The Rise of Platinum Open Access Journals with Both Impact Factors and Zero Article Processing Charges

Author : Joshua M. Pearce

It appears that open access (OA) academic publishing is better for science because it provides frictionless access to make significant advancements in knowledge. OA also benefits individual researchers by providing the widest possible audience and concomitant increased citation rates.

OA publishing rates are growing fast as increasing numbers of funders demand it and is currently dominated by gold OA (authors pay article processing charges (APCs)). Academics with limited financial resources perceive they must choose between publishing behind pay walls or using research funds for OA publishing.

Worse, many new OA journals with low APCs did not have impact factors, which reduces OA selection for tenure track professors. Such unpleasant choices may be dissolving. This article provides analysis with a free and open source python script to collate all journals with impact factors with the now more than 12,000 OA journals that are truly platinum OA (neither the author nor the readers pay for the peer-reviewed work).

The results found platinum OA is growing faster than both academic publishing and OA publishing. There are now over 350 platinum OA journals with impact factors over a wide variety of academic disciplines, giving most academics options for OA with no APCs.

URL : The Rise of Platinum Open Access Journals with Both Impact Factors and Zero Article Processing Charges


Implementing the Declaration on Research Assessment: a publisher case study

Authors : Victoria Gardner, Mark Robinson, Elisabetta O’Connell

There has been much debate around the role of metrics in scholarly communication, with particular focus on the misapplication of journal metrics, such as the impact factor in the assessment of research and researchers.

Various initiatives have advocated for a change in this culture, including the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which invites stakeholders throughout the scholarly communication ecosystem to sign up and show their support for practices designed to address the misuse of metrics.

This case study provides an overview of the process undertaken by a large academic publisher (Taylor & Francis Group) in signing up to DORA and implementing some of its key practices in the hope that it will provide some guidance to others considering becoming a signatory.

Our experience suggests that research, consultation and flexibility are crucial components of the process. Additionally, approaching signing with a project mindset versus a ‘sign and forget’ mentality can help organizations to understand the practical implications of signing, to anticipate and mitigate potential obstacles and to support cultural change.

URL : Implementing the Declaration on Research Assessment: a publisher case study


Communication Research, the Geopolitics of Knowledge and Publishing in High-Impact Journals: The Chronicle of a Commodification Process Foretold

Authors : Víctor Manuel Marí Sáez, Clara Martins do Nascimento

The reforms in higher education that have been introduced on a global scale in recent years have gone hand in glove with the progressive imposition of scientific journal impact factors, all of which points to the rise of academic capitalism and digital labour in universities that is increasingly subject to the logic of the market.

A diachronic analysis of this process allows for talking about, paraphrasing Gabriel García Márquez, the chronicle of a commodification process foretold. More than twenty years ago it was clear what was going to happen, but not how it was going to unfold.

Accordingly, this article reconstructs that process, comparing the Spanish case with global trends and highlighting the crucial role that governmental agencies like the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation and specific evaluation tools like the publication of scientific papers in high-impact journals have played in it.

In this analysis, Wallerstein’s core-periphery relations and the concept of commodity fetishism, as addressed by Walter Benjamin, prove to be especially useful. The main research question posed in this article is as follows: What does the process of the commodification of communication research look like in Spain?

URL : Communication Research, the Geopolitics of Knowledge and Publishing in High-Impact Journals: The Chronicle of a Commodification Process Foretold


Requiem for impact factors and high publication charges

Authors : Chris R Triggle, Ross MacDonald, David J. Triggle, Donald Grierson

Journal impact factors, publication charges and assessment of quality and accuracy of scientific research are critical for researchers, managers, funders, policy makers, and society. Editors and publishers compete for impact factor rankings, to demonstrate how important their journals are, and researchers strive to publish in perceived top journals, despite high publication and access charges.

This raises questions of how top journals are identified, whether assessments of impacts are accurate and whether high publication charges borne by the research community are justified, bearing in mind that they also collectively provide free peer-review to the publishers.

Although traditional journals accelerated peer review and publication during the COVID-19 pandemic, preprint servers made a greater impact with over 30,000 open access articles becoming available and accelerating a trend already seen in other fields of research.

