Hypatia and Hirsch Numbers

O.K., let me start with some apologies for drawing attention to some recent discussion on the philosophical blogosphere of Hirsch-scores and author impact analysis through citation indices. This sort of thing often smacks as the kind of posturing that I find troubling in the philosophy profession. However, citation scores for published articles are certainly one possibility for future research assessments in the U.K, and maybe even Australia.

But let me get to the point.A 2005 paper by J.E. Hirsch, “An Index to Quantify An Individuals Scientific Research Output”, proposes to generate a “Hirsch” number for a researcher according to how many citations that researchers’ papers receive. (You can find details of how its calculated here). There is also a down-loadable program called”Harzing’s Publish or Perish” (here) which uses Google Scholar to calculate Hirsch Numbers. Now, some philosophers have been playing around with this programme recently to create lists of Top Epistemologists, Departmental Rankings, and most recently, and of most relevance to this post, Journal Rankings.

The reason I’m posting is that, in light of lots of the concerns that we have on this blog about publishing feminist philosophy (see the posts under this category), and in particular, the ESF’s low ranking of Hypatia and the problem of getting others to recognise the value of being published in that journal (see here), the result of the Journal Rankings are quite interesting.Gregory Wheeler (over at Certain Doubts), who ran the statistics for Journal rankings by Hirsch numbers, used the same ESF list which gave Hypatia a low rank. By Hirsch numbers, of the 75 journals listed, Hypatia comes in 26th (see the spread sheet linked on Wheeler’s post), and ahead of the following selective list of well known journals which the ESF ranked higher: The Proceedings of The Aristotelian Society, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Philosophical Quarterly, American Philosophical Quarterly, Law and Philosophy, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.And of well known journals given the same ranking by the ESF, it scores a higher Hirsch number than: The European Journal of Philosophy, The Canadian Journal of Philosophy, and Ratio amongst many others.

It’s obvious that the Publish or Perish programme has obvious flaws, and the reasons why Hypatia scores well may have much to do with the limited choices Feminist philosophers have when trying to place an article. I’ll leave you to ponder the reasons why Hypatia scores well by Hirsch numbers, but I have to say that seeing this left me feeling cheered up and thumbing my teeth at the ESF. And since the future of some important research assessments is certainly looking citation shaped, it leaves me feeling a little optimistic too (but I am a bit of a Pollyanna).

Fucking hell.

Just in case the Americans might have thought the UK was doing better in terms of totally blatant prejudice, here’s the cover of this week’s Private Eye.

 Bigotry on parade Thanks, Mr Jender. (In future posts, I will try to return to speechlessness when only expletives come to mind, but hey sometimes you can’t help yourself.)

Have you actually seen it?

Some of the responses in comments suggest that people might not actually have seen the “Hillary Crying” video.  I’m putting it up here so you can.  A few things (of many) that strike me:  (1) This is not crying; (2) I’ve seen plenty of male politicians do this without anyone caring; (3) She seems genuinely upset at the disastrous state of things under Bush.  Because of (3), I count myself amongst those who like her better after seeing the video.  (I always liked the visible anger in John Edwards, and have been put off by those who don’t seem upset enough.) So here’s the video, for those who have worried she might really have been losing control.

Here’s Jon Stewart’s wonderful take on it.
And here’s an excellent Tom Toles cartoon, linked to in a comment from Helen Esch.Hillary-Toles