Tuesday, November 16, 2010

ISI for GMD

Hic Hic Hooray!

Off the wagon


The big climate science news of the week (year?) is that the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD) is being added to the Science Citation Index run by Thompson Reuters. Whatever you think about the value of citation indices and metrics as a measure of worth, absence from this master list of journals which are counted (also referred to as "ISI") is basically the kiss of death as many people (funding agencies) take it seriously and will only submit to (or count in assessments) ISI-listed journals. So getting on the list after 2 years - the quickest time possible, at least in normal situations - is an important vote of confidence in what we are doing.

I've hardly mentioned GMD, so it's probably worth a bit more publicity. The journal is under the EGU umbrella, which means open access and the open peer review system I'm mentioned a few times before. The basic purpose of yet another journal is, as the blurb states, to provide a

"journal dedicated to the publication and public discussion of the description, development and evaluation of numerical models of the Earth System and its components."
The journal's origins (as people who know the exec eds may guess) lie in the clique of people who worked together within the GENIE project. Jules has always claimed credit for originating the idea, and on checking my old email I see she first suggested it back in 2006. A handful of us agreed it was a good idea, and the EGU bigwigs were also receptive, so after quite a lot of thought about how we could really structure things (white paper), the journal was launched in early 2008. It's been growing steadily since then thanks in particular to Dan Lunt's efforts, and all the recent fuss about "publishing code" obviously has provided some additional momentum, Efforts like the Climate Code Foundation (see here and longer article here) are certainly very complementary (eg letter here), though maybe our goals aren't precisely the same. We have always been more focussed on the discussion and dissemination of the techniques, and scientific reproducibility of the outputs, rather than open source per se (though obviously open source is welcome where possible).

RC have put up a post about publishing code too. I find myself in partial agreement with them that it's difficult in practice, and maybe not always so useful as it might at first appear. However, I think it's important to look at this as a positive step in the right direction, and not be too critical of the inevitable limitations. Ultimately, the future is shaped by those people who do it, and not those who are pulled along behind reluctantly, dragging their heels. Just to be clear, that is not a dig at RC, but a more general comment about some who have not been particularly well-disposed towards the idea (a few of whom have, to their credit, changed their minds in the past 2 years). It's going to happen anyway, and my view is that it might as well be approached in as positive and useful a manner as is reasonably practicable.

6 comments:

skanky said...

A hearty congratulations.

Mark said...

It's pretty impressive that you managed to write that whole post without actually giving the name of the journal. You don't approach Stoat for inscrutability yet, but if you keep at it...

Yeah, I know, follow the links :-)

James Annan said...

Oops that was pretty silly - now fixed.

Kooiti MASUDA said...

I have just realized that JAMES is not James' journal, but its competitor.

Kooiti MASUDA said...

About one year ago, I saw a writeup about GMD, then forgot details, and then I encountered http://james.agu.org . It matched every aspect I remembered, so I believed that these were identical.

I am curious that JAMES is not listed as an AGU Journal in the website of AGU. Does AGU hope it to be absorbed by GMD?

James Annan said...

I don't know much about JAMES, other than one or two posters at work. It seems that we are a little bit older than them. I'd say it was quite a coincidence that two so similar journals were set up together, but perhaps it's an indication that the time was ripe...