Evaluation based on scientific publishing: Evaluating books

Evaluating books

The impact of academic publications is typically measured by how much it is read, used and cited. Services that measure impact work well for journal-based disciplines but not so well for book-based disciplines such as the social sciences and the humanities

In addition to citation data, what matters in the book-based disciplines, is how much the non-academic (hence non-citing) public is reading their books, too. This could be measured by the so-called demotic metrics such as link-counts, tag-counts, blog-mentions, and web mentions.

Books can also be evaluated by author background information and prestigiousness of the publisher. Generally books published by university presses are considered more prestigious than those published by commercial presses.

Other ways of evaluating books are through book reviews and sales figures from publishers. Amazon is primarily a bookselling site, but it also provides sales figures for books, which can be seen as analogues of download metrics for journals. Additionally, it contains editorial as well as user reviews of books.

GPRC label (Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content) is quality label of the Flemish Publishers’ Association for certifying the peer review procedure of a book.

Publication Forum (Julkaisufoorumi, JUFO)

Publication forum system is based on quality classification of scientific publication channels. Rating takes place in field specific expert panels. Evaluations based on citation information should be complemented with further expert assessments. Finnish Publication Forum is following the Norwegian and Danish examples.

The Finnish Publication Forum is based on quality classification of scientific publication channels - journals, conferences, publication series and book publishers - in all research fields. Rating of publication channels takes place in field specific expert panels.
The rating has three levels: 1 = basic; 2 = leading; 3 = highest level.

The Publication Forum category of peer-reviewed articles in journals and compilations and monographs is determined principally on the basis of the level awarded to the journal/series.

The classification of the book publisher is used to rate articles in compilations or monographs for Publication Forum purposes only in cases where the publication does not come out in a series of publications or such series has not been classified.

The level of peer-reviewed conference papers is determined on the basis of the level of the journal/series, publisher or established name of the event.

The classification is suitable for macro-level discussions on the publication production of research organisations, research fields or the country as a whole. Since 2015, the classification has been used as a quality indicator of the research output produced by universities within the university funding model established by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Tools for finding book reviews

Book reviews give insight into what other scientists think of the book. They may be brief summaries or long scholarly evaluations and are often published in journals of the same field as the book being reviewed.


In Web of Science book reviews are easy to find by searching with keywords from the title of the book and limiting the search to the Book Review document type.
Source: Web of Science </http://apps.webofknowledge.com/> 8.8.2014

Tools for finding book citations

Multidisciplinary citation databases like ScopusWeb of Science (Book Citation Index) and  Google Scholar, also contain citations for books but only from journals and books tha are covered by the database.

Databases covering full-text books allow users to search across the full-text including the list of cited references. Google Books for example can be used to search for cited references in books for other books.