We review and comment on the advantages and disadvantages of a range of assessment methods and the way in which they are used by researchers, managers, employers and publishers.

We argue that new approaches to assessment are required to provide a realistic and comprehensive measure of the value of research and journals and we support open access publishing at a modest, affordable price to benefit research producers and consumers.

URL : Requiem for impact factors and high publication charges


What happens when a journal converts to Open Access? A bibliometric analysis

Authors : Fakhri Momeni, Philipp Mayr, Nicholas Fraser, Isabella Peters

In recent years, increased stakeholder pressure to transition research to Open Access has led to many journals converting, or ‘flipping’, from a closed access (CA) to an open access (OA) publishing model.

Changing the publishing model can influence the decision of authors to submit their papers to a journal, and increased article accessibility may influence citation behaviour. In this paper we aimed to understand how flipping a journal to an OA model influences the journal’s future publication volumes and citation impact.

We analysed two independent sets of journals that had flipped to an OA model, one from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and one from the Open Access Directory (OAD), and compared their development with two respective control groups of similar journals. For bibliometric analyses, journals were matched to the Scopus database.

We assessed changes in the number of articles published over time, as well as two citation metrics at the journal and article level: the normalised impact factor (IF) and the average relative citations (ARC), respectively. Our results show that overall, journals that flipped to an OA model increased their publication output compared to journals that remained closed.

Mean normalised IF and ARC also generally increased following the flip to an OA model, at a greater rate than was observed in the control groups. However, the changes appear to vary largely by scientific discipline. Overall, these results indicate that flipping to an OA publishing model can bring positive changes to a journal.


Use of the journal impact factor for assessing individual articles need not be statistically wrong

Authors : Ludo Waltman, Vincent A. Traag

Most scientometricians reject the use of the journal impact factor for assessing individual articles and their authors. The well-known San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment also strongly objects against this way of using the impact factor.

Arguments against the use of the impact factor at the level of individual articles are often based on statistical considerations. The skewness of journal citation distributions typically plays a central role in these arguments.

We present a theoretical analysis of statistical arguments against the use of the impact factor at the level of individual articles. Our analysis shows that these arguments do not support the conclusion that the impact factor should not be used for assessing individual articles.

In fact, our computer simulations demonstrate the possibility that the impact factor is a more accurate indicator of the value of an article than the number of citations the article has received.

It is important to critically discuss the dominant role of the impact factor in research evaluations, but the discussion should not be based on misplaced statistical arguments. Instead, the primary focus should be on the socio-technical implications of the use of the impact factor.

URL : Use of the journal impact factor for assessing individual articles need not be statistically wrong


Rethinking the Journal Impact Factor and Publishing in the Digital Age

Authors : Mark S. Nestor, Daniel Fischer, David Arnold, Brian Berman, James Q. Del Rosso

Clinical and experimental literature search has changed significantly over the past few decades, and with it, the way in which we value information. Today, our need for immediate access to relevant and specific literature, regardless of specialty, has led to a growing demand for open access to publications.

The Journal Impact Factor (JIF) has been a long-time standard for representing the quality or “prestige” of a journal, but it appears to be losing its relevance. Here, we define the JIF and deconstruct its validity as a modern measure of a journal’s quality, discuss the current models of academic publication, including their advantages and shortcomings, and discuss the benefits and shortcomings of a variety of open-access models, including costs to the author.

We have quantified a nonsubscribed physician’s access to full articles associated with dermatologic disease and aesthetics cited on PubMed. For some of the most common dermatology conditions, 23.1 percent of citations (ranging from 17.2% for melasma to 31.9% for malignant melanoma) were available as free full articles, and for aesthetic procedures, 18.9 percent of citations (ranging from 11.9% for laser hair removal to 27.9% for botulinum toxin) were available as free full articles.

Finally, we discuss existing alternative metrics for measuring journal impact and propose the adoption of a superior publishing model, one that satisfies modern day standards of scholarly knowledge pursuit and dissemination of scholarly publications for dermatology and all of medical science.