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Evaluation of research publications and publication channels in astronomy and astrophysics

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posted on 27.11.2017, 14:01 by Eva IsakssonEva Isaksson, Henrik Vesterinen
Astronomy is the oldest of natural sciences. Astronomers have mostly a clear idea of what should be counted as astronomy. Their preferred bibliometric tool is the NASA Astrophysics Data System. Others use products like Web of Science and Scopus, along with related analytics tools to evaluate astronomy. The results are tainted by inherent problems in the chosen classification system.
The most common challenges and pitfalls are reviewed. In Web of Science, the inclusion of journals like Physical Review D and Physics Letters B in the astronomy and astrophysics category mean that a large number of High Energy Physics papers are starting to distort the outcomes. In Scopus, the fractionalizing of articles between subject categories causes a different kind of distortion.
We have looked into a set of astronomy publications covering 95% of the total output for the field of astronomy and astrophysics for Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway for 2000-2015. We provide some results for sets of journals using InCites, SciVal, VOSviewer and Altmetric Explorer.
Norway, Denmark, and Finland have created journal and publisher ranking systems that are used in national funding models. Differences in how astronomy journals are weighed in these systems seem to be related to the volume of papers published on a national level.