Listening to journal editors: Dr.Max Haring from SpringerPlus

Dr. Max Haring is currently the executive editor for SpringerPlus, Springer’s first international peer-reviewed Open Access journal for research from all disciplines. Max has nearly 6 years of publishing experience as editor for books and international subscription journals in different areas of biomedicine, mainly microbiology, ageing and genetics. Before he joined Springer Science and Business Media, Max did his MSc at Wageningen University and his PhD in biochemistry at the University of Amsterdam, both in the Netherlands. Max lives in Amsterdam.

Max Haring

Gaudeamus: What characteristics should have a paper to be published in your journals?

Max Haring: SpringerPlus is open for research from all areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine, the Humanities and Social Sciences. For SpringerPlus a manuscript is never out of scope: if the science is sound, we will consider it for publication. Because of this all-inclusive scope, a manuscript will not be rejected because its topic does not match our profile: For SpringerPlus it is really only the scientific quality that counts. All submissions are handled by our interdisciplinary international board of academic editors and board members, and I am in the lucky position to be able to boast of our great team of expert researchers. These academics will handle peer-review for all manuscripts by finding field specialists to assess the quality, and using their expertise to reach a decision to accept or reject. SpringerPlus also has a message to our reviewers that is different from most journals: we ask our reviewers to look at the research facts presented in the manuscript: Are all technical and methodological aspects of the research correct and accurate, is the research original and do the conclusions match the findings? We ask our researchers not to judge on more subjective matters like how large the audience for a particular study is, what the impact of the study will be or if the study fits the journal. This approach allows us to make studies that are difficult to publish in traditional journals, such as interdisciplinary, descriptive or data-heavy papers, methodological improvements and short reports.

Gaudeamus: How is the average reader of your journals? What are they looking for?

Max Haring: We publish our download statistics online at http://www.springerplus.com/mostviewed so everyone can follow what’s happening, and I must admit I am surprised to see which articles are downloaded often. Currently the most accessed paper is one on brain damage after sports-related concussion, which may have some relevance for the general public, but in our list are also several articles on biological waste management, a few clinical care management studies and an improved method to measure the purity of gold samples – all very technical articles that I would not have considered to be of general interest, but still they are frequently downloaded. I believe these articles are the best example of how SpringerPlus works for authors to get their work published, read and used.

Gaudeamus: What is the role of indexation for journals in general? Do you feel any kind of pressure as Executive Editor about indexation?

Max Haring: Indexing is a crucial aspect of academic publishing, and being in the right indexes is essential for the success of any journal. Many authors make their decision to submit their next manuscript based on where a journal is indexed, because of professional preference or because their university or funder demands this. Having said that, we do see that the importance of indexes for literature searches lessens every year, they’re losing ground to search engines like Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search. In addition, the increased availability of Article Level Metrics (altmetrics) makes the quality stamp given by indexes less important. Readers and authors now have more tools to determine the quality of an individual article: after all, an article can be very good even when it is published in an average journal, and altmetrics can show scientific value independent of indexing or impact factor.

Gaudeamus: Open access is driving change in the publishing industry, how do you think is going to affect research and the measurement of its impact?

Max Haring: Historically the academic publishers provide researchers with a published version of record, a fixed point in the scientific literature for people to read and cite, and this has not changed much since the focus moved from print to online publications. Publishing in an online environment does bring new and exciting possibilities, and I believe open and unrestricted access to research is essential here. One of the least discussed aspects of Open Access (green and gold) is that reuse of the text and data is allowed: Open Access allows us to analyse and combine data now locked away in thousands of individual PDF files with limited accessibility. The specifics of this depends somewhat on the license (like CC-BY with or without NC), but scientists and companies are now free to access and process a huge and growing body of data and text, without barriers. I am confident that the availability of Open Access literature will encourage new developments, for instance by enabling text mining and semantics, for testing new algorithms and creating new clever ways to represent and access data. The availability of Open Access literature also has great benefits for researchers from low-income countries or at smaller institutes without subscription access and it is as strong driver for citizen science projects.

