IJSF September Access Statistics from RePEc

October 8, 2009

Time for the updated access statistics for the IJSF.  First, the page views and file downloads for the journal:

Page views (file downloads) on participating RePEc services:
Last month:    514 (136)
Previous month:    427 (101)
Last 3 months: 1376 (367)
Last year:     7272 (1965)
Since start:   14413 (3650)

Looks like an upward trend in both over the past three months.  Next, the impact factors:

Simple impact factor: 0.28
Recursive impact factor: 0.01
Discounted impact factor: 0.13
Recursive discounted impact factor: 0.01
h-index: 2

Roughly the same since the last report.  Finally, lets have a look at the most viewed articles.  The entire top 25 can be found here.  The top five are:

Rank Journal Article File Downloads Abstract Views
Last month 3 months Total Last month 3 months Total
1 Ticket Prices, Concessions and Attendance at Professional Sporting Events
Dennis Coates and Brad Humphreys
8 21 293 52 89 1,020
1 “If You Can’t Win, Why Should I Buy a Ticket?”: Hope, Fan Welfare, and Competitive Balance
O’Reilly, Norm, Alan Kaplan, Ryan Rahinel and John Nadeau
8 12 32 10 18 67
1 The Causality between Salary Structures and Team Performance: A Panel Analysis in a Professional Baseball League
Jane, Wen-Jhan, Gee San and Ou, Yi-Pey
8 19 29 21 41 79
4 Developing a Profitability Model for Professional Sport Leagues: The Case of the National Hockey League
John Nadeau and O’Reilly, Norm
7 13 120 10 21 357
5 Betting Exchanges: The Future of Sports Betting?
Ruud Koning and Bart van Velzen
6 26 55 19 62 162

I find it interesting that my paper with Dennis on ticket prices and concessions seems to generate a lot of interest. I presented it at a conference a few years ago and the discussant said something like “I predict that this paper will never be published in a journal.” Just goes to show that you never know what papers readers will find interesting.


“Comments” in Journals

August 24, 2009

I came across a hilarious and terrifying description of the experiences of a physicist attempting to respond to a published paper that refuted some of his research.  This paper, “How to Publish a Scientific Comment in 123 easy steps” reveals quite a bit about the publication process.  I recommend that you read the entire harrowing piece if you are interested in learning something interesting about the academic publication process.

I have been through the “comment” process as a participant a three times in economics journals.  I never ran into this sort of Kafka-esque situation, but I am not at all surprised that this sort of thing goes on, and believe all of it.  Comments are an important part of the publication process.  They provide an additional layer of peer review in the publication process, and help ensure that scientific inquiry advances in the right direction.  The IJSF hasn’t yet published a “comment” on a published paper, but I’m sure that day will come.  I certainly hope we handle the situation better than the editors described in “How to Publish …”.

The suggested “fixes” to the publication process at the end of the paper are a mix of interesting, often-heard, and completely off the mark suggestions.  Clearly, the editor who published a paper should not handle a comment on that paper because of the potential conflict of interest.  Economists have been howling for an archival process for data used in empirical research for years, to mixed success.  However, I take issue with the final suggested remedy

Finally, lets face it: most journal editors are simply too arrogant and have lost sight of the goal, which, it appears I need to remind them of here, is to publish only truth.  Perhaps they could be required to take a course or two in humility.

I am a journal editor, both for the IJSF and Contemporary Economic Policy.  I know several other journal editors in economics, finance and sport management.  I have dealt with many others in my career.  I have not found them to be arrogant.  The journal editors I know are mostly hard working and well-meaning.  They have a difficult job, because they make most of the authors they deal with unhappy.  I certainly try to deal with authors and referees in a respectful manner.  Some tension is unavoidable, because being an editor entails rejecting papers, a painful process.  Of course, Professor Trebino was dragged through a horrible process.  The whole Catch-22 “one page limit” on his comment is painful to read, even though he manages to make light of it.  I can’t say that I would have any less scathing suggestions if I had to go through what he did.

(Hat tip to the always interesting Craig Newmark).

IJSF added to SCOPUS

August 21, 2009

Good news on the citation front:  We have just learned that the IJSF will be included in the SCOPUS citation database.  We have been a part of the Web of Science/Social Science Citation Index for several years, which also means that the IJSF is ranked in the Journal Citation Reports.

