Monday, September 27, 2010

GlobalHigherEd blog rejects innocuous comment

Why are so many bloggers control freaks when it comes to comment moderation?

Readers may recall a pair of tweets from GlobalHigherEd. A day or two ago I visited a blog post there by Pablo Achard called Rankings: a case of blurry pictures of the academic landscape? Pablo was a guest blogger for that post; the proprietors of GlobalHigherEd are Kris Olds & Susan Robertson.

Pablo's post contained the following paragraph discussing the THE university rankings.

This indicator is a welcome improvement to the raw ratio of citations per publications since it takes into account the citation behaviours of the different disciplines. But it suffers from instability if you look at a small set of publications or at publications in fields where you don’t expect many citations [2]: the denominator can become very small, leading to rocket high ratios. This is likely what happened with the Alexandria University. According to this indicator, this Alexandria ranks 4th in the world, surpassed only by Caltech, MIT and Princeton. This is an unexpected result for anyone who knows the world research landscape [3].

Regarding that paragraph, I left the following short comment.

Hello, Pablo. You attribute University of Alexandria's ridiculous 4th place finish in research impact to small denominators, rocket high ratios, etc. Well, not really. Any points system can be gamed by the unscrupulous, and that's what happened in this case.

My name was hotlinked back to this blog.

As of this writing no comments appear at all, from anyone. What's up with that? Is GlobalHigherEd asleep at the wheel? Or is it, as I suspect, that my comment has been rejected.

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  1. You could point them to this recent posting Nefarious Numbers, by Arnold and Fowler.
    Abstract: "We investigate the journal impact factor, focusing on the applied mathematics category. We demonstrate that significant manipulation of the impact factor is being carried out by the editors of some journals and that the impact factor gives a very inaccurate view of journal quality, which is poorly correlated with expert opinion."

    Plenty of mention of the usual suspects, ElN, He, IJNSNS, and CS&F, and others — a follow to Arnold's earlier SIAM piece.

  2. Wow, excellent and damning. Thanks for finding it. Hmmm. There's no indication it's going to appear anywhere other than the arXiv. And no list of references. That's unusual.