I see in other places petitions to get an impact factor reinstated for Zootaxa. 

I've not been a fan of the impact factor concept because all it seems to do is measure popularity of research topics/journals, but for some reason administrators use it as a measure of scientific quality of individual papers/ worth of individual authors. Two very different things. 

Imagine all the journals in the world laid out in an x, y grid. Plot their impact factor on the z access. Now fly over the landscape. Vast quantities of the impact factor universe will be flat or nearly so. No matter what you do, or how well you do it, if you work in most parts of the research landscape, you'll never be able to have an impact over a certain number. It's like being a mountain climber in Kansas. No matter how hard you try, you have no hope of out-climbing someone at the bottom of a hill in Denver.  

If impact factor doesn't work for the biggest taxonomic journal in the world, wouldn't this be a good time to part ways with it? Either specifically state "Impact Factor as calculated by xyz can not be appropriately applied to taxonomic literature.", or if we have to have a number, let the taxonomy world come up with their own internal measure of "impact". It might be calculated by number of new species described, number of revisions, number of monographs, turn around time, rejection rate, and cost. 

Just a thought. 



On Fri, Jul 3, 2020 at 5:21 PM Vinton Thompson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Thanks for the posting.  Self-citation is almost inevitable in the smallish expert groups we work among, not to mention the small interlocking directorates of specialists who, for lack of external expertise, end up reviewing each other's submissions inordinately often.  It not entirely desirable, but the only alternatives would be to 1) omit or limit citation of relevant work just because one or more of the authors were party to it, or 2) to engage less knowledgeable reviewers because the deep expertise in a lot of groups is so concentrated. The issue for publications like Zootaxa is not analogous to more general molecular work, where a lot of the reviewing involves assessment of the application of lab techniques or data analysis that are applied over broad areas of investigation.  In such broader, less taxonomically oriented work, the impetus for self-citation is smaller and the pool of expert reviewers larger.

I encourage anybody in a position to bring pressure to bear in favor of keeping Zootaxa on the list to do so (and to do the same for any analogous journals that might be in danger of the same fate).


Vinton Thompson, PhD
Research Associate
Division of Invertebrate Zoology
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024, USA
Telephone: 917-443-1680
Email: [log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Michael Wilson
Sent: Friday, July 3, 2020 11:16 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Fw: Zootaxa removed from Web of Science Impact Factors?


This information appears to be circulating among some groups- but I have not been aware of it for insects yet.  Lacking a citation index would clearly adversely affect many authors.

But I was unsure if Clarivate Web of Science was the only provider of an Impact Factor.

Mike Wilson
National Museum of Wales

From: Annelida <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Vasily Radashevsky <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: 03 July 2020 09:13
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Zootaxa and SCI

Absolutely agree with Dani!

With colleagues of mine from the National Scientific Center of Marine Biology, Russia Academy of Sciences, we have already discussed the situation around Zootaxa and all agreed to send a letter to the Clarivate Analytics asking to bring back Zootaxa to the JCR report.

Self citation by a taxonomic journal shows its extreme popularity among taxonomy experts and high quality of its production, which were misinterpreted by the Clarivate Analytics as imperfection.

Vasily Radashevsky

From: Annelida [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Daniel Martin
Sent: Friday, July 03, 2020 10:44 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Zootaxa and SCI

Dear colleagues,

I have recently been informed that Crarivate has eliminated Zootaxa from their 2019 Web of Science Journal Impact Factor list. I think that such a decision could be a serious weakness for the scientific institutions keeping high profiles in taxonomy and biodiversity studies, which count on journals like Zootaxa for their evaluations, as well as for the career assessment of those researchers (either well-stablished or young) that are still interested in (or will be attracted to) describe and communicate to the scientific community, and thus the whole society, the amazing still unknown biodiversity of our world. I must say, like most of us.

It seems that the reason is the high number of self-citations. However, I think that we all understand that self-citations are a direct consequence of publishing (fast and keeping high quality) papers containing descriptions of new species and many other taxonomic/nomenclatural acts, combined with the reduced number of journals accepting this kind of studies. Based on data from Zoological Records on the journals containing taxonomic papers, Zootaxa is in the top by large as it includes more than 25% of the new taxa described from 2015 to date.

Journal title

New taxa







European Journal of Taxonomy



Linzer Biologische Beitraege



Cretaceous Research



Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society



Insecta Mundi



Paleontological Journal



Journal of Systematic Palaeontology



Systematic and Applied Acarology



We think that this situation merits to act some way and, together with some colleagues, we have decided to write to Clarivate to explain this situation and to ask them to include again Zootaza in the Journal Impact Factor list. If you agree we our arguments, maybe you will also consider to joint this initiative and to distribute this message within your colleagues.

I am sorry for this long message, but I think this is just another brick whose disappearance will directly affect the taxonomic research foundations.



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Daniel Martin

Scientific Researcher - Head of Department

Department of Marine Ecology,
Centre d'Estudis Avançats de Blanes (CEAB-CSIC)


972336101  m: 636046003




Carrer d'accés a la Cala Sant Francesc 14, 17300 Blanes, Catalunya, Spain

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