Friday, March 18, 2011

More on Ji-Huan He's citation scandal

Blog de la Biblioteca de Matemáticas of Universidad Complutense Madrid extensively cites the Francis the Mule post we wrote about in Latest from the Spanish science blogosphere. Shrink pointed out to me the original page in Spanish: Por qué una revista del montón tiene el mayor índice de impacto en Matemática aplicada. My English translation appears below.




Why a trash-heap journal has
the highest impact factor in applied math



The journal The International Journal of Nonlinear Sciences and Numerical Simulation (IJNSNS) reached in 2008 the impact factor of 8.91 and from 2006 (and until 2009) leads the list of international journals in the area of ​​Applied Mathematics according to the Journal Citation Report (JCR). In 2011 it will not do: IJNSNS has changed publishers (from Freund to De Gruiter) and its chief editor (Ji-Huan He) has been replaced. The high rate of impact is due to shady practices. J.-H. He has been described by Douglas N. Arnold and Kristine K. Fowler in "Nefarious Numbers," Notices of the AMS 58: 434-437, March 2011 (ArXiv, October 1, 2010). More information on Arnold & Fowler on "Nefarious Numbers" about the impact factor manipulation.

In 2008, the 79 IJNSNS articles published in 2007 were cited 821 times and the 84 published in 2006 were cited 561 times, therefore the impact rate is (821 +561) / (79 +84) = 1382/163 = 8.479 . How has Ji-Huan He of IJNSNS obtained such a high impact? We reproduce below the rest of the blog post The Science of Francis the Mule:

The researcher in IJNSNS with the most citations in 2008 is... its editor, Ji-Huan He (243 citation of the 1382). The second in citation frequency is D. D. Ganji (with 114 citations) and the third is Mohamed El Naschie (with 58 citations). Both are members of the editorial board of the magazine. These three authors are responsible for 29% of the citations that count for the impact factor of IJNSNS. Moreover, the 71.5% of the citations in 2008 to IJNSNS are citations to articles published in 2006 and 2007 (the citations that count toward the impact rate).

The international magazine that has most cited IJNSNS in 2008 is the Journal of Physics: Conference Series, responsible for 294 citations (over 20% of the 1382). All these citations are from a single issue of this journal, proceedings of an international conference organized by... Ji-Huan He, IJNSNS senior editor at his own university. The second most cited journal in IJNSNS in 2008 was the Topological Methods in Nonlinear Analysis, yielding 206 citations (14%) and again all citations are from a single issue of this journal, a special issue's whose guest editor is, guess who, Ji-Huan He. The third most frequently citing journal in 2008 to IJNSNS is the journal Chaos, Solitons and Fractals, with 154 citations. Ji-Huan He was a member of the editorial board of CS&F and its chief editor Mohamed El Naschie is coeditor (regional) of IJNSNS. The fourth most frequently citing journal is the Journal of Polymer Engineering, also a single issue, and edited by Ji-Huan He. Ji-Huan He is directly responsible for more than 50% of the citations to IJNSNS in 2008.

According to Essential Science Indicators, produced by Thomson Reuters, J.-H. He is one of today's most cited scientists in Mathematics, with 6,800 citations and h-index of 39 (according to Hirsch, the inventor of the h-index, the average among winners of the Nobel prize in physics is 35). He and his evil arts have managed to reach the pinnacle of the most cited scientists. For example, the special issue of the Journal of Physics: Conference Series aforementioned, edited by himself, alone contains 353 citations to their own articles. What can one say!

The impact factor has grown from a bibliometric indicator unknown to most researchers to become far more widely used to rank journals, scientists and scientific institutions. Its manipulation is inevitable, although seldom so exaggeratedly as in the case when IJNSNS was edited by J.-H. He. (We hope the new editor will clean up this magazine's mess.)




UPDATE. Francis the Mule has a post about this on his English language blog "Francis' world inside out": Arnold & Fowler on “Nefarious Numbers” about the impact factor manipulation.


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