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Criteria specified by Scopus for the inclusion of book publishers are structured according to a top-down scheme in which no suggestions are considered for the indexation of individual titles Scopus Instead, only books published by a previously selected set of publishers are indexed. Criteria publicly provided by Scopus are, nevertheless, far from being detailed. Specified criteria are reputation and impact of the publisher, size and subject area of the books list, availability and form of the book content, publication policy and editorial mission, and the quality of published book content.


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Impact might be equated to citations received, but this is not explicit. The subject area of the book list is a highly relevant criterion for the determination of its interest, and it might refer to the degree of specialization of the book publisher in a specific discipline. The inclusion of the availability and format of the book content as a criterion seems to be a logical response to the technical needs related to review and indexation in the database.


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  5. Again, the international standards of the sciences might be the criterion. It could be, nevertheless, understood as a secondary feature with regard to the quality of the books. Publication policy and editorial mission are two criteria which, being qualitative in nature, might be of particular relevance in the case of UPs when compared with exclusively commercial publishers.

    The objectives of a commercial publisher should include economic profitability as an important point Clark and Phillips : , while the objectives of UPs can be strongly conditioned by institutional policies Greco ; Henny et al. Nevertheless, the reasons why the content evaluation has not been thoroughly applied in the evaluation processes of most countries would also apply to the case of Scopus: very large investments in time and money are required.

    Moreover, qualitative approaches on the content can be even more controversial than quantitative. Anyways, it would be very relevant to know which the specific criteria are for Scopus when evaluating this component of books. The Scopus Content Selection and Advisory Board CSAB , composed of 16 chairs representing the different thematic areas covered by Scopus, is a key component of the content evaluation process.

    Nevertheless, the geographical origin of the Board members seems to be a limiting factor with regard to all kinds of literature of local interest in the SSH. Five of chairs of the thematic committees are affiliated to UK institutions, three to US institutions, two to Hong Kong, and one is, respectively, affiliated to institutions from Germany, Australia, Greece, Canada, India, and the Netherlands.

    If the final product is to be used for evaluation products outside the UK and the USA and to a lesser extent, outside the other six countries, in fields belonging to the SSH, where local topics and languages are relevant, then the bias seems plausible. Also regarding the SSH, the disciplinary structure of the committees lacks the granularity needed for a proper content evaluation. The Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences are generically attached respectively to the president of one of the committees, while other sets of disciplines such as Psychology, Dentistry, and Veterinary Sciences are the competence of a single CSAB chair.

    Although the names of members of each committee are not publicly available only the chairs of each committee are available , given also the limitations concerning their geographical origin, the existence of the committees is still useful for communicating with and getting feedback from the scientific community.

    Maximum transparency in this sense is needed for the acceptability of the database by the scientific community. The BCI Brennan has specific criteria for selecting books, from which it can be deduced that book publishers indexed in BCI are included after an evaluation of the individual titles published by them. Apart from the criterion related to the date of copyright copyrights should be printed in the current year or in the previous 5 years for which exceptions are considered particularly in the case of the SSH , BCI also takes into account the institutional information on the authors as well as the completeness of the references.

    The linguistic criterion, which gives priority to texts written in English, clearly stated, is one of the most defining features of the selection process. It could limit the usefulness of the product outside the English-speaking world. BCI considers validity and originality as underlying variables of the publishers, so they cannot be considered selection criteria defined or applied by BCI. Since the publisher is responsible for these two aspects of the books, originality and validity cannot be considered selection criteria as such.


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    The typology of books and monographs considered by BCI is wide though not exhaustive , including types of books as different as dissertations, text books, and reference books. A distinctive feature of BCI in comparison to other databases considered in this article is the citation analysis as part of the evaluation process.

    Books highly cited in a core of documents initially books and collections are given priority in the indexing process. This lack of information is an obstacle to the use of the product for evaluation purposes because it does not allow the external scrutiny of the selection process. The presence of book publishers in the CRISTIN database is not explained by a selection procedure: it is the result of an exhaustive registry of all book publishers in which researchers and scholars affiliated to Norwegian institutions have published or may be publishing their works.

    The material submitted should be peer reviewed and includes all metadata required for its proper processing. A set of expert panels classifies the publication channels into two categories 1 and 2 according to their quality for evaluation purposes Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions It is, therefore, a comprehensive information system which includes the totality of the communication channels used by scholars and researchers. As in the case of CRISTIN, it is a comprehensive information system in which all publications by researchers in the Finnish academic and research institutions are included: Universities annually report their publication data to the Ministry of Culture and Education Puuska In total, 23 specialized expert panels coordinated by the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies classify the communication channels into two categories 1 and 2 according to their specialization in the publication of scientific works, their internationality, and their impact Finnish Publication Forum All surveyed lecturers and researchers accomplished the condition of having passed a national evaluation process regarding their scientific output, which contributes to the robustness of the results.