Gaudeamus: What are the main problems an Executive Editor of several international journals face?

Max Haring: Heading a truly interdisciplinary journal like SpringerPlus has some unique challenges of its own. For instance we have to meet the expectations and demands of authors from mathematics as well as philosophy and medicine, who all have different ideas on how an article should look. At the same time we have to make sure their work is published with high quality and as quickly as possible: our authors expect fast turn-around times.  I am however in the lucky position of being part of Springer, a large and experienced company with a long history in academic publishing, and it is very easy to get advice from my colleagues in publishing, marketing and production. At the same time I consider it a great privilege to be able to meet, correspond and discuss with researchers around the world and from all disciplines. Science is my passion and for me it is all about learning new things: I still get excited when clever researchers discovered something new and interesting; that can really make my day.

Gaudeamus: Finally, what advice would you give to scholars submitting papers to your journals?

Max Haring: Look carefully at the aims and scope, instructions for authors and editorial board before submitting, even before looking at metrics like the impact factor. Find the best match between a manuscript and a journal, because this means the manuscript will be handled by experts who give valuable feedback, and when published the article will reach the most relevant audience. Always look for journals that provide DOIs (digital object identifiers) and post alternative metrics, so you know what is happening, and always go for Open Access (green or gold). And don’t forget to do marketing for your papers after publication: send PDFs to colleagues, advertise your article at conferences and blog or tweet about your publication. All these efforts will bring readers first and citations later.

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Listening to international editors: Priyanka Gilani about journal management in India

priyankaPriyanka Gilani is the Managing Editor of Indian Journal of Marketing, Indian Journal of Finance, Prabandhan: Indian Journal of Management and Arthshastra: Indian Journal of Economics & Research, four double blind peer reviewed monthly journals.

An alumnus of the University of Delhi, Priyanka has proven to be a dedicated and skilled Managing Editor of four major business research journals. With more than six years of experience in Editorial Development, Editorial Project Management, Editorial Consulting, Editorial Production, Content Writing and Content Management, Priyanka has been successfully handling the myriad details required to produce the monthly editions of the four journals.

With a subscriber base that is unparalleled by any other Journal in India, they are the leading Journals of Business Management in India, with a pan-India presence and a discernible International subscriber and readership base.

Gaudeamus interview starts from the target, an average reader of these  journals… 

Priyanka Gilani:  Our target audience are: Professors/Lecturers/Academicians in various capacities and levels as well as Students/Research Scholars with research interests in Marketing, Finance, Management, and Economics; industry experts, Business Managers, Consultants, Policymakers and Practitioners of Marketing, Finance, Management, and Economics disciplines; also, our titles are widely referred for classroom discussion across India. 

G: How difficult is to find content to satisfy your readers? And what do you do to find it?

PG: Since we have been in this field since the last four decades, and due to our sound Editorial Policies, we have a very healthy manuscript submission rate. Our titles have a wide audience and are quite popular; hence, our Journals are an obvious choice for academicians and scholars associated with the field of Business Management. Over the years, we have painstakingly established, cultivated, and maintained a good reputation that has been vital in attracting authors. Only 15% of the manuscripts submitted to our titles are accepted for publication. In order to satisfy our readers, we publish insightful research of the highest quality, and the subject scope reflects and keeps pace with the evolving research activities in the 21st century.

G: What characteristics should have a paper to be published in your journals?

PG: Besides being well written research, a paper should:

  • Make a contribution to the subject area;
  • Match with the scope of the Journal in terms of significance and relevance of the topic;
  • Be original;
  • Have a well-defined set of objectives;
  • Have a sound methodological approach and conceptual rigor;
  • Have strong evidence (empirical data, case study, tested models, etc.);
  • Have clear presentation of results and discussion;
  • Have a useful set of conclusion, suggestions, and research implications;
  • Have quality references ( both in-text and cited references).

