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Which Journals are best? Who do I cite? Who cites me? 2

Sankey Diagram

This Post follows on from http://www.OR4NR.interdisciplinary-science.net/2015/09/04/which-journals-are-best-who-do-i-cite-who-cites-me/

Citations I've made are on the left. The citations I've made are grouped into subjects. Engineering is in a darker shade. Citations to me are on the right. This shows how I transform science into science of use by stakeholders of agri-environmental systems
I’ve made are on the left. The citations I’ve made are grouped into subjects. Engineering is in a darker shade. Citations to me are on the right. This shows how I transform science into science of use by stakeholders of agri-environmental systems

This shows very clearly how I am an applied Operational Researcher. I draw in the science of my three degrees (, Applied Environmental Science) and produce science of use the the engineer, mangers, scientists and policy makers in the agri-environmental sectors. I get nearly no citations from and Journals.

I’ve used Google Developers tools to produce this and they are far better than anything that Excel can do, but it is still a lot of informations to convey. It is hard to control all the features, but it is easier than a bespoke hand drawn visual.

It is an alternative to the column chart, but is it any clearer?

From Consumer to consumed from
Comparing the science I consume with the place my science gets consumed showing a clear difference in subject categories with less Operational Research and more Engineering, Technology and Multi-disciplinarity.

Which Journals are best? Who do I cite? Who cites me?

I’ve been pondering the question, as part of my training and academic reputation development plan: If I was to concentrate my building into a subset of journals what might they be? I decided to think about what journals I cite from and what journals I am cited in. To do this I used the bibliometrics from the Web of Science database to analyse my papers. I then used the allied Journal Citations Reports database to explore more about these Journals and their subject categories. I’ve looked in detail at all those journals where there are two or more (about 1/3-1/2 of the total)

Who do I cite?

I’ve charted the results by number of papers that I’ve cited. It is worth noting that over half of the references that I use in any one paper refer to non peer-reviewed sources of data, such as farm management costings books and statistics.

Who I cite
The journals and number of papers that I have cited from. A few journals dominate with quite a long tail. Amongst the titles there are words like systems, , , environment, & ecology.

What strikes me is that I have done two things: 1) drawn in a wide range of underpinning literature on the science of agriculture and the environment, 2) drawn in a lot of scientific literature that has to do with Operational Research and or agricultural/ environmental systems. This is a clue as to how I maybe working as a scientist.

Who cites me?

I’ve repeated the analysis and considered which journals are the source of citations to me.

The journal that are the source of citation to me
The journals and the numbers of papers citing me showing a few dominant journals, a long tail and the words management, systems, engineering, technology, and production  featuring amongst titles

Again there is a subset of dominant journals citing my work. Two of them; Agricultural Systems and Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment; are dominant in both. A noticeable change from the journals that I cite is the absence of Operational Research and the addition of engineering, production and technology amongst titles. This is again another clue about how I seem to be doing ‘science’.

Science consumer to science producer

To get a clear idea about how I map the science I consume into science consumed by others I decided to group all the Journal titles into their subject categories. Where a Journal was categorised over more than one category I split the paper counts equally.  I then compared the two after normalising to 100% to bring both counts onto the same scale . Colour coding and shading helped pick out broad groups. This is all shown in this column chart.

From Consumer to consumed from
Comparing the science I consume with where my science gets consumed showing a clear difference in subject categories with less Operational Research and more engineering, technology and multi-disciplinarity.

The shift in subject categories is quite strong. I am very much an applied Mathematician and Operational Researcher as I consume its science, but don’t produce the science consumed by it. Overall I consume science from all three of my degrees: Agriculture, Applied Environmental Science, and Operational Research (see below). I combine that within a systems modelling framework and produce insights into agricultural and environmental systems that are of benefit to managers, engineers, technologists, applied [multidisciplinary] scientists, and fellow systems modellers and analysts.

