A New Era for Communication Booknotes Quarterly


Communication Booknotes Quarterly, the field’s annotative bibliographic nonpareil since 1969, has changed editorial hands for the first time.  Forty-five volumes later, founding editor Christopher Sterling (emeritus professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University) has passed the baton to Weiwu Zhang. Dr. Zhang, who describes himself as a ping pong fanatic and political news junkie, is Associate Professor of Public Relations at the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University. He has ambitious plans for CBQ that include continuing in the tradition of its scholarly predecessor by providing topical review bibliographic essays as well as brief annotated reviews of new books from all corners of the discipline, a proven formula for decades. But look for some changes, too, as laid out in the issue’s New Editor Note. There will be greater focus on social/emerging media, which Dr. Zhang believes has transformed not only the media landscape but communication research. There will also be increased emphasis on interpersonal communication and organizational communication,  as opposed to just media communication, which will obviously remain central. To draw new readers, CBQ will feature reviews “in the interface between communication and related disciplines in political science, marketing, sociology, and psychology.” Many reviews will be longer than the usual blurb-length we’re used to (his thinking is long form reviews count more toward tenure and promotion, thus attract junior faculty reviewers) and more electronic publications and books published in foreign languages will be selected for review.

Communication librarians have always looked forward to the navy blue arrival of CBQ (those of us who still glimpse the paper!) and I will continue to do so with the added anticipation that new editorship ushers in (no matter how top-flight the previous). Nor is it time yet to pine for Dr. Sterling’s deft reviews–he’s still reviewing. In fact, I counted 32 entries in the latest issue!

Do check out CBQ 46:1 for Dr. Zhang’s debut Topical Review Essay: Social Media in Communication. And cheers to that sturdy workhorse library staple of old, the annotated bibliography–still alive and kicking in the 21st Century.


Deep Back Files for Communication Journals

Penn Libraries has always carried a lot of SAGE e-journal content but sagejust recently our holdings became amazing.  With SAGE Premier/Deep Backfile we now have access to all SAGE e-journals for all available years.  The collection spans 730 titles in sociology, education, business, psychology, computing, political science, and the health sciences. 177 new titles have been added as well as back years of many existing titles.

What does this mean for communication? It means that our e-holdings for Communication Research go back to 1974 instead of stopping in the late 90s, that both the British Journalism Review  and Science Communication goes back to 1989 and 1979 respectively instead of 1999. It means we have Index on Censorship all the way back to 1972 and American Behavioral Scientist back to 1957. Want early issues of Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly? No problem, they are just a few clicks away, even that first issue in 1955.  

All SAGE e-journal titles, old and new, should be discoverable through Franklin, FindIt, or the PennText Article Finder

My good colleague Lauris Olson wrote in a little more detail on this subject last month in the Penn Libraries News but I wanted to send out an echo to our camp which this new purchase greatly benefits.   

Incites Journal Citation Reports (JCR)

Journal Citation Reports, the go-to resource for evaluating and comparing journal performance and reputation from citation data, has a new look called InCites.

The new InCites interface improves JCR‘s usability with the following capabilities:Capture

  • Compare individual titles and subject groups of titles across many years back to 1997
  • Compare individual titles across the Science Citation Index / Social Sciences Citation Index divide
  • New metrics, including 5-year Journal Impact Factor, Eigenfactors, Journal self cites, and Rank-in-Category
  • Graphing and enhanced reporting and output options

If we turn to our field, Incites Journal Citation Reports (JCR)  currently ranks 74 Communication journals by a number of measures including impact factor (the frequency with which the average article in the journal has been cited in a particular year), total cites, and Eigenfactor (number of times articles from the journal published in the past 5 years have been cited in a JCR journal). The top five impact factor journals in 2013 were Communication Research, Research on Language and Social Interaction, Journal of Communication, New Media & Society, and Public Opinion Quarterly. The Eigenfactor Score’s top 5 mix it up a bit: Public Opinion Quarterly leads, followed by Journal of Communication, New Media & Society, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and Journal of Health Communication.

Individual titles from the list of 74 can also be tracked by impact factor stripped of self-cites, 5-year impact factor, immediacy (how quickly articles in the journal are cited), citable items (total number of articles and reviews), citing relationships between journal, Article Influence score ( calculates the relative importance of the journal on a per-article basis, specifically it’s the journal’s Eigenfactor Score divided by the number of articles published by the journal) and others. Pictured below is the Article Influence Score for New Media & Society, which trends upwards post 2010.




The prettiest graphs show journal relationships, that is, citing patterns between journals.  Below is a 2013 Cited Data visualization for Public Understanding of Science displaying cited relationships between the top twenty journals in its network.  You can’t do it here but in the database hovering over the chords divulges the specifics of the citation relationship; hovering over the titles divulges their impact factors; clicking on the arc takes you to that title’s profile page.




Journal Citation Reports is a lot more fun to look at now with it’s new InCites trappings. Definitely worth checking out.