G: What is the role of indexation for journals in general? Do you feel any kind of pressure as Managing Editor about indexation?

PG: Indexing of Journals is of paramount importance as most of the authors choose to publish in a Journal only after seeing where the Journal is indexed/abstracted as they get extra credits for a paper published in an indexed Journal. For various databases, the decision to include a Journal is based on several factors – the most important being Scientific Quality, Editorial Value, Technical Quality, International Availability, and Regularity with which a Journal is published. Furthermore, receiving a rating from a ranking system further cements the position of a Journal as this system provides a multi-parameter analysis of scientific output, research potential, and is an evaluation of a Journal’s quality.

Indian Journal of Marketing, Indian Journal of Finance, Prabandhan : Indian Journal of Management are indexed in the Cabell’s Directory of Publishing Opportunities, USA; Ulrich’s International Periodicals Directory, USA; Index Copernicus Journals Master List, Index Copernicus International, Poland;  Indian Science Abstracts (ISA-NISCAIR), Journal of Economic Literature (JEL), USA ; and EconLit, USA.

Recently, Indian Journal of Marketing and Indian Journal of Finance have been accepted for inclusion in Elsevier’s SciVerse Scopus after undergoing a rigorous evaluation procedure. I think Scopus covers just one title of Business Management from India, and we are extremely proud to have made it to the list. In addition, our titles have been awarded the NAAS Rating by National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, which is a Government of India institution. So, yes, in India, Indexing is very important for a Journal. Having said this, I feel that search engines like Google Scholar with the Google Scholar Metrics will give tough competition to indexing databases in the future. 

G: What do you think are the main drivers of change in journal publishing in India?

PG: Research in Business Management is still at a nascent stage in India. Scholarly journals indexed in good databases, publishing pioneering research whose results can be fed into management practice and public policy making that is specific to Indian sub-cultures and markets will be the main drivers of change in Journal publishing in India. Social Media (Web 2) will offer the potential to enhance informal and scholarly communication. Most importantly, the policies of the Government of India will have a great impact on Journal publishing in India.

G: What are the main problems a Managing Editor of several international journals faces?

PG:  Running four peer-reviewed Journals has its own set of challenges. Producing monthly editions of our titles is indeed quite challenging as we have to work with extremely tight deadlines. We have to produce an Issue within the shortest possible time, without compromising on the quality of the content.  Since our titles are produced in the print form, we have to make sure that our titles are printed as per the schedule to be dispatched on time. In the midst of producing regular issues, I also have to serve as a liaison between the reviewers and the authors to evince high quality and timely reviews, and then communicate with the authors regarding the status of their submission. In addition, I correspond with authors regarding my suggestions to improve a paper, suggest changes as per our editorial requirements, respond to routine correspondence and inquiries related to our titles, and contribute to Editorial meetings. I have a jam-packed schedule, but I truly enjoy my work as each day is a learning experience.

G: Finally, what advice would you give to scholars when submitting papers to your journals?

PG: The authors should read the Guidelines for Authors carefully regarding the instructions pertaining to manuscript specifications, style guide, and the formalities associated with submission and publication of a paper. Ensure that citations are complete in all respects (both in-text and cited references). Don’t make multiple submissions of the same paper. Since all communication is through email, please check your email regularly, and in case of any queries regarding a paper, a submission, or anything regarding the Journal, get in touch with the editor directly to clarify the queries rather than harbouring pre-conceived notions. After publication, include your papers in Google Scholar to publicize your paper and also to increase citations.