My three educational degrees
My educational background showing my three degree of Agriculture, Applied Environmental Science, and Operational Research

This does seem a rational picture in hindsight, but much more telling given this hard data. It does lend support to the idea that the group that I have been part of provided a key service to Agricultural Engineering.  I joined the group at the former Silsoe Research Institute (SRI); a Public Sector Research Organisation specialising in agricultural engineering and its offshoots.


I’ve a much clearer idea of how I work as a scientist and where I make my contribution: The impact and identification of better, newer, or greener on the decisions that shape agricultural and environmental systems.

The shortlist of journals that I should focus on are the ones that I am cited from and that I cite from. This set includes Agricultural Systems, Biosystems Engineers (formerly Journal of Agricultural Engineering Research),  and Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.

A tilt towards where my science is consumed makes sense so International Journal of , Journal of Cleaner Production, Journal of Environmental Management are strong candidates.

I need to consider Journal remits and bibliometric impact factors to really establish a core set.

What could be a fun addition is to consider the subject mappings that includes in a middle column where I’ve published.


2015 Metrics Insights & Plan Speech

I had call to deliver a short speech on my emerging academic at Cranfield Speakers Club (Toastmasters International) as part of an Advanced Technical Presentation speech. The link and excerpt to that is below. However, I want to spend a little more time thinking about the key graphics and some I didn’t have time to use.

Your reputation precedes you.  That means that you can walk into any room full of people that you have never met and be greeted with universal sigh of “oooohhhh”. Your reputation preceded you.

Let me tell you another anecdote of two business men setting up a business together. The older man was there to provide the capital and the younger one, with his MBA, to provide the management. When the agreements were signed and the older man handed over a very large cheque he took the younger man to one side and said:

The risks are greater for you. If this business succeeds you will get ALL of the credit and if it fails you will still get ALL of the credit for that. If it fails I will lose my capital, but I will survive and I can replace it.  If it fails you will lose your reputation and you will find it hard to replace that.

Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and most welcome visiting Toastmasters I am going to tell you about my newly formed academic reputation development plan. I am going to tell you what my career is, the reputation metrics that I have, and my plan to improve things.

Curated from My Academic Reputation Development Plan 26/08/2015 | My Quixotic Dreams: Living in Fullness Everyday

Publication Rate

One way to look at publication rate is to look at the publications per peer per year and normalise them so that year 1 is the year of our first publication. It is important to compare like with like as the publication characteristics of different disciplines vary.  I’ve looked at my closest peers at Cranfield University and World wide.

BiblioMetrics (Autosaved)_15463_image001
Career publication rate of my closest peers at work

Most career trajectories show places where step changes occur and a new rate of publication establishes. Within any career trajectory there are undulations as publication rate waxes and wanes. Principal Research Fellow/ Senior Lecturer is two grades senior to my current position. I am a bad lad and a late starter for sure, but others have started late as well, possibly being more oriented to lecturing.

BiblioMetrics (Autosaved)_13655_image001
Career publication rate of my closest peers world wide

Looking at my global peer group one gets a similar message, but it seems Professors can leverage their name on to the outputs of their expanding departments to show a gentle acceleration  in rate of publication.

Citations and H-Index

In this section I’ve looked at citations to my work and the calculation of the H-index. The H-Index is the number of you papers that have been cited at least that many times. My H-index is four so I have four paper that have been cited four or more times (see below). Citations are skewed with a few papers earning farm more than the bulk of papers, but elapsed time is also a factor.

BiblioMetrics (Autosaved)_27555_image001
My citations and the derivation of my h-index showing that 5 is doable, but after that I need new papers
The citations and h index of my closest professional peer in Agricultural Operational Research showing that his publications exceed mine by a a factor of 2 -3 but the citations don't
The citations and h index of my closest professional peer in Agricultural Operational Research showing that his publications exceed mine by a factor of 2 -3 but the citations don’t

When I compare the chart above to my own H-Index it strikes me how different they are. One big explanation is that I’ve worked on Agricultural Operational Research for strategic applied questions of national policy rather than the narrower optimization of specific processes and production systems.  My first paper is also three years older than the case above.