Although this is big news, many of you loyal IJSF blog readers are probably thinking “so what?”  Here’s the scoop.  One of the main tools used by administrators in higher education for evaluating the quality of scholarship these days is citations.  It’s not enough to publish papers in peer-reviewed journals like the IJSF. Researchers are expected to publish papers that are cited by other researchers.  Citations are interpreted as a better measure of the quality of scholarship than raw publication counts because citations indicate that some other scholar skimmed or read the paper, and found what was in the paper useful enough to include in the citations of another paper that was good enough to get published.

In the old days, when academics were academics and reference librarians were scared s*%@less, citation counts were difficult to calculate.  There were print publications — in economics it was the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) — that occupied scores of linear feet of shelf space in libraries. The SSCI was notoriously difficult to use, because it used cryptic abbreviations for journals and consisted entirely of  hundreds of thousands of pages that contained information like this:

74 J EXP PSYCHOL      102     517
ASUNCION AG        J EXP S PSY         31   437   95
FOKIAS D               CLIN PSYCH        15   437   95
MALLE BF               J PER SOC            68   470   95
MARX EM               EUR R AP PS        44   271   95
85 READ TEACH       39     198
PALINCSA.AS       SCH PSYCH R     24    331   95
86 ADV COGNITIVE BEHAVI      5      1
BRUCH MA            COGN THER R    19      91    95
”                          J PERSONAL      63      47    95
HOPE DA                BEHAV RES T     33    637    95
89 FAM PLANN PERSPECT      21      170
CURRIE J                AM ECON REV   85    106   95
LEWIT EM              FUT CHILD            5      35   95
MEHLMANN MJ   AM J HU GEN      55  1054   94
TAIBI AD               DUKE LAW J      44     928  95   R

I found that material on a page at the Western Washington University library explaining how to use the SSCI. That information is now about as useful as knowing how to operate a buggy whip.  As you can see, that’s an Incredibly User Friendly Interface ™.  The entry summarizes the citations for papers published by  someone named R.M. Schwartz.  The text in bold indicate the publications.  The first line, “74 J EXP PSYCHOL      102     517″ is for a paper that was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology (I am guessing – as I mentioned the SSCI journal acronyms were obscure) in 1974.  In volume 102, on page 517.  The next line “ASUNCION AG  J EXP S PSY  31   437   95” is a citation.  Someone named  A.G. Asuncion cited Schwartz’s 1974 Journal of Experimental Psychology paper in another journal (J EXP S PSY, whatever the heck that is) in 1995.  Note that all of the citations are from 1994 or 1995.  That’s because there was a SSCI volume published every year.  So to get a citation count for Professor RM Schwartz, you had to thumb through the SSCI volume for every year.

As an aside, dusting off my rusty SSCI reading skills, I can tell you that R.M. Schwartz was writing some good papers. Some of them were still being cited regularly 20 years after publication, and one of his papers was cited in the American Economic Review ( CURRIE J   AM ECON REV   85    106   95) a top journal in another discipline.  Not too shabby.  As you can easily see, getting citation counts was not easy in the Old Days. It involved sitting in the library for hours, doing significant damage to your eyesight (the SSCI was set in a punishingly tiny agate typeface), counting lines in the SSCI.  And then you walked home two hours through a blizzard uphill all the way with only tattered rags on your feet.  We had it tough in those days.

In these modern times, we have Them Internets ™ to make citation counting easy.  That’s where SCOPUS and Web of Science (which is the web-based version of the SSCI) come in.  If your university has a subscription to one of these services, you can easily get the citation count for any paper written by any author in a journal that is included in these databases.  You can also get a citation count through Google Scholar for free, but Google Scholar citation counts include a lot of citations from outlets other than peer reviewed academic journals.

My method of evaluating the quality of a paper is to read it and decide for myself how good the paper is.  But I’m old fashioned, and my method wouldn’t work well if I had to evaluate a paper on, say, quantum mechanics.

This process also extends to the evaluation of scholarly journals.  That’s where the Journal Citation Reports come into the picture.  Academic journals are now evaluated and ranked based on where, when, and how often papers published in each journal are cited.  The JCRs rank journals based on a number of citation metrics that I don’t fully understand.  It doesn’t matter that the users of these rankings don’t understand how they are constructed.   The user just glances at the rankings to see where Journal X stands.  Not the best system, but that’s the way the research biz works.