The seven habits of highly effective researchers (for publishing in journals)

The seven habits of highly effective researchers I wished I had written this book by Stephen Covey that I’m now paraphrasing, but you know my limitations, I’ll have to put up with using some others ideas. Though this time I’ve got something pretty amusing, I think: a different approach to the hard work of publishing in academic journals, on how to being highly effective by aligning to the following simple principles:

ENDURANCE

1. Just do it

Be proactive with your research and papers,take the lead if possible of the research projects you’re involved, and especially of the manuscripts. If you have a PhD, you are able to lead it (at your level). If you trust your publications in others, they never will do well, there will always be excuses. Take the helm or your papers never will be published.

2. Be unreasonably aspirational

Set the type of journals that you want/need to publish in and go for them. Know your limitations and plan where you want to get. Look what journals are looking for, what kind of research is needed, who their editors are, etc.

3. Cultivate your publishing pipeline

The important thing is doing good research (data driven), but don’t forget the publishing pipeline, as you need to have projects and manuscripts at all stages of the process: researching, writing, and publishing in journals.

4. Be patient, be changing

This is the most difficult/soft habit, you have no choice but to live with the timing of publication of papers and with your other academic obligations. Take a look back and see what you’ve got, keep it or start changing it if you don’t like it, coming out smoothly of your comfort area.

NETWORKING

5. Put your peers and editors first

On your own you are going nowhere in this publishing game. Don’t be selfish, in spite of habit 1. Give more of what you get, don’t do balance of who wins if you win something by publishing. Collaborate with other researchers, try to understand managing editors, help them being peer-reviewer or editor yourself.

6. Follow the academic networks

Get out there, expose yourself to the world, and let others know your work and publications. Think also in the transfer of knowledge and build your personal brand. Force yourself to use the academic networks participating in discussions of your field of knowledge, writing blogs, or using the internet tools for researchers. Even if you think it’s worthless, it’ll improve your skills and brand in the medium term.

RESULTS

7. Be obsessed with the student

You’re primarily a professor/educator, don’t forget it, don’t forget the classroom.  Research and publications aren’t everything. This is a struggle to find the balance between education, research and transfer of results that will make you even a better teacher.

 

Adding value in academia: The vision of a newborn Ukrainian journal

Adding value in academia: The vision of a newborn Ukrainian journalVladyslav Dombrovskyi graduated in Banking and had been teaching Micro- and Macroeconomics for many years, till he made a decision to change his career path and transform his lifelong hobby and passion for computers and computer networks into his profession. In 2010, Vladyslav switched to applied computer science and became an associate professor at the Department of Economic Cybernetics (Ukrainian Academy of Banking). The next three years were life changing for him. He tried a new capacity of a team-mentor in Microsoft Imagine Cup competition and also led several software development projects. At the moment, Vladyslav is a managing editor of the Information Technology and Economics journal, a new international journal established in 2014, which focuses on the intersection of IT, Business and Economics.

Gaudeamus. Why have you decided to set up a new academic journal?

Vladyslav Dombrovskyi. Our decision was based on three I-s: Idea, Inspiration and Interest.

It came as a surprise to discover that there were just a few interdisciplinary journals in the area. That is when and why the idea of a new journal was born. This initial idea grew into a bigger-scale one about the necessity to create a bridge, which could unite not only IT, Business and Economics, but people as well – namely, scholars and experts from all over the world.

We also had an inspired and inspiring team with diversified backgrounds, expertise and qualifications – this component surely added to the decision of launching such kind of a project.

Last but not least, it was the interest in IT as a driving force for modern economic and business development.

G. Which is the focus of the journal?

VD. The focus of the journal pursues two main directions: Application of IT in Business and Economics, and Economics of high-technology industries. At present, information technology changes rapidly and penetrates every sphere of our life, giving great opportunities to create a better future for everyone.

G. What do you think you are offering to the scientific community with your new journal?

VD. We believe our journal can offer several things. First of all, it is a unique interdisciplinary journal. We could find no more than 5 journals with similar thematic focus, aims and scope. Secondly, we provide a platform for discussing new ideas in the extremely up-to-date areas. What we really value is originality and novelty of those ideas. Finally, we offer participation in e-publishing experiments. We are not limited by the traditional model of publishing.  However, we are not going to immediately rush into the experiments – we are well aware of the fact that before you improve something, you need to learn and understand well how this process is organized traditionally.

