Sunday, July 22, 2012

"An international research community" Editorial introduction to ijCSCL 7(3)

An international research community

Gerry Stahl * Nancy Law * Friedrich Hesse

The Editors are pleased to announce that the International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning was again highly ranked by ISI's annual "Impact Factor" report released several days ago. IjCSCL ranks #11 of the 203 journals ranked by ISI in the field of Education and Educational Research and it ranks #6 of the 83 journals ranked by ISI in the field of Information Science & Library Science. IjCSCL is the #1 journal published by Springer and ranked by ISI in each of these categories.

IjCSCL has an impact factor of 2.243 for last year and a 5-year impact factor of 3.000. The impact factor for 2011 is the number of citations of the journal's 2009 and 2010 articles cited during 2011 in ISI-ranked journals, divided by the number of the journal's 2009 and 2010 articles. That is, articles printed in ijCSCL during 2009 or 2010 were cited in ISI-ranked journals on average 2¼ times during 2011. The ISI impact factor (published annually by the Institute for Scientific Information at Thomson Reuters) is widely considered the most important ranking of academic journals. In many universities, it is considered in evaluating authors for tenure and promotion.

IjCSCL supports an international research community. It receives submissions from 53 countries. About 7,000 universities and research institutions around the world subscribe to it, making its content available to millions of people through the Springer website. We also maintain the website with the full text of all articles freely available to the whole world; there have been two million hits to this site so far. Several thousand articles are downloaded every month from the and websites. This indicates that ijCSCL continues to be read and cited by many researchers in the active computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) and learning sciences research community, in addition to being an archival venue for significant research findings.

The most cited (in ISI Web of Science and Google Scholar) and most downloaded (from and articles have been:

  • “Technology affordances for intersubjective meaning making: A research agenda for CSCL” (Suthers, 2006)
  • “Specifying computer-supported collaboration scripts” (Kobbe et al., 2007)
  • “Analyzing collaborative learning processes automatically: Exploiting the advances of computational linguistics in computer-supported collaborative learning” (Rosé et al., 2008)
  • “A systemic and cognitive view on collaborative knowledge building with wikis” (Cress & Kimmerle, 2008)
  • “Productive failure in CSCL groups” (Kapur & Kinzer, 2009)
  • “Time is precious: Variable- and event-centred approaches to process analysis in CSCL research” (Reimann, 2009)
  • “The joint organization of interaction within a multimodal CSCL medium” (Çakir, Zemel & Stahl, 2009)
  • “The pedagogical challenges to collaborative technologies” (Laurillard, 2009)
  • “Learning to collaborate while being scripted or by observing a model” (Rummel, Spada & Hauser, 2009)
  • “Web 2.0: Inherent tensions and evident challenges for education” (Bonderup Dohn, 2009)
  • “Approaching institutional contexts: Systemic versus dialogic research in CSCL” (Arnseth & Ludvigsen, 2006)

This list reflects the journal’s broad diversity of contributions to CSCL theory, technology, methodology, pedagogy, and analysis. These articles are written in a range of creative presentation styles, by authors trained in various fields and traditions. Such interdisciplinarity and multivocality are essential for the growth of knowledge in CSCL.

The CSCL and learning sciences research community continues to expand its international reach, as interest in the field spreads around the world. The International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2012) was just held in Australia, for the first time this conference series was located in the Asia-Pacific hemisphere. The previous year, the CSCL conference (CSCL 2011) was held in Hong Kong, with post-conference events at three Mainland China universities. As a result, ijCSCL is receiving more submissions from Hong Kong, Singapore, Mainland China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand. In fact, about a third of ijCSCL submissions now come from Asia-Pacific, a third from Europe and a third from the Americas. We hope that people from around the world will continue to attend the ICLS and CSCL conferences. CSCL 2013 will be in Madison, Wisconsin, USA (near Chicago); paper submissions are due November 2, 2012 (see

IjCSCL recently published reports on systematic educational reform programs in Singapore (Looi et al., 2011) and Hong Kong (Chan, 2011). We welcome brief descriptions of efforts to introduce CSCL approaches in other areas of the world—such as the Middle East, Africa, or Latin America.

Although competition is increasing for publication in ijCSCL (21% acceptance rate in 2011), we are now able to publish about 40% more articles than in the past, providing expanded opportunities for new ideas and significant contributions to the CSCL literature. Generally, authors should develop their papers through a series of preliminary presentations—such as local research talks, posters, workshop contributions, conference papers, book chapters—in order to receive peer feedback and successively expand and refine their arguments. Submissions to ijCSCL should report on mature research that explores processes of collaborative learning and mechanisms of its computer support in considerable depth. For instance, surveys of student self-perceptions and beliefs are considered preliminary explorations, not ready for journal publication. Submissions should be grounded in solid understanding of current CSCL research, methods, pedagogy, and theory.

The on-going success of ijCSCL is attributable to the authors, reviewers, and readers of the journal. Many of the authors are established leaders of the CSCL and learning sciences research community; others are newcomers or researchers in allied fields, contributing stimulating perspectives and novel findings. The Board of Editors—about 80 researchers from around the world—and other reviewers provide the incisive feedback to authors, generally pointing the way for improvements to the papers, which greatly increase their import. Finally, the readers take up the published ideas and build our knowledge further, realizing the impact in reality, which ISI’s numbers only roughly model.

* * *

See ijCSCL 7(3) for references.


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