Publish and Perish?

The Impact of Citation Indexing on the Development of New Fields of Environmental Research


  • Henrikke Baumann

  • Henrikke Baumann is an assistant professor in en-vironmental systems analysis at the Chalmers Univer-sity of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden.


The publishing of research has implications for the evaluation of research careers, research departments, and funding for research projects. Researchers' academic evaluation relies heavily on the status of the journals in which they publish. The inclusion of one's work in the Science Citation Index (SCI) and the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) is often used as an indicator of academic quality. This is unfortunate for many environmental researchers, as their journals are not represented in the SCI and SSCI. Two investigations were carried out to determine the reasons for this. The first investigation identified 352 existing environmental academic journals, classified into seven categories (and several subcategories). Of these, two categories were not represented in the SCI or SSCI: environmental systems analysis journals and corporate environmental management journals. The second survey investigated the publishing patterns of interdisciplinary research groups and the characteristics of the journals in which they publish. In spite of acceptable citation levels, interdisciplinary environmental journals are excluded from the SCI and SSCI. A major reason seems to be that citations of their articles are uncounted by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), the organization producing the SCI and SSCI, because citations mostly take place in a group of journals completely unrepresented in ISI's database.