G. What are the major difficulties you’re encountering in this initial phase?

VD. Right now, our main obstacle is forming the Editorial Board and finding a proper candidate for the Editor-in-chief position. Even though the idea of the journal looks interesting and topic is definitely relevant for the modern world, we still have to be very convincing to persuade people to join us. Nowadays academics do not have a lot of free time, which they can spend on participation in additional projects. Anyway, we have to refuse candidates who would like to join the Editorial Board if they do not meet our criteria.

G. What kind of papers and authors are you looking for the journal? And why should authors publish there?

VD. We are primarily interested in interdisciplinary researches on the intersection of IT, Business and Economics.  Nowadays there are millions of young people who have grown up with IT in their blood, and they go into traditional businesses and reinvent them. We are facing the emergence of a completely new economy, in which some industries can disappear while others are likely to be dramatically transformed. Let’s take, for example, Bitcoin. It clearly shows the possibility of paying for purchases or sending money without banks or any other intermediaries. So far this technology is a great controversy, but it can completely reshape financial markets. How? We have to think.

As for the authors, we would like to see papers from researchers with a deep understanding of Information Technology and its capabilities, who are not afraid of putting forward new bold ideas and discussing them. The pace of IT development is so high that economists often do not imagine the full extent of all the opportunities offered by the use of new technologies. At the same time, even the most advanced and useful technology is sooner or later confronted with the market and the laws of economics. We see our potential authors as part of a team, which wants to create a better future with the help of modern IT.

Why should they choose us? We offer not simply a publication in the journal – we strive to attract people who are eager to participate in the project, in the experiment. Write for our blog, share your ideas, discuss them, come up with a new initiative. Let’s dream together. Let’s put forward ideas and test them. We want to create a community around the journal that would help academics and practitioners with finding partners for joint researches. Moreover, we do not charge fees for publishing papers in our journal, as we strongly believe that selection should be based on professionalism and quality of a research and our project should be accessible for every worthy author.

At the same time, we are not going to go too far with the experiments. The journal is refereed and it will be abstracted and indexed by main academic databases and search engines as soon as the volume of content and other criteria are met.

G. Starting a new business in the academic world from Ukraine, do you think is an advantage or a disadvantage? Do you receive some kind of support from the state?

VD. First of all, what we are doing can be called business only in the sense that our goal is to create value for the academic community. The profit is a bad goal for such projects, but a good benchmark for confirming whether what you are doing is necessary for society or not. We believe that any good project should be financially self-sustaining. This ensures its long life.

Starting any new project in present-day Ukraine is challenging. There is a high level of uncertainty about the future due to the current situation. Ukrainians went through a revolution, where we proved our right to freedom, our right to be heard and our right to have a democratic country that values its citizens. Now our country is facing the transformation period, which is always a difficult time for everyone.

On the whole, we are perceived positively by the researches and they are ready to work with the scientific journal from the Eastern Europe, because they are mainly concerned about the quality. So we are now focused on forming a strong Editorial Board to ensure a smooth and transparent reviewing process.

Speaking about support – unfortunately, there are no governmental programs in this area at the moment, so we rely on friends, our supporters and ourselves. However, with the current transformation processes in Ukraine we hope for possible cooperation from the state – that is not likely to happen due to many other priorities that government should take care of, but we never stop hoping for better.

Join us in our journey (www.prostoscience.org). And you will see, it will be interesting.

What are scholarly journals doing to attract authors and papers?

What are scholarly journals doing to attract authors and papersBasically what scholarly journals do to maximize exposure and find content (authors and papers) is indexing them in data bases and directories, whether they are recognized journals, or new and open access.