I now turn to having a quick look at the citation life-cycle of each of my papers

These are my citations over time and by paper. 2015 is incomplete but the trend is upwards. It shows the lead time is long and my intellectual contributions stay cutting edge in fields that may not be that fast moving.
These are my citations over time and by paper. 2015 is incomplete but the trend is upwards. It shows the lead time is long and my intellectual contributions stay cutting edge over a decade in fields that may not be that fast moving.

It looks like 2012 was a good year and I will be interested to know where 2015 ends up as we are still only in August. I am impressed that my papers are still relevant nearly 20 years on (am I in a slow moving field?) It is also a little concerning that there are very long lead times to any peak in citations. Some metrics only score citations within a finite time of a few years. However, I like that fact that almost all my papers do attract citations. That is probably a reflection that I’ve not published much but have focussed on significant pieces of work rather than thin pieces of salami.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Any reputation plan needs to play to strengths and manage weaknesses. Reputations are hard-won and easily shattered. The best way to protect you reputation is to be entirely true to yourself and allow you reputation to be a natural outgrowth of self. the easiest way to wreck a relationship is to big-up something you are not and then find that collapses because it can’t take the weight you are putting on it. For example, if you say you are diligent and actually are cavalier when under pressure then sooner or later people realise that they are losing trust and confidence as reality is not meeting expectations.

I’ve tried to hard look at my strength and weaknesses (marks out of 10) and also my vices (from -10) and virtues (to +10). These are just two partial perspectives of a complex system (me), but may offer message to take forward.

Skills -strengths and Weaknesses
Starting with my expertise in my area (domain) I have a set of strengths that I use a lot and then opposite that there are areas of weakness where I need to collaborate. There are a set of useful communication and Leadership skills that Toastmasters International (Cranfield Speakers Club) is helping me develop in the middle.

The ideas I get from my strengths are that are: 1) I do have intellectual strengths to contribute, 2) Toastmasters my help me tie together a synergistic dissemination strategy using social media and communication skills, and 3) Toastmasters may also help me with the leadership dimensions of all too essential collaborations and co-authours.

This chart almost shows a well balanced value system bar a a vulnerability in inner peace and near perfectionism with truth. The legend is values or if the score is negative the the inverse vice is assumed. Each is marked on a scale of +10 for strong virtue to -10 for strong vice.
This chart almost shows a well balanced value system bar a a vulnerability in inner peace and near perfectionism with truth. The legend is values or if the score is negative the the inverse vice is assumed. Each is marked on a scale of +10 for strong virtue to -10 for strong vice.

The weaknesses in my conduct are lax manners, cavalier attitude to my own health and safety (but if I am honest I am aware of that), and slight lack of courage and the taking on of responsibility.


I was surprised by so many high values in Truth, I clearly want things to be right and just, but does it suggest perfectionism and the risk that I set a quality bar for me that means nothing gets done and finished on time? It might suggest where the procrastination comes from.

Achilles Heel

The biggest surprise was peace. I seems to have fragile esteem that would make me vulnerable to criticism. That may well be why I’ve Journal rejection letter strewn around my email systems that are either unopened or unread. It maybe that Truth is compensating for Peace?

Key take out. If I can manage procrastination and insecurity then productivity might step change.

The Love and Non-Violence are both solid looking suggesting that I’am more than happy to be involved with the citizenry and stewardship of my field and respect those that work within it. If there is a hidden weaknesses here it maybe that I am too keen the chip in and see everyone else’s stuff come along and not aggressive enough with my own agenda.

Overall I don’t seem to be the exciting tragic hero lurching from virtue to vice. How dull!


