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The troubled publication Scientific World Journal will once again lose its impact factor (this time for 2014), according to one Thomson Reuters website and reports I have received. Web of Science deleted the title (i.e., will no longer index articles) on August 23, 2014.

No mention of any impact factor appears on the journal’s home page, here: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/

Also, a Thomson Reuters website entitled “Thomson Reuters Master Journal List JOURNAL COVERAGE CHANGES (for the past 12 months)” generates the result shown in the image above when the journal’s title is searched. The result says, “Dropped.” No reason is given. That website is here.

Soon after Hindawi Publishing Corporation purchased this journal in 2012, Thomson Reuters suppressed the journal’s 2011 impact factor due to an “anomalous citation pattern” that occurred apparently before Hindawi purchased the journal from its previous owner but reported impact factors for both 2012 and 2013 and, oddly, 5 year impact factors, all of which include 2011 data.

I reported on this impact factor suppression here.

I also learned that these two Hindawi journals have also been dropped by Thomson Reuters

The situation for these two journals is the same as it is with the Scientific World Journal. There is no mention of any impact factor on the journal’s website, Thomson Reuters reports the journals have been dropped, but Journal Citation Reports will continue to show an impact factor for both titles through 2013.

An inquiry sent to Thomson Reuters received this response regarding the three journals:

In this situation, two of our editors noticed abnormal citation patterns between these three journals and a rapid decline of journal quality.  They determined that these should be removed as quickly as possible from the Web of Science to preserve our reputation for quality and maintain the trust of the research community.

Intensive Spamming

Hindawi Publishing Corporation is currently involved in an intensive spamming campaign. Scholars from all over the world have been forwarding me spam emails they have recently received from Hindawi, and I personally received a spam email requesting that I submit a paper to their highly focused Geography Journal. I am an academic librarian and don’t have a formal background in Geography.

On its website, Hindawi reports that it “is a rapidly growing academic publisher with 434 peer-reviewed, open access journals covering a wide range of academic disciplines.” Perhaps it is growing too quickly.

Conclusion

I have also heard about a questionable article that appears in Hindawi’s Journal of Lipids. The article is entitled “Why Fish Oil Fails: A Comprehensive 21st Century Lipids-Based Physiologic Analysis.”

Finally, here is a blog post by ravingscientist01 that reports on a questionable article published in Hindawi’s journal Biomed Research International.

UPDATE 2014-10-15: Response from Hindawi Publishing corporation:

My name is Paul Peters and I am the Chief Strategy Officer for Hindawi. It is indeed true that three of Hindawi’s journals (“The Scientific World Journal,” “Abstract and Applied Analysis,” and “Journal of Applied Mathematics”) were deselected for coverage in the Science Citation Index Expanded on September 15. As soon as the deselection of these journals was announced, Hindawi contacted the authors and editors of these journals to inform them of this decision and updated the journal websites accordingly. Hindawi fully acknowledges that Thomson Reuters has the editorial freedom to determine which journals are included in its databases, however I would like to respond to the two specific points of concern that were mentioned in this blog post.

I would first like to respond to the issue of citation stacking between these three journals. Prior to the release of the most recent Journal Citation Reports (JCR) in July 2014, Thomson Reuters conducted a full analysis of self-citations and citation stacking, which resulted in the suppression of 38 journals from the most recent JCR. None of the three deselected journals from Hindawi were included in this list of suppressed journals. In addition, Hindawi has analyzed the citations that each of these three journals have received within Web of Science so far in 2014 and found the following results:

– The Scientific World Journal has received a total of 3,627 citations in 2014, of which there are 19 citations from Abstract and Applied Analysis and 11 citations from the Journal of Applied Mathematics. – Abstract and Applied Analysis has received a total of 2,356 citations in 2014, of which there are 86 citations from The Scientific World Journal and 79 citations from Journal of Applied Mathematics. – Journal of Applied Mathematics has received a total of 870 citations in 2014, of which there are 43 citations from The Scientific World Journal and 122 from Abstract and Applied Analysis.

I would also like to respond to the issue of declining quality in these three journals. The most straightforward quality metric to look at in judging the quality of these journals is the Impact Factor for each of these titles. While there are limitations to what the Impact Factor can measure, it is a useful metric for comparing the citation impact of content published in journals that are within a particular subject category.

Abstract and Applied Analysis’ Impact Factor ranks the journal as number 22 out of 299 journals in the Mathematics subject category in the most recent Journal Citation Reports, which places it among the top 10% of all math journals in the Web of Science. The Impact Factor for the Journal of Applied Mathematics is roughly at the mid-point of the Applied Mathematics subject category (number 130 out of 250 total journals) in the most recent JCR. Finally, The Scientific World Journal’s Impact Factor places it in the top third of all journals (16 out of 55 journals) in the Multidisciplinary Sciences subject category.

If self-citations are excluded from the Impact Factor calculations of all journals, Abstract and Applied Analysis would be ranked number 49 out of 299 journals in Mathematics, the Journal of Applied Mathematics would be ranked number 154 out of 250 journals in Applied Mathematics, and The Scientific World Journal would be ranked number 14 out of 55 journals in Multidisciplinary Sciences.

Hindawi understands that for many authors it is important for these journals to be indexed in the Science Citation Index Expanded so that publications in these journals can be considered in research assessment exercises as well as tenure and promotion reviews. Hindawi will continue working with Thomson Reuters in order to respond to any concerns that they may have in the hope that these journals will be considered for inclusion in the Science Citation Index Expanded in the future

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