The Research Quality Framework uses Thomson-ISI citation benchmarks as its main set of objective measures of research quality. The Thomson-ISI measures rely on identifying a core set of journals in which the major publications for a discipline are to be found. The core for a discipline is determined by applying a nontransparent process that is partly based on Bradford’s Law (1934). Yet Bradford was not seeking measures about quality of publications or journals. How valid then is it to base measures of publication quality on Bradford’s Law? We explore this by returning to Bradford’s Law and subsequent related research asking ‘what is Bradford’s Law really about?’ We go further, and ask ‘does Bradford’s Law apply in Information Systems?’ We use data from John Lamp’s internationally respected Index of Information Systems Journals to explore the latter question. We have found that Information Systems may have a core of journals only a subset of which is also in the list of Thomson-ISI journals. There remain many unanswered questions about the RQF metrics based on Thomson-ISI and their applicability to information systems.
Lamp, John W.; Milton, Simon K.; Dawson, Linda; and Fisher, Julie, "RQF Publication Quality Measures: Methodological Issues" (2007). ACIS 2007 Proceedings. Paper 1.