  • I’ve been a bad lad and need to get consistently more publications.
  • It is never too late to be what you might have been. George Eliot
  • If I can get the publications then I could build citations by combing communications skills with social media skills. Video abstracts no problem!
  • I do need to ensure I manage collaborations well to cover weak areas and to motivate and retain motivation from those collaborators
  • If I can manage procrastination and insecurity better I may be able to make a step change in productivity and take a more balanced approach to supporting others and “going for it” to push myself forward.
  • “Be the change you seek in this world” (Gandi). That is be true to yourself, but be the best you that you can.
  • “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” Matthew 5:15 (King James Bible). That is be visible (by showing rather than telling)

Citation Alert: The pyrolysis and gasification of digestate from agricultural biogas plant

Google told me about this new citation to my work. It is a short Polish paper that refers to work I did using environmental () on the manures and slurries produced by pig and dairy farm and various technologies for handling, storing and using them.

This new work builds on from results where  I show that following anaerobic digestion (AD) the resulting is far more potent as a , but is also far more likely to lose ammonia by volatilisation if not managed better. The added potency is due to the digestion fermentation step breaking down complex organic structures and releasing nutrients into the liquor whilst releasing the carbon (drymatter) as methane gas.

The high moisture content of digestate is also a transport burden. One way the my Polish friends look at to manage it better is to dry the digestate 10% moisture content and subject it to pyrolysis and gasification. This has the advantage of getting more and producing biochar or ash as a readily transport fertiliser.

What I really like about this work was that they are looking at an important questions and that they are publishing hard analytical data on digestate and its performance in these processes.

To elaborate on the importance of the question. Improvements on environmental performance in systems such as is akin to chasing bubbles in a carpet. As soon as you introduce one technology, such as an you soon or alter have to think out how you are going to mange the digestate with its increased potency, These still in not one right idea about that and an open question on at least one project I am currently involved with. Intervening into agricultural systems (or any system) has to be done systematically at multiple points to avoid environmental burdens moving to another part of the system or one burden swapping for another.  The environmental Life Cycle Assessment method is tool to use in these cases

Life Cycle Assessment

If you want a tip about win wins with an intervention into a complex system then think along the lines of productive efficiency where you are trying to either  a) obtain the same from fewer inputs, or b) obtain more from the same inputs.

Whilst I am glad this paper is published there is an opportunity to set it within the context of systems thinking and LCA. A couple of things make me think so:

  • The author’s mention that the proliferation of large scale plants in areas where there are restricted opportunities to apply digestate leads to active consideration of drying digestate to ease the transport burdens of shipping it.  I suspect that recycling disposal problem already existed in those area as ADs don’t create mass that was not already there. The problem maybe that now that it is being processed in an AD it is officially visible as a ‘waste’ and of course more potent.
  • An important gap in the life cycle thinking is the drying step of the digestate. In this case a thermal step is used, but not detailed. The question is what happens to the ammoniacal nitrogen during thermal drying? They authour’s correctly identify the risk of losing 70 or so percent of the nitrogen following land spreading, but don’t say what happens under thermal drying.
  • If one was to further apply life cycle thinking we would be thinking of the net energy balance with the thermal drying and pyrolysis and gasification steps. We would also want to be sure flue gases and evaporative gases didn’t carry additional environmental burdens. Finally, we would want to know the agricultural fertility value of biochar (carbonizate) or ash especially if there are heavy metals or persistent organic contaminants.

Overall I enjoyed giving this paper a good read. It tackles an important areas, but I suspect we are still chasing bubbles in the carpet.

It went down very well aided by a bottle of real ale from a recently discovered micro brewery called Hornes located about 10 miles from where I sit. 

Hornes Real Ale, From Bow Brick-hill, Milton Keynes

Metrics: August 2015

A round up of my . In time as my academic reputation development plan makes an impact it should be seen here. I’ve also created a data table to track change over time. I’ve badly neglected this aspect of my career so hopefully change and quite marked change should be possible.

Linear to exponential growth seems possible. There are ups and downs from year to year. Does reputation grow through a sigmoidal curve with a lag phase, a log growth phase, and then a saturation phase.

