Communication Institute for Online Scholarship
CommunicationInstitute for Online Scholarship

ComAbstracts ComAnalytics Electronic Journal of Communication ComVista COSMIC

COSMIC's Managing Editor is Renee Pettit. The database was designed and created by Timothy Stephen and Renee Pettit.

COSMIC is the communication field and the journalism field's ultimate database of scales and measures. The database is expanded and updated throughout the year. Access to COSMIC is by library or institutional subscription to CIOS services that include ComAbstracts.

Links for additional information:
Teaching with COSMIC
Include your scale
Subscription info
Take a tour!

The Ultimate Compendium of Scales and Measures in Communication

Welcome to COSMIC!

COSMIC is the primary repository for the communication and journalism fields for published indexes, scales, and other systems for measurement, and for published articles treating topics in measurement procedure, research design, data analysis, and other issues in methodology.

Measurement is fundamental to the advancement of knowledge in every scientifically oriented field of inquiry, but until the creation of COSMIC it has been exceptionally difficult to locate articles introducing or critiquing measurement systems in the communication field's rapidly growing literature. For all practical purposes the only way to find such materials was with guidance from village elders, or by fortuitously happening upon references in related publications. Now, with COSMIC, you can easily review what's been published, find out how other scholars have reacted to it, and drill down precisely to find information to assist in the design and execution of your qualitative or quantitative research project.

COSMIC is built upon the ComAbstracts database, which, because ComAbstracts' coverage is comprehensive, curated, and focused, is now regarded as the communication/journalism field's database of record. In some cases important measures of communication phenomena have been published in the literatures of other fields and as these are identified, they are also included in COSMIC. Indeed, COSMIC is an open system that invites all researchers to submit relevant materials for inclusion (see the Editorial Contact tab above). Unfortunately, in some cases, the publication that introduced a new measure, scale, or index does not contain the measure itself, and the author's institutional affiliation, as given in that original publication, is likely out of date. However, because COSMIC is inter-connected with the CIOS's ComVista database, if the author is still active in the field, COSMIC can help locate current contact information, so that you can use email to request a copy. Authors who have control of copyright may wish to submit copies of relevant materials to COSMIC so that they can be obtained directly by COSMIC's users.

Even with only its basic services, COSMIC is revolutionary step forward for communication and journalism scholars and teachers. However, COSMIC is layered over the CIOS's extensive infrastructure. COSMIC makes use of relevant aspects of ComVista, ComAnalytics, and ComAbstracts, ComIndex, and ComUpdate. This synergy makes it especially easy to locate materials, find related work, contact authors, and explore their history of contribution in the field.

COSMIC makes use of the ComAbstracts' controlled dictionary of article coding terms so that all included materials are categorized in terms of their various areas of disciplinary relevance. This makes it possible to locate materials that are relevant to particular subject areas, such as health communication, organizational communication, public relations, interpersonal communication, rhetoric, journalism or other areas. Articles are also categorized according their type of methodological contribution (e.g., introduction of a new scale, critique of an existing scale, observational coding system, sampling technique, etc.).

In summary, here are a few of COSMIC's features and advantages:

Comprehensive coverage. The primary source for COSMIC is the ComAbstracts database, which now consists of records for more than 100,000 scholarly articles from approximately 150 academic journals, all of which are of central relevance to communication and journalism. Results are not cluttered with materials from outside the field's areas of concern that are erroniously included in commercial databases (e.g., addressing problems of diagnosis in speech pathology, the construction of orbital satellites and communications hardware, the efficiency of data transfer algorithms for computer-to-computer exchange, wireless communication between robots, or the grammar of world languages). COSMIC has been designed by disciplinary experts who understand the field's scope of interest and its current areas of theoretical and practical concern.

Precision: COSMIC is curated by experienced researchers who understand measurement theory and research design.

Ease of access: All COSMIC records are coded with classification terms from two separate code books: (1) a controlled dictionary developed specifically for use in COSMIC for classifying articles focusing on reseach methodology and measurement, and (2) a second controlled dictionary that allows each record to be coded for its relevance to 24 areas of primary focus within the field. This combination makes it possible to easily obtain comprehensive results from searches by selecting from dropdown menus.

Continuous updates: COSMIC does not have the limitations of compendia of measures published as books. Content expands continuously as more measurement-relevant articles are published. Articles that are candidates for inclusion are identified automatically from the thousands of new records added to ComAbstracts throughout each year, and by self-identification from authors (see the Editorial Contact tab above).

Seemless pass through to your library's full text resources: As is the case with other CIOS databases, COSMIC features OpenURL technology, which makes it possible to connect immediately to your library's catalog and other database resources to obtain full articles or order them automatically via interlibrary loan.

Designed for teachers as well as researchers: COSMIC introduces the field to your students in terms of one of its most central activities. It not only captures the boundaries of the field's multiple areas of interest but also makes clear its several traditions for advancing knowledge. Assign students to use COSMIC to identify central areas of research within the field. Ask them to report on the introduction of new measures and their subsequent critique as captured in the literature. Or have them explore trends in measurement throughout the field's history.

Affordable: Produced by the Communication Institute for Online Scholarship on a not-for-profit basis as a service to the field, COSMIC is included with every institutional subscription to ComAbstracts. Library-friendly institutional ComAbstracts subscriptions are priced far below resources produced in the for-profit sector.