  • The difference will be on the relevance of the database, because if they are indexed in Journal Citation Reports (Thomson Reuters) they have already virtually assured a minimum content, but they should continue fighting for the journal quality and improvement in the medium term.
  • For maximizing exposure of your open access journals I’ve found the following less common abstracting and indexing services that they may be of interest: Google Scholar, Ulrich’s Web, JURN, CrossRef, Open J-gate, or ticTocs Journal Table of Contents, among many hundreds others.

For the better or worse this is so because it’s what authors are seeking; for example my journal search process is as follows:

  1. As I look for the best journal for my manuscript, I seek first those who publish articles similar to mine, and I get them mainly from the literature review.
  2. I usually also save the e-mails from the editors that have directly approached me to publish in their journals, so I have a look at them.
  3. After that I review the ones within the first quartile at Journal Citation Reports impact factor ranking.
  4. And finally, I try to find a common ground with their editors or someone who knows their editorial policy and can give me feedback about them, what articles are looking for or even if my paper could fit there.

At a second level, although it’s also important, is to create a database of authors, scientists and professors of the journal specialty field, either searching directly for them when they publish in other journals, or using their database of subscribers/readers.

Finally there is the Internet and social networks, creating their own pages for being followed by scientists, but I think it is still to be developed. Some journals make their call for papers in their own portals and even in specialized websites; undoubtedly it’ll be part of the future.

  • And how about the idea of ​​an academic network for publishing in journals? Where authors and editors could interact and publish their articles, such as Gaudeamus?

So, in short, to find authors and content journals should be well indexed in quality directories and work the social networks for potential new authors. After that it would only remain selecting the right papers among dozens, making use of the more or less automatized internal processes, particularly peer-review. Almost nothing!

 

Journal Citation Reports: Sources of its power in scholarly publishing

Journal Citation Reports: Sources of its power in scholarly publishingWhy Journal Citation Reports (Thomson Reuters) has much influence in the academic publishing world? So much that it’s almost the only directory that is taken into account to evaluate the quality excellence of research or publications, except for a few fields of knowledge such as engineering, as far as I know.

And I find the sources of its power in its way to compete in the scholarly publishing market, and in quality of its service/product:

1. There is a clear need for directories and rankings of journals that provide us professors and scientists information about the relevance of publishing here our research, and Journal Citation Reports  (JCR) does it better than others.

  • JCR not only gives information about the influence and impact of scholarly research journals, but does so in an objective manner with citation data at subject category levels; although with its obvious limitations (most of their journals are in English and from Anglo-Saxon countries; citations are obtained only from its own indexed journals; and so on) as any other model or system.
  • Its star metric, Impact Factor, is a staple in the market, which now begins to be copied by other directories that nobody trust.
  • It gives us the information annually in a systematic manner. Other assessments by industry associations or institutions are made periodically, such as for example the prestigious Academic Journal Quality Guide Version 4 (The Association of Business Schools), but dates back to 2010.
  • Its access and use of the index is easy and online. I do it through my University portal, from home or where I need it.

2. Rigorous selection process of the journals listed in JCR

  • Journals are only accepted in the directory if they meet minimum quality standards, such as blind peer-review of manuscripts, an international editorial board, or a few years publishing volumes/issues without interruption, among others. This is in theory, because that sounds like a system of quality assurance, a kind of ISO accreditation.

3. Business model and the way to compete in the market

  • Although JCR belongs to a private company, which is logical because a public one won’t do it, it’s not edited by a publishing house, such as in the case of Scopus (Elsevier), but by an information and data company (Thomson Reuters), which makes JCR independent to some extent from the journals that it lists.
  • Most of its clients are organizations (universities, libraries and research centers), I guess, which give JCR a quick access to those scientific communities.
  • JCR does not compete on its own, the group Thomson Reuters provides many more services to scientists and academic institutions.