The other message I get is that an important outlet for my work are the reports prepared for the clients, such as defra, and many of these are now on websites as downloadable files. that is much better than as hardcopy gathering dust on shelves. Google Scholar picks up these outputs better than any other scholarly service.

Web of Science

Web of Science citations
Total Articles inPublication List:
Articles WithCitation Data:
Sum of theTimes Cited:
Average Citationsper Article:
Last Updated:


The h-index graph is fascinating as it shows that I could perhaps get to h index 5 or 6 quite soon but that I need more papers rather soon to get beyond that.

Scopus h graph
Scopus h graph

A scatter gun approach to the journal choices! These needs to become more directed in future.

Google Author Analysis
Google Author Analysis
Scopus citation graph
Scopus citation graph

Google Scholar

Citation indices All Since 2010
Citations 822 651
h-index 10 9
i10-index 10 8
Google citations
Google citations


Is there an opportunity to create more interaction and grow my RG score that way. Not a bad idea if i want to contribute to thought leadership in my field

ResearchGate Score
ResearchGate Score


I think what I am noticing is the impact of social media promotion of my academic work, particularly via twitter. It is always an open question whether social media outlets replicated for each aspect of your life. That means that your twitter followers get much more focussed and directed tweets rather than my random  eclectic mix of interests?

KLOUT score
KLOUT score

CitationAlert: Environmental sustainability issues in the food water energy nexus: breakfast cereals and snacks

This accepted yet to be published cited the work that I help do on agricultural commodities in England and Wales.

I really like how thoroughly the authors have modelled what is a global supply chain into European cereal products. The Irish are very big breakfast cereal eaters (>8kg/ head/ year) and Italian’s the least (<1 kg/head/year). It does give good systematic insights and indicates leverage points for improvements.

The bits that made me think:

  • Rice paddy fields consume a lot of water, but most of it flows into the next paddy field -which is not a net consumption, unlike drainage and evapo-transpiration losses. I am never sure that is is properly considered in many estimates of water use in agriculture.
  • When is a waste a by product? When you can find someone who will buy it! In Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) that transition means that you go from  waste disposal burdens charged to the primary product to an allocation of the primary product’s burdens onto the by-product. A green circular economy means we should be doing more of this and I don’t think that should make a difference to the burdens of the primary product and certainly not mask the independent potential for improvement in the primary product. The assumptions behind allocation decisions such as this are known to dramatically alter LCA results.

The biggest environmental impact of agriculture is the decision to farm.

  • That is a mantra that I picked up from Seale-Hayne Agricultural college in the 1980. So to is it here if the impact of Cocoa production and possible deforestation re included in the analysis. One of the challenges with Land Use Change and soil carbon  is to justify the time horizon over-which your work applies. All farm land was once something else and moving to tillage crops does shed soil carbon over hundreds of years. If it reasonable to have a 20 year cut-off, as commonly adopted, and ignore Land Use Change before that? I’d argue that impact of Land Use Change should be averaged out and accounted for against all future cropping. I’d go further and suggest that unless the previous land use was a carbon accumulating peat bog then the long-term cycle of carbon is at equilibrium with no net loss or gain for all land uses. For similar reasons I’ve always been sceptical of land use change as carbon sequestration option. Yes you can sequester carbon to move to a new high soil carbon state, but unless you can hold that there for geological time scales then you are not countering the anthropogenic carbon cycle
  • Another interesting area was the conclusion that a big burden hotspot of cereal manufacture is the agricultural phase. It does create big burdens. However, agriculture’s case is not helped by food waste down stream in storage, transport, procession, retail, storage, consumption. Accidents do happen and all those little percentages lost soon back multiply to expand the size of the agricultural industry to deliver a set amount of nutrition to a consumer. I’ve never been happy with the way that that shifts, in conventional LCA, the hotspots in the direction of the primary industries whilst partly masking those that wasted it.
  • A final remark is that the authours compare a kg of cereal a dispatched from the manufacturer with a kg of cereal consumed with milk in a bowl that has to be washed up. To be fair they are honest that that does not give the consumer two identical nutritional experiences and thus is not a like for like comparison. However, due to the heavy burdens of milk production a superficially comparative evaluation lures the reader into the impression that processing is quite well run, but it is a shame about the farmers (point above) and the consumers!

