By Zandile Hlabangane, fourth-year BJourn student
Rhodes University Library hosted their 3rd annual Research Week, which kicked off on Monday 3 June 2019. The topic for the first day involved “Research discovery, evaluation, peer reviews and Publons”.
A presentation given by Zanele Mogoba, product specialist at World-Wide Information Services (WWIS), focused on how to publish in high impact journals. She was also joined by Sylvia Kgorane, account manager at Clarivate analytics.
WWIS is a dominant player in the South African Information Management Solutions industry, and supplies print and electronic information subscriptions to the academic, corporate and government markets. WWIS uses Web of Science, which is a database which acts as a discovery tool. Web of Science not only has content that is focused on the sciences, but it can be used for citation indexes, patent data, specialised subject indexes and as an index of research data sets. Mogoba expressed that when one is doing research, it is not advisable to use a database like Google Scholar, mainly because when doing research you should be looking for journals that have been curated as scholarly content.
Mogoba added that the manner in which Google Scholar harvests its data and makes content available on their website, is not entirely how the scholarly community considers peer-reviewed scholarly content. She also expressed that it would be better to land on Google Scholar from curated databases than the other way around. Web of Science has an index of citations that have been peer reviewed from a scholarly point of view, and have been indexed from high impact journals. Web of Science can also be used to identify potential collaborators with significant citation records, because when a search of a site is conducted, the results show which articles are highly read and highly sited, which could lead to potential collaboration.
In the past, universities have reached out to a company to ask if whether their articles could be indexed, but, as Mogoba explained, part of Web of Science’s journal selection process includes an “emerging sources” index, which is used to make newer journals available in a citation database. By newer, they are referring to articles that were published less than two years ago, and articles that entertain new topics that traditionally were not available. The emerging sources index, however, is not yet entirely credited.
Mogoba also touched on Publons, which is a commercial site that allows academics to track their research impact. It allows for the tracking of peer reviews and citations, and it is easy to add publications to a profile. Publons makes it easy to manage the academic presence in Web of Science and to maintain a verified record of their peer reviews.