Requiem for impact factors and high publication charges: Accountability in Research: Vol 0, No ja

Abstract:  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.

 

Novelty, Disruption, and the Evolution of Scientific Impact

Abstract:  Since the 1950s, citation impact has been the dominant metric by which science is quantitatively evaluated. But research contributions play distinct roles in the unfolding drama of scientific debate, agreement and advance, and institutions may value different kinds of advances. Computational power, access to citation data and an array of modeling techniques have given rise to a widening portfolio of metrics to extract different signals regarding their contribution. Here we unpack the complex, temporally evolving relationship between citation impact alongside novelty and disruption, two emerging measures that capture the degree to which science not only influences, but transforms later work. Novelty captures how research draws upon unusual combinations of prior work. Disruption captures how research comes to eclipse the prior work on which it builds, becoming recognized as a new scientific direction. We demonstrate that: 1) novel papers disrupt existing theories and expand the scientific frontier; 2) novel papers are more likely to become “sleeping beauties” and accumulate citation impact over the long run; 3) novelty can be reformulated as distance in journal embedding spaces to map the moving frontier of science. The evolution of embedding spaces over time reveals how yesterday’s novelty forms today’s scientific conventions, which condition the novelty–and surprise–of tomorrow’s breakthroughs.

 

The Most Widely Disseminated COVID-19-Related Scientific Publications in Online Media: A Bibliometric Analysis of the Top 100 Articles with the Highest Altmetric Attention Scores

Abstract:  The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global pandemic. This study’s aim was to identify and characterize the top 100 COVID-19-related scientific publications, which had received the highest Altmetric Attention Scores (AASs). Hence, we searched Altmetric Explorer using search terms such as “COVID” or “COVID-19” or “Coronavirus” or “SARS-CoV-2” or “nCoV” and then selected the top 100 articles with the highest AASs. For each article identified, we extracted the following information: the overall AAS, publishing journal, journal impact factor (IF), date of publication, language, country of origin, document type, main topic, and accessibility. The top 100 articles most frequently were published in journals with high (>10.0) IF (n = 67), were published between March and July 2020 (n = 67), were written in English (n = 100), originated in the United States (n = 45), were original articles (n = 59), dealt with treatment and clinical manifestations (n = 33), and had open access (n = 98). Our study provides important information pertaining to the dissemination of scientific knowledge about COVID-19 in online media. View Full-Text

 

What Is the Price of Science? | mBio

Abstract:  The peer-reviewed scientific literature is the bedrock of science. However, scientific publishing is undergoing dramatic changes, which include the expansion of open access, an increased number of for-profit publication houses, and ready availability of preprint manuscripts that have not been peer reviewed. In this opinion article, we discuss the inequities and concerns that these changes have wrought.

 

Rethinking Research Assessment: Ideas for Action | DORA

“DORA is developing a toolkit of resources to help academic institutions improve their policies and practices. So far, it includes two briefing documents that offer principles to guide institutional change and strategies to address the infrastructural implications of common cognitive biases to increase equity.

Ideas for Action outlines five common myths about research evaluation to help universities better understand barriers to change and provides analogous examples to illustrate how these myths exist inside and outside of academia. It also offers five design principles to help institutions experiment with and develop better research assessment practices….”

Rethinking Research Assessment: Ideas for Action | DORA

“DORA is developing a toolkit of resources to help academic institutions improve their policies and practices. So far, it includes two briefing documents that offer principles to guide institutional change and strategies to address the infrastructural implications of common cognitive biases to increase equity.

Ideas for Action outlines five common myths about research evaluation to help universities better understand barriers to change and provides analogous examples to illustrate how these myths exist inside and outside of academia. It also offers five design principles to help institutions experiment with and develop better research assessment practices….”

Conjoint analysis of researchers’ hidden preferences for bibliometrics, altmetrics, and usage metrics – Lemke – – Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  The amount of annually published scholarly articles is growing steadily, as is the number of indicators through which impact of publications is measured. Little is known about how the increasing variety of available metrics affects researchers’ processes of selecting literature to read. We conducted ranking experiments embedded into an online survey with 247 participating researchers, most from social sciences. Participants completed series of tasks in which they were asked to rank fictitious publications regarding their expected relevance, based on their scores regarding six prototypical metrics. Through applying logistic regression, cluster analysis, and manual coding of survey answers, we obtained detailed data on how prominent metrics for research impact influence our participants in decisions about which scientific articles to read. Survey answers revealed a combination of qualitative and quantitative characteristics that researchers consult when selecting literature, while regression analysis showed that among quantitative metrics, citation counts tend to be of highest concern, followed by Journal Impact Factors. Our results suggest a comparatively favorable view of many researchers on bibliometrics and widespread skepticism toward altmetrics. The findings underline the importance of equipping researchers with solid knowledge about specific metrics’ limitations, as they seem to play significant roles in researchers’ everyday relevance assessments.

 

“It’s hard to explain why this is taking so long” – scilog

When it comes into force at the beginning of 2021, the Open Access initiative “Plan S” is poised to help opening up and improving academic publishing. Ulrich Pöschl, a chemist and Open Access advocate of the first hour, explains why free access to research results is important and how an up-to-date academic publishing system can work.

PBJ ranks higher, enhances diversity and offers free global access – Daniell – 2021 – Plant Biotechnology Journal – Wiley Online Library

“Since I started as the Editor?in?Chief in 2012, submission of manuscripts has almost tripled, despite transition to an open access journal a few years ago. Despite COVID?19, the number of submissions to PBJ [Plant Biotechnology Journal] continued to increase in 2020….”