SPI press release 2014

SPI (Scholarly Publishers Indicators) is an information system which offers indicators and tools related to scholarly publishers (and publishers which are interesting for researchers) in the disciplines of Humanities and Social Sciences. It was initially created as one of the outcomes of the research project "Categorization of scholarly publications in Humanities and Social Sciences", funded by Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). At present, thanks to the research carried out within the R&D project "Evaluation of scholarly book publishers (Spanish and non-Spanish) in humanities and social sciences through the opinion of experts and the analysis of publishing processes" (funded by Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness), the system has been able to grow. The indicators included are intended to be used as a reference ("to inform not to perform") in the evaluation processes and allow concepts such as "publisher prestige" to be put in objective terms.

At present, the system offers indicators/information on three dimensions of scholarly publishers:

1. Prestige

SPI presents a series of publishers rankings (general, by discipline, non-Spanish publishers and Spanish publishers) based on the opinion of Spanish experts in Humanities and Social Sciences. It is an approach to the study of the quality of publishers and therefore any automatic use of them in evaluation systems should be avoided. They can be used as a reference in these processes, but they should be complemented with the thorough judgment of the experts on the evaluation panels or with other indicators. SPI presents a general ranking of publishers for all the areas and specialized rankings by disciplines. The combined use of both is recommended as they provide different and complementary information.

"Research is too important to measure its value with only a single coarse tool"
"Research usually has multiple goals and it is therefore reasonable that its value must be judged by multiple criteria"

Joint Committee on Quantitative Assessment of Research in Citation Statistics

2. Specialization

Book production indicators are provided (number of titles published per year) for each publisher from the information included in DILVE (only for Spanish publishers). Also, it is possible to consult the distribution of titles by publisher according to the subject they have assigned to each title in DILVE. By this means, it is possible to know which publishers publish more in specific areas, that is, their level of specialization. Two types of graphs have being designed: those which present book production by subject and publisher, and those which show which publishers publish more in a particular subject.

3. Manuscripts selection process

The system for selecting manuscripts is one of the key aspects of scholarly publications in general, both for academic journals and for book publishers. As part of the survey that is been carried out SPI offers structured information on the systems employed by publishers to decide what is published as well as the variables which influence decision making. Up to now, information has been included about publishers belonging to the UNE (Association of Spanish University Publishers) and to the AEM (Association of Madrid Publishers) who answered the survey. The responses from the private sector are being progressively incorporated, as well as those from Latin American publishers, who will participate in the project thanks to the collaboration of the EULAC (Association of University Publishers from Latin America and Caribbean).

As a result of these collaborations, SPI also offers a series of sectorial reports related to various questions regarding the quality of the publications and which are addressed at association or group level available at http://ilia.cchs.csic.es/SPI/calidad.html.

"No map can substitute the region which has been mapped, but at the same time […] a well plotted chart simplifies the itinerary"

Tomás Granados Salinas. Director of the collection Libros about books belonging to the Fondo de Cultura Económica, in a note from the Manual de edición literaria y no literaria