UM II: A Model of Reward Structure for ISI/WoS Publications

In my previous posting on National Academic Award (click here), I noted there is still much room for improvement in terms of the reward structure offered by my home university.

When designing a reward structure based on ISI/WoS (Web of Science) publications, it is important to first understand the underlying mechanisms. Several important points are highlighted here:

  1. Sciences, social sciences, and arts & humanities are three different fields that cannot be put together (for details, click here). It just does not make sense to compare the impact factor of a science journal vs a social science journal.
  2. Even in the same field (sciences, social sciences, arts & humanities), the impact factor should be discipline-specific (for details, click here).
  3. Is the reward structure based on publications indexed in WoS or impact factor reported by Journal Citation Reports (JCR)? UM encourages her staffs to publish in journals indexed in ISI-WoS, which consists of 3 important components- Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Arts & Humanities Citation Index (click here for notice dated 10/8/2010, and here for WoS fact sheet). However, if the reward structure is based on impact factor, one has to bear in mind that JCR only provide impact factors for journals indexed in SCI and SSCI, but not AHCI (click here and here). How do you then reward those staffs who publish in AHCI if the incentive is structured around impact factor?
  4. How do we define high impact journals? Well, not all journals indexed by ISI-WoS are considered high impact. UM defines high impact research as any research that could produce publications in Tier 1 or Tier 2 ISI/WoS journals (click here).  I suppose it is Q1 and Q2 in the JCR.
  5. The next related question is whether the university rewards publications indexed in ISI-WoS or just high impact journals. UM has structured her reward system according to ISI Journal Tiering, that is Q1- RM6000, Q2- RM4000, Q3- RM2000 and Q4- RM1000 (click here). Apart from that, the university has also announced a cash incentive of RM50,000 for each publication in Science or Nature (click here). This is a good model, not only in monetary terms but also in ensuring fairness across disciplines.