Peer Review in Law Journals

Authors : Jadranka Stojanovski, Elías Sanz-Casado, Tommaso Agnoloni, Ginevra Peruginelli

The field of law has retained its distinctiveness regarding peer review to this day, and reviews are often conducted without following standardized rules and principles. External and independent evaluation of submissions has recently become adopted by European law journals, and peer review procedures are still poorly defined, investigated, and attuned to the legal science publishing landscape.

The aim of our study was to gain a better insight into current editorial policies on peer review in law journals by exploring editorial documents (instructions, guidelines, policies) issued by 119 Croatian, Italian, and Spanish law journals.

We relied on automatic content analysis of 135 publicly available documents collected from the journal websites to analyze the basic features of the peer review processes, manuscript evaluation criteria, and related ethical issues using WordStat.

Differences in covered topics between the countries were compared using the chi-square test. Our findings reveal that most law journals have adopted a traditional approach, in which the editorial board manages mostly anonymized peer review (104, 77%) engaging independent/external reviewers (65, 48%).

Submissions are evaluated according to their originality and relevance (113, 84%), quality of writing and presentation (94, 70%), comprehensiveness of literature references (93, 69%), and adequacy of methods (57, 42%).

The main ethical issues related to peer review addressed by these journals are reviewer’s competing interests (42, 31%), plagiarism (35, 26%), and biases (30, 22%). We observed statistically significant differences between countries in mentioning key concepts such as “Peer review ethics”, “Reviewer”, “Transparency of identities”, “Publication type”, and “Research misconduct”.

Spanish journals favor reviewers’ “Independence” and “Competence” and “Anonymized” peer review process. Also, some manuscript types popular in one country are rarely mentioned in other countries.

Even though peer review is equally conventional in all three countries, high transparency in Croatian law journals, respect for research integrity in Spanish ones, and diversity and inclusion in Italian are promising indicators of future development.

URL : Peer Review in Law Journals


Impact and visibility of Norwegian, Finnish and Spanish journals in the fields of humanities

Authors : Elías Sanz-Casado, Daniela De Filippo, Rafael Aleixandre Benavent, Vidar Røeggen, Janne Pölönen

This article analyses the impact and visibility of scholarly journals in the humanities that are publishing in the national languages in Finland, Norway and Spain. Three types of publishers are considered: commercial publishers, scholarly society as publisher, and research organizations as publishers.

Indicators of visibility and impact were obtained from Web of Science, SCOPUS, Google Metrics, Scimago Journal Rank and Journal Citation Report.

The findings compiled show that in Spain the categories “History and Archaeology” and “Language and Literature” account for almost 70% of the journals analysed, while the other countries offer a more homogeneous distribution.

In Finland, the scholarly society publisher is predominant, in Spain, research organization as publishers, mostly universities, have a greater weighting, while in Norway, the commercial publishers take centre stage.

The results show that journals from Finland and Norway will have reduced possibilities in terms of impact and visibility, since the vernacular language appeals to a smaller readership. Conversely, the Spanish journals are more attractive for indexing in commercial databases. Distribution in open access ranges from 64 to 70% in Norwegian and Finish journals, and to 91% in Spanish journals.

The existence of DOI range from 31 to 41% in Nordic journals to 60% in Spanish journals and has a more widespread bearing on the citations received in all three countries (journals with DOI and open access are cited more frequently).

URL : Impact and visibility of Norwegian, Finnish and Spanish journals in the fields of humanities


Scientific Landscape of Citizen Science Publications: Dynamics, Content and Presence in Social Media

Authors : Núria Bautista-Puig, Daniela De Filippo, Elba Mauleón, Elías Sanz-Casado

Citizen science (CS) aims primarily to create a new scientific culture able to improve upon the triple interaction between science, society, and policy in the dual pursuit of more democratic research and decision-making informed by sound evidence.

It is both an aim and an enabler of open science (OS), to which it contributes by involving citizens in research and encouraging participation in the generation of new knowledge. This study analyses scientific output on CS using bibliometric techniques and Web of Science (WoS) data.

Co-occurrence maps are formulated to define subject clusters as background for an analysis of the impact of each on social media. Four clusters are identified: HEALTH, BIO, GEO and PUBLIC. The profiles for the four clusters are observed to be fairly similar, although BIO and HEALTH are mentioned more frequently in blogposts and tweets and BIO and PUBLIC in Facebook and newsfeeds.

The findings also show that output in the area has grown since 2010, with a larger proportion of papers (66%) mentioned in social media than reported in other studies. The percentage of open access documents (30.7%) is likewise higher than the overall mean for all areas.

URL : Scientific Landscape of Citizen Science Publications: Dynamics, Content and Presence in Social Media