Citations, publications, indicators

February, 2014

The Subcommittee on Citations, Publications and Related Indicators is part of the Student Experience Enhancement Council -- a council that aims to maintain Iowa State's trademark high-quality student experience as enrollment surges. Academic enrichment experiences for undergraduates include such things as internships and co-ops, study abroad, academic or career-related student organizations, learning communities, Honors Program and conducting research with a faculty member.


Increase the number of publications and citations attributed to Iowa State University. Citations is one of the four primary membership indicators the Association of American Universities (AAU) uses to assess the breadth and quality of university programs of research and graduate education.

Tier 1 recommendations

Promote the visibility of publications through the ISU Digital Repository

The Digital Repository@Iowa State University is a significant new research tool that provides free and open global access to Iowa State scholarship through the Internet (e.g., Google Scholar) and the e-Library. Its impact extends the reputation of faculty, researchers, graduate and professional students, undergraduates and alums through their scholarship, including articles, book chapters, scholarship, grants, theses, dissertations, conference publications, extension reports, patents, etc. In doing so, the repository showcases and broadens the influence of Iowa State and its scholars to a global audience.

Since its inception, with limited student staffing, the repository coordinator has received vitas from faculty, students and staff, representing 38 academic departments and programs, administrative offices, and research centers and institutes across campus. Currently, it holds more than 12,000 items with over 1,000,000 downloads. In addition to broadening access and therefore impact, the repository is positioned to support new federal requirements that mandate public access to federally funded scholarship and data. As such, the repository is positioned to fulfill these requirements for ISU principal investigators and serve as a federated node of university-based institutional repositories as part of the AAU/APLU/ARL SHARE proposal to federal agencies.

Make available a list of high-impact journals by field from Thomson Reuters

The subcommittee co-chairs contracted with Thomson Reuters (TR), the source AAU uses for collecting information on its membership indicator of citations, to systematically and objectively generate a list of high-impact journals by field. Thomson Reuters has submitted a report that lists top, peer-reviewed journals in 22 broad fields. The report provides the top peer-reviewed journals within the first quartile for each broad field, ranked on the basis of an average Impact Factors (IF) of the latest three years for which data are available (2009, 2010 and 2011).

The journal Impact Factor (IF) serves as a gross approximation of the prestige of journals. The IF, calculated by dividing the number of citations in a given year by the total number of articles published in the two previous years, represents the average number of times articles from a journal have been cited.

The report is currently posted in the Iowa State University Digital Library. The plan is to make it accessible through the e-Library with links to the Offices of the President, Senior Vice President and Provost, and Vice President for Research, and the Graduate College. Meanwhile, several avenues will be utilized to publicize the list. The intent is to encourage faculty and staff to target such high-impact journals when considering the publishing of research results and other papers thereby contributing to generally increasing the number of publications and citations attributed to Iowa State University.

An added benefit from obtaining the list of top-impact journals from Thomson Reuters is that it has enabled the Library to assess the depth of its journal holdings by comparing its holdings to this list of high-impact journals. In the future, the subsequent assessment may influence budgetary and reallocation decisions for serial acquisitions.

Future meetings and activities

The Subcommittee recommendations also included, as Tier 2 level items, short- and long-term faculty and staff development programs. As mentioned above, comparing the list of high-impact journals with current Library holdings may influence budgetary and reallocation decisions for serial acquisitions. Meetings and activities of the subcommittee for the balance of this academic year will include looking into ways to develop such projects into actionable recommendations, as well as explore other possibilities to enhance scholarly work.

Subcommittee members

Co-chairs are Olivia Madison and Gebre Tesfagiorgis. Other members are Mark Ackermann, Leonard Bond, Linda Hagedorn, Dermot Hayes, Sara Marcketti, David Oliver and Ulrike Passe.