A few days ago, Scopus released the CiteScore for 2021. As in the years past, I will take this opportunity to have a fresh look at how the open access journals in Educational Technology have performed in the past year and to highlight some noticeable changes. See here for some info about the CiteScore methodology and here for the updated journal list.
Over the years, I have observed that impact metrics generally are subject to an upward trend. This means there is an expectation that, on average, the CiteScore of a journal will increase over time, even if this particular journal is not performing above average. The main implications of this are a) journals that do not see an increase in citations are actually underperforming, compared to the field and b) absolute CiteScores are less interesting than comparisons within a set of journals. Calculating the average of CiteScore changes from 2020 to 2021, the current trend amounts to an increase of 1.12 (see table below). Consequently, I will not specifically highlight CiteScore changes that appear in line with this overall trend. Instead, I will try to focus on things noticeable above and beyond this trend.
Table 1 CiteScore 2021 vs Citescore 2020
What has changed?
A notable change is Journal of New Approaches to Educational Research (NAER) having received a significantly higher CiteScore of 7.6 (compared to 2020’s 5.2). This continues the steep rise in citations for this journal and now puts it right behind ETHE. In the past I’ve noted NAER for it’s refreshing take on academic publishing and it appears that researchers are taking note.
Having received its first score in 2019, the Journal of Learning Analytics (JLA) also sees a step increase in citations, with now 406 citations over 68 documents, resulting in a CiteScore of 6.0 (compared to 2020’s 3.4). This is in line with my prediction from last year and I suspect this trend will continue further, given the popularity of this research field and JLA being the flagship outlet, aside from the LAK conference.
Research and Practice in Technology-enhanced Learning (RPTEL), which received its first score in 2018 and has in the past seen a sharp increase in citations, now seems to have reached its first plateau. This can be seen in its slightly lower CiteScore of 5.3 (compared to 2020’s 5.5.), with 523 citations over 99 documents.
Although the International Review of Research on Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL) has slightly increased in terms of citations, it has not beaten the overall trend, with a CiteScore of 6.1 (compared to 2020’s 5.8). This suggests that it is again seeing a plateau, as it has in the years 2016-2019, when it hovered around a CiteScore of 4.
Contemporary Educational Technology (CET) has seen a doubling of its CiteScore, from 2.1 in 2020 to 4.2 for 2021, with 507 citations over 121 documents. This continues the trend of annually doubling its CiteScore after having received a first score in 2018.
One final change I would like to highlight is that Research in Learning Technology (RLT) has again seen an increase in citations after some years of plateau or decline from 2017-2020. With a CiteScore of 4.8 (compared to 2020’s 2.6) it is among the journals with the sharpest increase in 2021.
What hasn’t changed?
A notable continuation of developments from past years is the dominance of the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education (ETHE) in the open access space of EdTech Journals. With a CiteScore of 11.8 (compared to 2020’s 9.2), it is tied with JLA for the sharpest increase in citations. With whopping 2410 citations over 205 documents, this journal appears to be doing very well. Consequently, it now has an acceptance rate of only 5%, which I expect to be the lowest among open access journals in the field. As noted in the past, I attribute part of the success of this journal to its simple yet effective social media strategy. Through posting and retweeting their articles AND tagging the authors daily, ETHE articles are very visible in academic Twitter. This translates into thousands of accesses for any given paper.
Also in line with the trend of the past years, Educational Technology & Society (ET&S) has been slowing down in terms of citations and has now plateaued at a CiteScore of 7.2. This puts this long-established journal behind relative newcomers like ETHE and NAER.
Many journals of the curated open access EdTech journal list have still not received a CiteScore. Of course, for newly launched journal like PJTEL, STEL, and OTESSA this makes sense, as a CiteScore can only be calculated once the citation window of four years has been passed. However, longer-established journals like EURODL, Asian JDE, Open Praxis, and IJET, too, remain without a score for 2021.