Creation of an internet search tool specific to open access, forensic psychology journals

Scholarly publishing is being transformed by the internet.

By Bruce Borkosky

When I am doing scholarly research, I find myself using both PsycINFO (PI) and Google Scholar (GS). Both have their strengths and weaknesses, and neither are perfect for re- searching forensic psychology. PI, on the one hand, is solely focused on psychology articles, making what results it does produce relevant to the topic I am searching. It also has a number of APA journal articles and book chapters that I can download and study. How- ever, PI only indexes a small number of psychology-specific journals, and only APA books. Searches in the area of forensic psychology often yield disappointing results, because the field encompasses many related, but not specifically psychological areas.

Google Scholar, on the other hand, indexes a huge number of journals, books, and related material. I always find a greater number of relevant citations using GS than I do with PI. Because GS indexes almost all books in print, I am able to find and cite many relevant book chapters in my research. Similarly, many authors have uploaded a copy of their article to the internet (called self-archiving), making many more such articles available than does PI. However, GS’s strength is also its weakness, because I often have to wade through dozens or hundreds of non-relevant articles to find the few I want. Further, GS does not index journals that do not meet its inclusion criteria, such as the Open Access Journal of Forensic Psychology (OAJFP), created by Greg DeClue.

I have been compiling a list of journals related to forensic psychology, and I noticed that many are not indexed by PI. I placed several requests for journals to be added, in the past year, but it is a slow, bureaucratic process. Of the journals I requested to be added, I see only two that actually were added. GS does not index them all, either.

At the same time, in compiling my list of forensic psychology journals, I became aware of the growing movement toward making scholarly work more available to the general public, called “open access”. Open access is being enabled through a variety of mechanisms (such as by authors archiving their own works on the internet), but generally the works become available for anyone to download from the internet, free of charge. One prime example of this is OAJFP.

In my opinion, scholarly publishing is being transformed by the internet, in the same way that music, newspapers, magazines, and television are being transformed. Due to the much lower costs of entry and distribution for internet-based journals, publishers of print journals are going to struggle for the next decade, until they find a model that enables them to succeed against the newcomers.

During my search for journals, I noticed that a number were open access journals, meaning that all the articles are available online. I utilized several directories of the many OA journals being created, in my searches, as well as aggregators such as EBSCO. Many of these OA journals are not indexed by PI, and worse, PI has no mechanism by which to download the articles once found.

Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) to the rescue! CSE is a little known feature among the myriad of Google services. It allows you to create your own search engine, by specifying a limited subset of websites to search. It is simple to create – one simply enters each website to search into the form. However, one has carefully check each website, be- cause many websites use a different URL to store their articles. In addition, the user may wish to limit the search to the specific subdomain that contains only the articles, to exclude nonarticle results (e.g., apa.org/monitor instead of apa.org). Finally, although Google is able to search, CSE does not appear to work with foreign websites (such as rjlmo.ro).

Therefore, I created a Google Custom Search engine for open access forensic psychology journals. The purpose was to compensate for the weaknesses in both PI and GS. To use the search, simply go to Google, and then type your search into the bottom field (the one that says “google custom search”). Do not search in the top field that says, “Search in CSE home.” You can also use my website.

I added URLs for all of the following OA journals. I used those URLs that seemed to produce the most relevant results. In some cases, CSE does not seem to be able to search that web- site. I also added a few websites that were included highly relevant gray literature, such as U.S. and Canadian criminal justice websites. I also included a few OA law journals, as well. To date, there are almost 150 websites in the forensic psych CSE.

Similar to the print journal industry, the largest focus area is in criminal justice. However, while there are a relatively large number of print journals specific to forensic mental health, applied psychology and interpersonal violence, the most frequent categories of OA journal subject areas include law journals and medical forensics.

The number of new OA journals has declined during the recession, similar to the print journal industry. The most new journals occurred during the 1991 (6) and 2005 (7) boom years. However, even including the recession data, the trend is for an ever increasing number of new OA journals relevant to forensic psychology, annually. The current annual increase in new journals is about 4%. However, we are likely to see a further increase in new OA journals once the recession has run its course.

I expect this project to be a work in progress, and I will be continuing to improve it in the months ahead. I welcome all comments and criticisms. Please let me know about web- sites you would like to see added. I expect there will be broken links, as website managers change the formatting of their sites.

These are the journals included in the search:

  • Advance Directive
  • African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies
  • AGORA International Journal of Juridicial Sciences
  • Alaska Justice Forum
  • American Criminal Law Review
  • Anil Aggrawal's Internet Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology
  • Annals of Health Law
  • Annual Review of Law & Social Science
  • Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice
  • Behavior and Social Issues
  • Beijing Law Review
  • Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law
  • Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Injustice
  • Champ Pe'nal
  • Conflict and Health
  • Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal
  • Crime and Justice Bulletin
  • Crime Prevention & Community Safety
  • Crime Science
  • The Criminologist
  • Criminology & Social Integration Journal
  • Criminology, Victimology and Security Journal
  • Developments in Mental Health Law
  • Drug Court Review
  • e-Journal of Applied Psychology
  • European Journal of Probation
  • European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context
  • FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
  • Federal Courts Law Review
  • Federal Probation
  • Forensic Medicine and Anatomy Research
  • FORUM on Corrections Research
  • Frontiers in Psychiatry
  • The Future of Children
  • Hastings Law Review
  • Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine
  • Houston Journal of Health Law & Policy
  • Indian Internet Journal of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology
  • Indian Journal of Medical Ethics
  • Indian Police Journal
  • Indiana Health Law Review
  • International Journal of Child Youth and Family Studies
  • International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences
  • International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory
  • International Journal of Cyber Criminology
  • International Journal of High Risk Behaviors and Addiction
  • International Journal of Victimology
  • International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy
  • International Journal of Conflict and Violence
  • International Journal of Criminal Investigation
  • International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences
  • Internet Journal of Criminology
  • Internet Journal of Forensic Science
  • Internet Journal of Law, Healthcare, & Ethics
  • Irish Probation Journal
  • Issues in Child Abuse Accusations
  • Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology
  • Journal of Criminology
  • Journal of Health & Biomedical Law
  • Journal of Health Care Law & Policy
  • Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law
  • Journal of Juvenile Justice
  • Journal of Law & Health
  • Journal of Law and Family Studies
  • Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine
  • Journal of Mental Health Law
  • Journal of Punjab Academy of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology
  • Journal of Sexual Offender Civil Commitment
  • Journal of the American Academy of Yia & the Law
  • Journal of Military Medicine
  • The Jury Expert
  • Law and Contemporary Problems
  • Litigation Magazine
  • Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law
  • Open Access Journal of Forensic Psychology
  • Open Criminology Journal
  • Open Forensic Science Journal
  • Review of Law and Social Change
  • Romanian Journal of Legal Medicine
  • Romanian Journal of Bioethics
  • SA Crime Quarterly
  • Sexual Offender Treatment
  • SIAK Journal of Police Science
  • SLU Journal of Health Law & Policy
  • Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice
  • Sri Lanka Journal of Forensic Medicine, Science & Law
  • Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice
  • University of Denver Criminal Law Review
  • UC Davis Journal of Juvenile Law & Policy
  • Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law
  • Web Journal of Current Legal Issues
  • Western Criminology Review
  • William and Mary Law Review
  • Yale Journal of Medicine & Law