Maintaining the competitiveness of the American fisheries society journals: An assessment based on influence and cost-effectiveness

D. A. Hewitt, J. S. Link, David H. Wahl, Steven J. Cooke, M. E. Mather

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent changes in the landscape of scientific publishing prompted the Publications Overview Committee of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) to review the Society's portfolio of scientific journals. We evaluated journals based on metrics in two categories: (1) citation-based measures of the influence of a journal on the scientific literature, and (2) measures of the cost-effectiveness of a journal (citation rate adjusted for subscription cost). Over the long-term, we found that ecology journals had far stronger citation-based influence than fisheries and aquatic sciences journals, and that journals publishing primarily basic research had stronger influence than journals publishing applied research (including four AFS journals and Fisheries magazine). In evaluating the current status of fisheries and aquatic sciences journals, we found that metrics of influence and cost-effectiveness provided considerably different portrayals of journals relative to their peers. In terms of citation-based influence, we found that the AFS journal Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (TAFS) and Fisheries magazine were competitive with highly regarded peer fisheries journals, but that North American Journal of Aquaculture (NAJA) and Journal of Aquatic Animal Health (JAAH) were less influential than their peers. The citation-based influence of North American Journal of Fisheries Management (NAJFM) was intermediate between TAFS/Fisheries and NAJA/JAAH. For journals like NAJFM and NAJA, we expect that much of the scientific influence on policy and management is not captured by citations in the primary literature, and alternative methods of evaluation may be needed. All of the AFS journals ranked highly with regard to cost-effectiveness because their subscription costs are low, and these rankings are in accordance with membership needs and the strategic mission of AFS to provide broad and timely dissemination of scientific information. We conclude by suggesting ways to increase the influence of AFS journals without compromising their accessibility and affordability, and offer advice about methods and frequency for future journal evaluations. (c) 2009.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598--606
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2009


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