JCR has also been subject of much criticism, being its power the most important one. Proof of this are the popular initiatives that are being created around it, as repositories of articles or the Open Access movement. For example, it annoys me greatly that there is much pressure to publish not only in JCR listed journals, but that is required to do so in the first 2 quartiles of its impact factor ranking. I guess this is not an issue of JCR, but of ourselves scientists and scholars, and especially of the journals indexed there, who are literally besieged by authors and their papers.

Regardless whether good or bad that much power and influence to a single private company in the market for innovative ideas, JCR provides great value that can go also in favor of increasing the competition between scientists and so improving the quality of their research, but many think that it goes against the advancement of knowledge in general, do not you think?

Publishing research in non-indexed journals

Publishing research in non-indexed journalsI wonder if publishing research in non-indexed journals makes sense, for there are proliferating lately scientific journals not indexed in any database or directory, and I guess that what lies behind are the following reasons:

  1. The scholarly publishing system is in process of change and evolution to a new model based in Internet and open access.
  2. Because of the current ease to set up an academic journal on the Internet, given the available of platforms such as Open Journal Systems (Public Knowledge Project), which already come prepared with the submission and peer-review process, archive of volumes, pipeline publication management, guidelines, etc..
  3. Now it’s possible accessing to researchers in the social networks for content in the chosen field of expertise, and for responsive peer-reviewers.
  4. The obligation and desperately need to publish for professors worldwide are growing.
  5. There is an (hypothetical) opportunity to earn some money.

But mostly I wonder why scientists may be interested in publishing their papers in journals without indexation, and by extension in academic journals that don’t have a good reader base, renowned quality processes, or a website well designed on academic SEO as for papers to be found at search engines like Google.

I can just explain publishing there as a favor to the journal editor, or if the manuscripts that we want to publish are based on not publishable research in other journals, always on the condition that they will be published in open access and that the editing time is simple and fast. But for that matter, wouldn’t it be better to publish a PDF and upload them in repositories such SSRN? I guess that those articles wouldn’t look good in the curriculum without the tagline ‘International Journal’ following the article…

The positive thing is that sure some of these journals will do well and survive, and even go indexing in relevant directories such as Scopus (Elsevier), Ebsco, DOAJ, or even ISI Web of Knowledge / Web of Science (Thomson Reuters).

What do you think?? Would you publish your research in non- indexed journals?

I’m not stupid when publishing in journals

I’m not stupid when publishing in journalsLast week I gave a lecture (Professors and their publications. War techniques in the web 3.0 environment) in a private university on scientific publications within a seminar series on research. Though this is not the purpose of this post but one of the interesting topics discussed or that raised interest.

It was the attitude of the most senior or more experienced professors towards everything that had to do with the requirement of academic publications: they were quite critical of the current system of publications in indexed journals in assessing the quality of research, and by extension of academic accreditations and their impact on teaching skills.

But by now you know my position about the demands of publications for professors and scientists, which can be summarized in the Media Markt slogan “I’m not stupid”, but referring to publish in academic journals and to improve the research part of the curriculum:

  • What is important is the research activity, so to improve as a professor; but of course you can be a good teacher without having a PhD or publishing your research in journals, although it’s more difficult.
  • The quality of scientific research is currently assessed almost exclusively by the publication record in academic journals.
  • This system of publications in indexed journals (mainly in ISI Web of Knowledge and Scopus) is the one we have, which is pretty good by the way, you just have to know it a little, without obsessing.
  • You also have to know how editors and journals work, their needs and objectives.
  • Finally, social networks used wisely can also help to improve the chances of publishing in journals and that our papers are known, and then obtain citations.

The other related topic was h-index, which I don’t even remember most of it because nobody seems to demand it at my university or in the academic job posts that I see on the web, and that I will write about soon, not so much on how it’s calculated which is well-known, but on who calculates it or how I can get it, and about its advantages and disadvantages for professors as an alternative for assessing the quality of our research and prestige.