    On the lighter side in a period of farmers heavily suppressed prices
  • One little additional thought with their improvement scenarios would have been to have tried Monte-Carlo simulation across the ranges of feasible improvement. It would have given an idea of what combinations of improvements lead to significant change and how significant that would be on average. This would help justify and prioritize investments in improvements.
  • My little quibble is that ‘corn’ is ambiguous each side of the Atlantic and explicitly stating maize or is better.

50 Years of Applying OR to Agriculture in Britain

I helped my boss Eric Audsley produce this paper (link) for the OR Society 50 conference in York 2008.  Luis Pla and I also wrote a related paper on the future prospects that made it to press at the second attempt with help from Andrew Higgins.

An engineering approach for sustainable systems

This paper summed up much of the thinking and research that I had been involved with for around a decade as a research scientist at the former Silsoe Research Institute at Bedfordshire. (Wrest Park is a fabulous Stately home and was a gorgeous setting for UKs public sector agricultural engineering institute)

In many ways I remain an heir to that legacy with the remaining team members at Cranfield University. My work lies under Systems Modelling for Decisions -mostly under 1 and 2, but dipping into the rest

Key headings from the paper

Systems Modelling for Decisions:

  1. Systems modelling for environmental
  2. Whole farm decisions and land use planning -the implications of farmers’ management decisions for environmental impacts
  3. Decision support for complex uncertain systems – stochastic dynamic programming and weed control strategies
  4. Linking process and systems models to support on-farm decision making – an example for fungicide does optimization

Control Engineering approaches to biological systems:

  1. Incorporating models in the control loop
  2. Control of multiple outputs -target growth but with limited emissions
  3. Advanced sensing techniques – a route to more complex control opportunities
    1. machine vision
    2. biological sensors
  4. Real-time machine control

Research Fellowship Training -Career Planning 31/7/2015

31st July 2015 Life as a at Cranfield and

Nice to see 20-30 of us attending. Despite being an established Research Fellow it was useful refresher training for me.

It all boils down to a triad of academic Papers (out), research student PhDs (out) and Pounds (in). The ages old maxim publish or perish.

To some extent your job is what you want it to be if you begin to bring in funding, excel at what you like and are good at and do the least you can get away with for the rest.

One of the interesting messages is the for every four hours meeting the Research Customers needs two and a half could be spent advancing ones career with papers and items of esteem, one and a half seeking new research grants, 1 hour teaching and supervising students, and 1 hour of citizenry and giving back to the quality of life of your work community. Most of us spend most of our time chasing our tails and leave the advancing ones career stuff too much to chance.

It was interesting that hands-on teaching peaks mid career with lecturers and senior lecturer. Readers and Professors are more broadly focused on the intellectual stewardship of their fields and its strategic resources such as the funding and intellectual outcomes

Life can be a roller coaster of ups and down – you need to be able to handle failure -grant rejections -paper rejections, etc. You need to stay grounded in reality and not get over hyped or devastated. Respond to challenges and setbacks with solutions and don’t allow yourself to become a toxic moaner that everyone resits helping.

There are multiple paths to success, but don’t expect the rules and goal post to be written or set in stone. Luck and intelligent understanding matter as well. Know your skills and leverage your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses.

Esteem and publications are like social media they are an ecosystem that grows out and grow on itself and starts to show exponential influence with time.it

Most research fellows struggle because they:
lack a plan to become a Professor
Most promotion cases are flawed because the candidate:
Lacks a clear and distinct intellectual vision

The Academic Reputational Development Plan has moved here to the PLAN

health check and plan
health check and plan