob with the development of the journal. Well, after a gruelling process of interviews I was asked to take up the job. As you might have guessed, I accepted.

Methods Cat sez Detectabiliy not always 1

We’ll find out how my role will evolve, but it’s basically to be a mini-Freckleton, we’ll be splitting the workload of dealing with papers, and also working on the development of the journal. We had a meeting yesterday, where we discussed some new initiatives to try over the next few months, so stay tuned. Most of them are attempts to use social media (blogs, twitter etc.) more effectively to promote the journal and develop content.

But who am I?
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