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Follow-Up on Academic Analytics

January 26, 2015

Michael Bugeja, director,
Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication,
Iowa State University of Science and Technology


You may have read my previous post on Academic Analytics, a database that includes research, scholarship, grants, citations and productivity of more than 270,000 faculty members across the country. It ranks units by graduate program, department, discipline and individual, along with other functions. Its primary function is rating graduate programs. Its mission is supporting “university leaders as they strive for excellence,” guiding them “in understanding strengths and weaknesses, establishing standards, allocating resources, and monitoring performance.”

I was asked to chair a committee to evaluate the database, increasingly in use at research institutions where ASJMC schools and colleges are located, to see if it adequately represented works by members of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Our committee includes:
• Ann Brill, Dean, William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Kansas.
• Jerry Ceppos, Dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University.
• Christopher Callahan, founding dean of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University.
• Jan Slater, Dean, College of Media, University of Illinois.
• Paul Voakes, former dean, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Colorado-Boulder.

Ex-officio members are Brad Rawlins, dean, College of Communication, Arkansas State University; Don Heider, dean, School of Communication, Loyola University; and of course, Jennifer McGill, AEJMC executive director.

In this post I am following up on our charge: “In journalism and mass communication, what do we consider excellence in terms of creative work?
What are the awards that should be listed under journalism and mass communication in databases like this?”

Our preliminary findings in the Awards category found “Communication and Communication Studies” had 6 awards in the database from the National Communication Association and 13 awards from the International Communication Association. The database also included one award for “Outstanding Educator” from the Public Relations Society of America. In the “Mass Communication and Media” award category, the AA list included 5 ICA awards, 5 NCA awards, 1 National Association of Science Writers award, Guggenheim, MacArthur, Modern Language Association and Pulitzer awards.

AEJMC awards were not represented in any award category.

Upon calling attention to this to the company, including sending a copy of my earlier post to Academic Analytics, we were pleased with the company’s response. Representatives appreciated our concern, researched AEJMC awards and, as a result, added these to the databank:
· The Charles E. Scripps Award for the Journalism & Mass Communication Administrator of the Year
· The Charles E. Scripps Award for the Journalism & Mass Communication Teacher of the Year
· Krieghbaum Under-40 Award
· Baskett Mosse Award for Faculty Development
· AEJMC Presidential Award
· AEJMC First Amendment Award
· AEJMC Tankard Book Award
· AEJMC-Knudson Latin America Prize
· Dorothy Bowles Public Service Award
· Outstanding Contribution to Journalism Education
· Robert Knight Multicultural Recruitment Award
· MaryAnn Yodelis Smith Research Award
· Lionel C. Barrow Jr. Award for Distinguished Achievement in Diversity Research

Now we are as well represented as any other discipline or communication organization.

Upon completing that phase, Paul Voakes and I assembled a comprehensive list of journals in our discipline to see if Academic Analytics included those in its databank.

I just completed my analysis today. Again, there is good news. I only found a few missing publications and provided the submission guidelines of those journals so that Academic Analytics could assess whether these should be included according to these criteria:
1. The journal must contain peer-reviewed articles that are distinguishable from other content (e.g., book reviews, obituaries, letters to the editor).
2. The journal must be published on a regular, ongoing basis.
3. The journal should have digital object identifiers (DOIs) associated with each unique article.
4. The journal should be currently in press (i.e., not defunct nor a merged/split title).

Here are missing publications in our discipline, which the company now will assess for inclusion:

Journalism History. See submission guidelines here: http://scrippsjschool.org/publications/journalismhistory.php (This is an important journal for media historians. The other is American Journalism, included in the AA database.)
Journalism Practice. See submission guidelines here: http://www.tandfonline.com/action/authorSubmission?journalCode=rjop20&page=instructions#.VMJjVy70_Sg
Newspaper Research Journal: See submission guidelines here: http://www.newspaperresearchjournal.org/
Public Relations Journal: See submission guidelines here: http://www.prsa.org/Intelligence/PRJournal/Policies_Procedures/#.VMJnly70_Sg

If you are interested in this topic, you might want to travel to the ASJMC Winter Workshop in Tampa and attend the Feb. 21 session at 9-10:30 a.m. moderated by Ann Brill, titled “Evaluating Faculty Scholarship for Tenure, Promotion and Retention: Academic Analytics, Online Journals and Predatory Journals.”

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