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1 September 2007 How do ecological journals stack-up? Ranking of scientific quality according to the h index
Julian D. OLDEN
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The competitive nature of today's scientific environment requires the availability of ranking indicators that are both fair and easy to compute. An ecologist's publication record is the paper-trail that defines his/her scientific output, and assessment of that record hinges heavily on the popularity and prestige of the journal(s) where the research is published. Although highly criticized, the ISI® Impact Factor is still recognized as the primary measure of journal “quality”. In this study, I apply a recent bibliometric measure, Hirsch's h index, to rank the scientific quality of 111 journals in the ecological sciences and to track changes in journal performance over the past 25 y. Among the top-ranked ecological journals, I found that Trends in Ecology and Evolution has the highest h index, followed closely by journals including Ecology, Molecular Ecology, Evolution, and American Naturalist. A moderate positive relationship between a journal's ISI® Impact Factor versus h index (54% explained variation) suggests that the h index provides an alternative perspective on the citation performance of journals by measuring significance and sustainability in scientific production over longer time periods. Trends in h values over the past 25 y suggest that sharp increases in the performance of specialized journals have been in response to popularity and shifting research priorities in ecology (e.g., Molecular Ecology, Global Change Biology), whereas sustained growth for other journals reflects prestige and the continued popularity that comes with publication excellence. A Hirsch-based ranking of ecological journals, either alone or in combination with the Impact Factor, provides a robust indicator for assessing scientific achievement and tracking the performance of journals over time.

Julian D. OLDEN "How do ecological journals stack-up? Ranking of scientific quality according to the h index," Ecoscience 14(3), 370-376, (1 September 2007).[370:HDEJSR]2.0.CO;2
Received: 6 September 2006; Accepted: 1 February 2007; Published: 1 September 2007
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