The bottom line: getting the IJSF in SCOPUS and Web of Science is a good thing because it makes it easier to track citations of papers published in the journal.  If you publish a paper in the IJSF, or a paper published in the IJSF cites a paper you published, then those things get fed into the gaping maw of the academic-industrial complex, and will eventually be spit out in the form of citation counts or journal rankings.

Then, if you are lucky, some associate vice dean for evaluation and punishment will glance at your citation count for five seconds, evaluate your work based on that single number, and decide to give you a merit pay increase that will be almost enough, after taxes, to purchase a 9″ cheese pizza (if you have a coupon).  Sorry – my cynicism is sometimes difficult to rein in.

IJSF Author Q&A: Phil Miller

August 18, 2009

Researchers trace the advance of a line of research through citation trails, a progression of published articles through time.  But each published article is like an iceberg: it’s just the visible tip of the research project, and most of the big, important stuff lies below, unobservable.  The IJSF blog is a useful way to expose some more of the iceberg, and can help us learn more about the space in between published papers, where the interesting part of the research process takes place.

Phil Miller is an associate professor in the Department of Economics at Minnesota State University, Mankato.  His research focuses on labor economics in sport, where he has published extensively on arbitration in sport, and on the economic  impact of sport.  He blogs at Market Power and The Sports Economist.  His paper “Facility Age and Ownership in Major American Team Sports Leagues: The Effect on Team Franchise Values” was published in IJSF4.3.

1. Where did you get the idea for this paper?

I had a paper published in the Journal of Sports Economics (in 2007) in which I examined the determinants of MLB franchise values published annually by Forbes.  One of the items I looked at was the effect of public ownership of playing facilities on team franchise values.  I found that MLB franchises that owned their playing facilities had, on average, higher estimated values than teams that did not own their facilities.  The paper that appears in the current IJSF extends my work in the 2007 JSE paper to the NFL, the NBA, and the NHL.

2. What were some of the challenges that you faced when working on this research?

A lack of time, the always-scarce productive resource, was the main thing that I had to deal with.  Fortunately, my college (the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Minnesota State University, Mankato) has a research reassignment program that gives faculty a one-class teaching load reduction in exchange for the completion of a research project.  That reassignment gave me the time to work on this project.

3. How does this paper fit in your research agenda?

It fits into my agenda in a couple of ways.  First, almost all of my previous publications had something to do with MLB and I wanted to branch out into studying other sports leagues.  Second, one of my ongoing interests is the relation between government and sports.  The effect of facility ownership on franchise values is a new angle of this branch of research that I wanted to keep exploring.

4. Describe a future research project that you would like to see that builds on your paper.

Well, any future project would certainly have to prominently cite my work, positively so of course.  OK., I’m kidding there.  But Forbes franchise value estimates are widely-reported figures that aren’t well understood by those outside of those who create them (i.e. the folks at Forbes).  I would be interested in papers that further explore the determinants of these values.  For instance, some have argued that these franchise value estimates are simple multiples of revenues.   Is this the case?

IJSF Access Statistics from RePEc

August 6, 2009

ijsfcover1File views and downloads of IJSF articles are tracked by RePEc and distributed monthly to journal editors.  The report for July came out yesterday.  I thought that readers of this blog might be interested in this  information.

Page views (file downloads) on participating RePEc services:
Last month:    435 (130)
Previous month: 534 (122)
Last 3 months: 1551 (407)
Last year:     7137 (1900)
Since start:   13472 (3413)

The IJSF is a relatively new journal, so we don’t have a long enough publication run to generate much in the way of impact factors.  However, we continue to improve every month, which is encouraging.  Here are the impact factors:

Simple impact factor: 0.3
Recursive impact factor: 0.01
Discounted impact factor: 0.15
Recursive discounted impact factor: 0.01
h-index: 2

Finally, RePEc identifies the top papers published in the journal.  The full list is on line here. The top 5 IJSF papers by download are

1 Betting Exchanges: The Future of Sports Betting? Ruud Koning and Bart van Velzen
2 The Novelty Effect of the New Football Stadia: The Case of Germany, Arne Feddersen, Wolfgang Maennig and Malte Borcherding
2 Ticket Prices, Concessions and Attendance at Professional Sporting Events, Dennis Coates and Brad Humphreys
2 The Causality between Salary Structures and Team Performance: A Panel Analysis in a Professional Baseball League, Jane, Wen-Jhan, Gee San and Ou, Yi-Pey
5 Putting Moneyball on Ice? Daniel Mason and William Foster
5 Impression Management in Football Club Financial Reporting, Stephen Morrow