And what about your academic career? Do you care about your research activity?

The lost war on journal’s papers and open access

the lost war on journal's papers and open accessElsevier, the publishing house, is requesting scientific social-networking sites, and directly to authors, to remove the papers posted online without their permission (The Economist, 2014).

  • When an article is published, some in principle logical copyright is transferred to the academic journals, as they have some editorial costs, and also often provide a powerful and quality platform (the electronic journal webpage), well positioned for SEO in search engines like Google. In other words, they usually provide an interesting service for the international scientific community, but of course at a cost.

The need for access to scientific literature or knowledge in an open and easy way is behind this problem, of course, as the good feeling to challenge the growing power of the powerful publishing corporations; but I feel that the unstoppable force that moves desperately researchers and authors to disclose their papers is the growing obsession with citations and the metrics associated:

  1. On the one hand, universities and accrediting agencies require professors to publish in journals indexed in specific databases, as ISI Web of Knowledge / Web of Science (Thomson Reuters), Scopus (Elsevier) or EBSCO.
  2. But there is an increasing pressure on citations from our articles as a measuring metric of the impact and quality of our research. This leads us to disclose our papers to be found in the Internet, either through working papers in repositories, or hanging the articles or abstracts directly in social and academic networks.

However, this ‘lost’ war (for publishing houses) on journal’s papers and open access shows a certain lack of knowledge by scientists of how SEO and search engines work, since a paper or article is much more easily found for example in Google if it is published in a platform / journal of these corporations than if it’s posted in a repository or in the social networks.

Then, of course, there are other related or derived connotations, such as academic networking: if a researcher or peer asks us a copy of our last article, do we refuse it when is probably a potential and valuable citation?

Finally, the solution to publish an earlier version of the article in open access, not the article itself, sounds a little sloppy. Anyway, I can’t think of disclosing an article that has been published and has publisher’s copyright, because I value my relationship with the editors of journals, it would be like betraying them, don’t you think?

Selecting the right journal for my recent academic article

Selecting the right journal for my recent academic articleI’m finishing an article for its publication, now I’m writing the last touches before submitting it to publish, so it already has all the ingredients required to be acceptable: introduction, thesis and problem statement, topic relevance, literature review, data analysis, findings, implications and conclusions; that is the hard part.

Now we have to select the right academic journal (the soft part) for our article. Since the research and methodology have good bases, and the results are interesting, we plan to send it first to a journal indexed in JCRJournal Citations Reports (Web or Knowledge), quartiles Q1 or Q2.

  • We’ve identified, during the literature review, the scientific journals that publish research on our field of knowledge; we obtained about 8/10 journals.
  • Then I reviewed the database Journal Citations Reports (JCR) to see their impact and quartile. There were about 4 or 5 high quartile journals in the selection.
    • Now I need to check in Gaudeamus, the network for publishing in academic journals, if there is a journal of our preference, and I’ll contact the editor to introduce him my paper to see if it fits there. I’ve already done it successfully a couple of times, before or after the previous point of identifying indexed journals.
    • If the journal is listed in Gaudeamus, it means that the editor is open and available to contact authors, and then it’s much easier than sending the papers directly to a cold e-mail using other databases or directories.

After that, we’ll investigate the few 3/4 remaining journals for adapting the paper to their style and preferences, getting to know the underside of them, as their editorial board, their owners or quality criteria. The most important thing is to find the journal that is looking for the kind of research and manuscript that we have written; this way we’d avoid sending our article to several journals, wasting our time and morale.

We’ll submit it first to 2 or 3 JCR Q1/Q2 journals, and see what kind of feedback we’re getting; if we have no success with them we’ll go for JCR Q3/Q4, Scopus or EBSCO journals. And we shouldn’t take rejections as a failure, you always get information to improve the paper or to better target ‘your’ journal.

What do you think of our approach? Do you do the same when selecting a journal?

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