The Journal Impact Factor: A brief history, critique, and discussion of adverse effects

Abstract:  The Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is, by far, the most discussed bibliometric indicator. Since its introduction over 40 years ago, it has had enormous effects on the scientific ecosystem: transforming the publishing industry, shaping hiring practices and the allocation of resources, and, as a result, reorienting the research activities and dissemination practices of scholars. Given both the ubiquity and impact of the indicator, the JIF has been widely dissected and debated by scholars of every disciplinary orientation. Drawing on the existing literature as well as on original research, this chapter provides a brief history of the indicator and highlights well-known limitations-such as the asymmetry between the numerator and the denominator, differences across disciplines, the insufficient citation window, and the skewness of the underlying citation distributions. The inflation of the JIF and the weakening predictive power is discussed, as well as the adverse effects on the behaviors of individual actors and the research enterprise. Alternative journal-based indicators are described and the chapter concludes with a call for responsible application and a commentary on future developments in journal indicators.

Budapest Open Access Initiative | Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open

“Ten years ago the Budapest Open Access Initiative launched a worldwide campaign for open access (OA) to all new peer-reviewed research. It didn’t invent the idea of OA. On the contrary, it deliberately drew together existing projects to explore how they might “work together to achieve broader, deeper, and faster success.” But the BOAI was the first initiative to use the term “open access” for this purpose, the first to articulate a public definition, the first to propose complementary strategies for realizing OA, the first to generalize the call for OA to all disciplines and countries, and the first to be accompanied by significant funding. 

Today we’re no longer at the beginning of this worldwide campaign, and not yet at the end. We’re solidly in the middle, and draw upon a decade of experience in order to make new recommendations for the next ten years….”

A Review of Open Access Self-Archiving Mandate Policies

Abstract:  This article reviews the history of open access (OA) policies and examines the current status of mandate policy implementations. It finds that hundreds of policies have been proposed and adopted at various organizational levels and many of them have shown a positive effect on the rate of repository content accumulation. However, it also detects policies showing little or no visible impact on repository development, and attempts to analyze the effects of different types of policies, with varied levels of success. It concludes that an open access mandate policy, by itself, will not change existing practices of scholarly self-archiving. 

Poynder On Point: Ten Years After

“The open access (OA) movement has had some big wins this year: In July [2004], a cross-party group of British politicians called on the U.K. government to make all publicly funded research accessible to everyone “free of charge, online.” That same month, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations recommended that all NIH-funded research be made freely available 6 months after publication. But where did the OA movement come from, and where is it taking us? …”

History of open access – Peter Suber

“Nobody has yet written a comprehensive history of open access (OA), and I don’t plan to. But many of my writings and projects over the years will help those who want to study or write up parts of that history. Here are some of those pieces and projects….

Analogy. Suppose a small town began to grow in a former wilderness. Early in its history it had a newspaper covering daily events. In time it had a phone book, tax roll, town hall, post office, telegraph office, public library, school, church, cemetery, train station, doctor, surveyor, and private eye, each accumulating records in its own idiosyncratic, incomplete way. None of these caches of information is a history of the town. All are materials useful for studying the history of the town. Someone who knew where a good fraction of them were located would do a service by pointing it out. In this sense, I haven’t written a history of OA. But I’ve created materials, alone or with others, useful for studying the history of OA. And here I’m pointing them out, with some notes their scope and searchability. Needless to say, the history of OA is still unfolding. The small town didn’t disappear except in the sense that it grew into a large city….”

The history of open access medical publishing: a comprehensive review

Abstract:  Dermatology Online Journal became the first medical open access journal in the early 1990’s. Today, thousands of open access medical journals are available on the Internet. Despite criticisms surrounding open access, these journals have allowed research to be rapidly available to the public. In addition, open access journal policies allow public health research to reach developing countries where this research has the potential to make a substantial impact. In the future, open access medical journals will likely continue to evolve with technology, changing how medical research is accessed and presented.

Reflections and Directions After PKP’s First Two Decades | Public Knowledge Project

“The Public Knowledge Project (PKP) is entering its third decade. Like any project that has been around this long, PKP is facing the substantial responsibilities of maturity, seeking ways that will enable it to best serve the thousands of people who utilize our software to operate and index the journals and presses with which they work. It is out of this sense of responsibility that PKP, in the fall of 2017, submitted a proposal to the Laura and John Arnold Foundation boldly entitled “Sustaining Open Access’ Most Widely Used Publishing Software.” With this planning grant, PKP contracted the consulting services of BlueSky to Blueprint, with its principal Nancy Maron embarking on an exploration of PKP’s standing and prospects among a sample of those involved in scholarly publishing, including current, former, and potential users of its software.”

Reflections and Directions After PKP’s First Two Decades | Public Knowledge Project

“The Public Knowledge Project (PKP) is entering its third decade. Like any project that has been around this long, PKP is facing the substantial responsibilities of maturity, seeking ways that will enable it to best serve the thousands of people who utilize our software to operate and index the journals and presses with which they work. It is out of this sense of responsibility that PKP, in the fall of 2017, submitted a proposal to the Laura and John Arnold Foundation boldly entitled “Sustaining Open Access’ Most Widely Used Publishing Software.” With this planning grant, PKP contracted the consulting services of BlueSky to Blueprint, with its principal Nancy Maron embarking on an exploration of PKP’s standing and prospects among a sample of those involved in scholarly publishing, including current, former, and potential users of its software.”

A commitment to openness | Research Information

“I started life at Jisc as a programme manager, on a project that was jointly funded by the National Science Foundation in the US and Jisc. This was a fairly forward thinking project in digital libraries and from this, we began working on how to make sure researchers had maximum access to information and collections, and how we could do that collaboratively, building on expertise on both sides of the Atlantic.

At this, I managed the pilot site licence initiative, which in essence is what became Jisc Collections as it is today; it was about ensuring ongoing access as the world of journal archives became digital. The subsequent model licence, designed to provide a smooth transition from analogue, was, I think, a  world first, and the clauses added are aligned to the aspirations of the open access movement – as the world became born digital, open access was a logical next step. There were some real thought leaders in the sector at that time who made it their mission to ensure as many people as possible could have access to that publicly funded research, as a point of principle….”