Scholarly Communication Series to Feature Panel on Measuring the Impact of Scholarly Journals

NEW YORK, October 9, 2008 Representatives from Thomson Reuters,, and MESUR will speak at Columbia University on the current debate concerning the best way to rank the importance and influence of scholarly publications. The panel discussion will take place on Thursday, October 30, 2008, at 3 p.m. in Hammer Health Sciences Center Room 401 at the Columbia University Medical Center. It is free and open to the public.


The panelists include Marian Hollingsworth, director of Publisher Relations at Thomson Reuters and former assistant director of the National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services; Jevin West, an Achievement Awards for College Scientists Fellow at the University of Washington's Biology Department and head developer for; and Johan Bollen, a staff researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the principal investigator of the MESUR project.

The Impact Factor (IF) is an influential yet controversial metric of citations to science and social science journals that is calculated yearly by Thomson Reuters. It is a widely used indicator of the importance of scholarly journals. is a project of the University of Washington that aims to develop novel methods for evaluating the influence of scholarly periodicals and for mapping the structure of academic research. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded MEtrics from Scholarly Usage of Resources (MESUR) project, operating out of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, develops new tools to assess the impact of scholars and scholarly communication items, using metrics based on usage data.

This event is the second in the speaker series on today's pivotal issues in scholarly communication organized by the Scholarly Communication Program of Columbia University Libraries/Information Services, and is co-sponsored by the Mailman School of Public Health. Follow the live event remotely via Twitter at Video of all events will be distributed through the Scholarly Communication Program website and Columbia University's iTunesU page. For information on the series, Research Without Borders: The Changing World of Scholarly Communication, please email Kathryn Pope at, or visit

The Scholarly Communication Program is a service of the Columbia University Libraries/Information Services, Center for Digital Research and Scholarship, established in April 2008 to encourage discussion about and innovative solutions to scholarly communication issues. The Program aims to support faculty members, librarians, staff, and students as they consider their options for creating, distributing, evaluating, reusing, and preserving new knowledge in a rapidly changing communications environment.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 25 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries at is the gateway to its services and resources.

The Mailman School of Public Health is the only accredited school of public health in New York City, and among the first in the nation, Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health provides instruction and research opportunities to more than 1,000 graduate students in pursuit of masters and doctoral degrees. Its students and more than 300 multi-disciplinary faculty engage in research and service in the city, nation, and around the world, concentrating on biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health policy and management, population and family health, and sociomedical sciences.