#Science & Technology
Clarivate Analytics Team

Taxonomy and systematics key to understanding the biodiversity of our planet, through different approaches. Through an understanding of species and their systematic relationships, taxonomy is essential to conservation. In addition, it forms the necessary basis for many fields of study, from ecology to evolution. The number of taxonomists is declining worldwide, and so are the journals that allow free publication of high-quality taxonomical papers. As the result of a limited number of specialists per higher taxon, and few journals accepting (even high-standard) taxonomical works, self-citations in taxonomical papers may be high . This is inherent to the field.
Recently Zootaxa, among other journals, has been suppressed from the Journal Citation Report (JCR) for 2019 (2020 release) by Clarivate Analytics based on algorithms, without taking into account the specific nature of taxonomical works, and the importance of systematic/taxonomic journals such as Zootaxa for the entire field of biodiversity research on our planet. This would therefore have an effect on this year's Impact Factor of the Journal, and as a result of most institute's policies, many researchers may not be able to publish in Zootaxa as the leading zoological taxonomical journal. The suppression of journals and the argumentation can be found here: http://jcr.help.clarivate.com/Content/title-suppressions.htm?fbclid=IwAR3k-Ri04j4vjlgnZB2jcCHlDlzQqVKvb7vfAGTYvaoFZJH-jrJq4B2NGco
The main criteria by Clarivate Analytics to remove Zootaxa from the journals with an Impact Factor is that “43% of all 2019 outgoing citations from the journal to 2018 or 2017 scholarly literature were journal self-citations". As one of the few high-quality journals in existence in this field of research, self-citations are inevitable. Any taxonomical paper without referring to recent revisions and descriptions, would be scientifically irrelevant.
Therefore this "automated" step by Clarivate Analytics has rippled through an already endangered field of taxonomy and has motivated taxonomists to action. Zootaxa can simply not be excluded - it would affect this entire key field of science. There are no political benefits from promoting Zootaxa - it is merely a scientific need to have a platform for publishing high-quality taxonomical works.
Suppressing one of the world's leading taxonomical journals, may actually lead to shifts in the field of taxonomy as presence/absence of impact factors of journals are linked to scientific careers. In addition, in a time when the biodiversity of the world is at peril, there should be an even stronger need for motivating young scientists to engage in taxonomy and systematics, rather than the opposite. We understand that this move by Clarivate Analytics is based on metrics and algorithms, however without taking the rarity of the number of journals publishing high-quality and purely taxonomical works, into account. The metrics should in some way, ideally, take the rarity of specialised journals in a certain field into account.

We, the undersigned, call on Clarivate Analytics team to immediately revise the suppression of Zootaxa from the 2019 JCR Data, taking into account the specifics of the (endangered) research field and the high importance of the journal for biodiversity and biodiversity conservation.
We therefore urge that Zootaxa is removed from this list, and that a revisionis communicated to the scientific world, and we request that for the coming years, the analytics may be improved so that the algorithms take into account the specifics of aberrant citation patterns related to the field of research, as well as the global relevance of the research field.

The Zootaxa Suppressed from 2019 JCR Data (2020 release) petition to Clarivate Analytics Team was written by Kay Van Damme and is in the category Science & Technology at GoPetition.

Petition Tags

biodiversity Taxonomy Zootaxa