What are the personal and professional characteristics that distinguish the researchers who publish in high- and low-impact journals? A multi-national web-based survey

Authors : Carlos Eduardo Paiva, Raphael L C Araujo, Bianca Sakamoto Ribeiro Paiva, Cristiano de Pádua Souza, Flavio Mavignier Cárcano, Marina Moreira Costa, Sérgio Vicente Serrano, João Paulo Nogueira Lima

Purpose

This study identifies the personal and professional profiles of researchers with a greater potential to publish high-impact academic articles.

Method

The study involved conducting an international survey of journal authors using a  web-based questionnaire. The survey examined personal characteristics, funding, and the perceived barriers of research quality, work-life balance, and satisfaction and motivation in relation to career.

The processes of manuscript writing and journal publication were measured using an online questionnaire that was developed for this study. The responses were compared between the two groups of researchers using logistic regression models.

Results

A total of 269 questionnaires were analysed. The researchers shared some common perceptions; both groups reported that they were seeking recognition (or to be leaders in their areas) rather than financial remuneration.

Furthermore, both groups identified time and funding constraints as the main obstacles to their scientific activities.

The amount of time that was spent on research activities, having >5 graduate students under supervision, never using text editing services prior to the publication of articles, and living in a developed and English-speaking country were the independent variables that were associated with their article getting a greater chance of publishing in a high-impact journal.

In contrast, using one’s own resources to perform studies decreased the chance of publishing in high-impact journals.

Conclusions

The researchers who publish in high-impact journals have distinct profiles compared with the researchers who publish in low-impact journals.

English language abilities and the actual amount of time that is dedicated to research and scientific writing, as well as aspects that relate to the availability of financial resources are the factors that are associated with a successful researcher’s profile.

URL : What are the personal and professional characteristics that distinguish the researchers who publish in high- and low-impact journals? A multi-national web-based survey

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2017.718

A Large-Scale Analysis of Impact Factor Biased Journal Self-Citations

Authors : Caspar Chorus, Ludo Waltman

Based on three decades of citation data from across scientific fields of science, we study trends in impact factor biased self-citations of scholarly journals, using a purpose-built and easy to use citation based measure.

Our measure is given by the ratio between i) the relative share of journal self-citations to papers published in the last two years, and ii) the relative share of journal self-citations to papers published in preceding years.

A ratio higher than one suggests that a journal’s impact factor is disproportionally affected (inflated) by self-citations. Using recently reported survey data, we show that there is a relation between high values of our proposed measure and coercive journal self-citation malpractices.

We use our measure to perform a large-scale analysis of impact factor biased journal self-citations. Our main empirical result is, that the share of journals for which our measure has a (very) high value has remained stable between the 1980s and the early 2000s, but has since risen strongly in all fields of science.

This time span corresponds well with the growing obsession with the impact factor as a journal evaluation measure over the last decade.

Taken together, this suggests a trend of increasingly pervasive journal self-citation malpractices, with all due unwanted consequences such as inflated perceived importance of journals and biased journal rankings.

URL : A Large-Scale Analysis of Impact Factor Biased Journal Self-Citations

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0161021

A simple proposal for the publication of journal citation distributions

Authors : Vincent Larivière, Véronique Kiermer, Catriona J. MacCallum, Marcia McNutt, Mark Patterson, Bernd Pulverer, Sowmya Swaminathan, Stuart Taylor, Stephen Curry

Although the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is widely acknowledged to be a poor indicator of the quality of individual papers, it is used routinely to evaluate research and researchers. Here, we present a simple method for generating the citation distributions that underlie JIFs.

Application of this straightforward protocol reveals the full extent of the skew of distributions and variation in citations received by published papers that is characteristic of all scientific journals.

Although there are differences among journals across the spectrum of JIFs, the citation distributions overlap extensively, demonstrating that the citation performance of individual papers cannot be inferred from the JIF.

We propose that this methodology be adopted by all journals as a move to greater transparency, one that should help to refocus attention on individual pieces of work and counter the inappropriate usage of JIFs during the process of research assessment.

URL : A simple proposal for the publication of journal citation distributions

Alternative location : http://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2016/07/05/062109.abstract

How do scientists perceive the current publication culture? A qualitative focus group interview study among Dutch biomedical researchers

Design

Qualitative focus group interview study.

Setting

Four university medical centres in the Netherlands.

Participants

Three randomly selected groups of biomedical scientists (PhD, postdoctoral staff members and full professors).

Main outcome measures

Main themes for discussion were selected by participants.

Results

Frequently perceived detrimental effects of contemporary publication culture were the strong focus on citation measures (like the Journal Impact Factor and the H-index), gift and ghost authorships and the order of authors, the peer review process, competition, the funding system and publication bias. These themes were generally associated with detrimental and undesirable effects on publication practices and on the validity of reported results.

Furthermore, senior scientists tended to display a more cynical perception of the publication culture than their junior colleagues. However, even among the PhD students and the postdoctoral fellows, the sentiment was quite negative. Positive perceptions of specific features of contemporary scientific and publication culture were rare.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that the current publication culture leads to negative sentiments, counterproductive stress levels and, most importantly, to questionable research practices among junior and senior biomedical scientists.

URL : How do scientists perceive the current publication culture? A qualitative focus group interview study among Dutch biomedical researchers

Alternative location : http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/2/e008681.full

The presence of High-impact factor Open Access Journals in Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM) disciplines

The present study means to establish to what extent high-quality open access journals are available as an outlet for publication, by examining their distribution in different scientific disciplines, including the distribution of those journals without article processing charges.

The study is based on a systematic comparison between the journals included in the DOAJ, and the journals indexed in the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) Science edition 2013, released by Thomson Reuters.

The impact factor of Open Access (OA) journals was lower than those of other journals by a small but statistically significant amount. Open access journals are present in the upper quartile (by impact factor) of 85 out of 176 (48.8%) categories examined. There were no OA journals with an Impact Factor in only 16 categories (9%).

URL : The presence of High-impact factor Open Access Journals in Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM) disciplines

Alternative location : http://leo.cineca.it/index.php/jlis/article/view/11257

A New Ranking Scheme for the Institutional Scientific Performance

We propose a new performance indicator to evaluate the productivity of research institutions by their disseminated scientific papers. The new quality measure includes two principle components: the normalized impact factor of the journal in which paper was published, and the number of citations received per year since it was published. In both components, the scientific impacts are weighted by the contribution of authors from the evaluated institution.

As a whole, our new metric, namely, the institutional performance score takes into account both journal based impact and articles specific impacts. We apply this new scheme to evaluate research output performance of Turkish institutions specialized in astronomy and astrophysics in the period of 1998-2012. We discuss the implications of the new metric, and emphasize the benefits of it along with comparison to other proposed institutional performance indicators.

URL : http://arxiv.org/abs/1508.03713

Retraction policies of top scientific journals ranked by impact factor

Objective

This study gathered information about the retraction policies of the top 200 scientific journals, ranked by impact factor.

Methods

Editors of the top 200 science journals for the year 2012 were contacted by email.

Results

One hundred forty-seven journals (74%) responded to a request for information. Of these, 95 (65%) had a retraction policy. Of journals with a retraction policy, 94% had a policy that allows the editors to retract articles without authors’ consent.

Conclusions

The majority of journals in this sample had a retraction policy, and almost all of them would retract an article without the authors’ permission.

URL : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4511053/