When I wrote on 2 August that we would not know how serious Clarivate Analytics were about a strategy that rebuilt Web of Science in face of changed and changing market requirements until we saw who was going to manage the changes, I could not have known how rapidly that question would be answered . The appointment of Annette Thomas announced this morning answers all questions . This is serious. It will be led by the one person in the marketplace qualified to do it , and the fact that she has accepted the role indicates that the intent will be backed by the investment in technology and acquisitions to finish the job .

And the job is nothing less than reshaping the way in which scholarship is assessed and scholarly reputation is managed in this still- new century . Now the driving needs are those of funders , government and private , and the researchers they employ and support . As in the distant days of ISI and the impact factor , a new compact is needed to reflect both the totality of scholarly communication in the age of data and the tendency for peer review to be reconcentrated at the inception of research and for some years after its publication , rather than pre- publication as envisaged in the print world . Clarivate has the brands- from Scholar One in preparing material for public availability through to Web of Science itself in recording the aftershocks . It also has the experience  to create the evolved impact factor in a world of multiple and alt- metrics. Now it has the Leadership as well .

Meanwhile the market is no less acquisitive . Elsevier’s move on  bepress takes it into repository markets and , in tune with my headline last week on the end of journal publishing and its own recent purchase of SSRN , strengthens the thought that article availability outside of journal publishing at the right time and with effective post- availability review ( and a good way of collecting and scoring it) is becoming more important in many disciplines . And whatever happens next must fit the requirements of research in disciplines that are not growing together in their needs in any noticeable way ,and cover practical , applied and ” blue- sky” needs throughout STM and HSS.

Yet surely the tools are present now in a way they never were for ISI . This is the age of machine learning and AI . We can design solutions as never before that fit into the workflows of endusers . Reputation , Rating , assessment should be automatic functions in a world that depends on metadata , designs discipline based ontological structures and relies upon semantic analysis to lend meaning to data . While all this is true , the implication is that while Eugene Garfield could impose order on chaos through strong leadership and academic authority , the new leadership at Clarivate , to succeed in this great purpose , will have to know their customers as never before as they put together progressive and coherent answers to the questions of how new and how good research and researchers really are .

 

 

keep looking »