The Prevalence of OpenSees in JSE

In Write It Up, Paul J. Silvia describes three journal tiers that apply to any field:

  1. Journals that everyone in your field sees as among the best (smallest tier)
  2. Important journals that contain most of the field’s work (largest tier)
  3. “The seamy underbelly of scholarly publishing”

In my opinion, the ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering (JSE) is in the first tier for the field of structural engineering. So, I set out to determine how many JSE articles refer to OpenSees. This turned out to be fairly easy with the ASCE Library’s Advanced Search feature.

The first JSE article to contain the word “OpenSees” appeared in 2004. It has Berkeley authors, but probably not the ones you think. From then through the end of 2020 (JSE’s 2021 volume is already underway), 351 “OpenSees” publications appeared in JSE.

That’s a lot of articles. But how does the annual “OpenSees” article count in JSE compare to articles that contain the word “Analysis” (an easily searched proxy for the total number of JSE articles) and articles that contain the word “Abaqus” (another frequently used software for structural engineering research).

The numbers of “Analysis”, “Abaqus”, and “OpenSees” articles have generally increased over the last 10 years–there’s several reasons for that. Also, the ratios of “OpenSees” and “Abaqus” articles to “Analysis” articles have increased. Over the last few years, about 15-25% of JSE “analysis” articles contain the word “Abaqus” while about 10-15% contain the word “OpenSees”. Not bad.


For what it’s worth, the first ASCE article with the word “OpenSees” was published in 2001 in the Journal of Bridge Engineering. Again, Berkeley authors. And again, probably not who you would guess.

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