    Scholars could point out up to 10 relevant book publishers in their fields of knowledge. SPI includes three more sections on information for publishers. None of them entails interpretation: 1 specialization is based on metadata from the national publishing industry database, and 2 information on manuscript selection processes is provided by publishers. The indexation of book publishers is obtained from different international databases in fact, SPI Expanded is the corpus of data analyzed for this article.

    After data cleaning of the lists of publishers from each database, it has been possible to match the lists, thus identifying the presence or absence of a given publishers in each database. The number of different book publishers in each database is reflected in Table 1. Table 1 Number of different book publishers in each database. Some book publishers are indexed only in one of the five databases uniquely indexed publishers. In Table 2 , the number and percentages compared to the overall number of publishers and the number of publishers in each database are detailed.

    Table 2 Percentage of uniquely indexed publishers.

    Scholarly Communications: Book Publishing

    To identify the role or weight of UPs in systems under study, a separate analysis has been carried out. It is important to take into account that each information system includes UPs from the countries of origin of the database, but also from other countries. The number and percentage of that type of publishers are given in Table 3. Table 3 Frequency and percentage of UPs in each database. By country of origin, the distribution of UPs in the five databases is detailed in Table 4.

    Available Content

    Table 4 Distribution of UPs by country only countries with at least 10 UPs in at least one database are reflected. Distribution of UPs by country only countries with at least 10 UPs in at least one database are reflected. The UPs of the different countries are unequally indexed in the different databases. In other words, UPs of some countries are more visible or recognized in the analyzed databases.

    Since three of these databases have been constructed for national purposes, a bias on the origin of publishers may be identified.

    The reduced proportion of French UPs by contrast with the large set of Spanish UPs is an example of the bias toward the origin of publishers privileging local UPs. Table 5 reflects the average number of databases for the UPs of the different countries. Table 5 Average number of databases in which the UPs of the different countries are indexed only countries with at least 10 UPs in at least one database are reflected. Average number of databases in which the UPs of the different countries are indexed only countries with at least 10 UPs in at least one database are reflected.

    Table 6 Distribution by countries of the UPs in each database. The number of UPs that are simultaneously present in the different combinations of databases is reflected in Table 7 all existent combinations are reflected. Table 7 Number of UPs simultaneously present in the different combinations of databases. Countries where the endemic UPs come from are also provided. Table 8 Number of uniquely indexed UPs. This kind of analysis can help to identify influences in research from other countries or academic exchanges between countries, especially in the case of national-based systems Norway, Finland, and Spain.

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    Questions concerning the role of the nearest countries, of historical or cultural traditions, and the overall publishing patterns of SSH research can be answered. The academic recognition, an importance of publishers in other countries, can be inferred. The final Table 9 shows the core of publishers that are indexed in all of the five information systems that are analyzed in this article.

    Table 9 List of publishers which are indexed in the five information systems analyzed in this article. The diverse nature of the databases commercial and non-commercial as well as the methodologies used for their construction bottom-down vs.

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    Those nuclei are smaller in the commercial databases than in the case of the scholarly ones. This finding seems reasonable, since commercial databases have to find a limited number of publishers that can be expected to publish the most internationally relevant and important titles. As commercial enterprises, they have to find a balance between the cost of indexation the more the sources, the costlier they are and the optimal price of their product in the market. Although BCI and Scopus can be used as reference sources by funding agencies, since they include high-quality book publishers and journals, it is important to identify their limitations with regard to relevant scholarly publishing in the SSH.

    While Scopus has a very narrow selection of publishers that mainly operate in the STM market, the BCI has a better representation of the SSH, but the coverage of publishers still seems to be in a starting phase, as mainly English-language publishers have been selected Sivertsen The same may be true from the perspective of other countries where scholarly book publishing in other languages than English is important in some areas of research, particularly in the SSH. The large number of publishers covered by the national non-commercial databases can be explained by the methodology for building up the systems, but also by the patterns of dissemination of research results in the SSH.

    Also, languages other than English may be needed for contributing to the societal relevance of the research Sivertsen b. In that sense, the set of book publishers indexed in the national sources is representative of the richness and diversity of books published in SSH as well as the scholarly publishing industry of a country.

    The analysis of the national databases is interesting, since it allows a better understanding of the diversity of active publishers in SSH fields, as well as the relevance of other countries in the research, the language diversity, and the relative weight of the different publishing sectors. This is also the case for UPs, whose role can be traced in each database. Commercial databases are, according to current data, highly selective systems with only a limited representation of the large thematic and linguistic variety of what is published in the scholarly publishing sector of the countries under study.