Traditional vs Alternative means of dissemination in academia. Poll results

There are many pressures for change regarding the dissemination of research, such as the current Web 3.0. technology environment in education, open access journals/repositories and the consolidation of citation metrics tools.

Professors and researchers shared with us their vision about the future of publishing, voting in the poll.

Traditional vs Alternative means of dissemination in academia. Poll results

Indexed journals have been adding high value to all academic stakeholders, and they will be.

Traditional vs Alternative means of dissemination in academia. Poll results

In general, it could be seen in the results a balance between the traditional (48%) and the alternative (52%) means of dissemination in academia, but there are other conclusions quite interesting:

  1.  “Open access journals/directories with peer review” was the preferred mean of dissemination, with 29% of the votes; it makes sense due to the expectation that citation rankings are creating.
  2. Both added, “Indexed journals” + “impact factor”, would be the most voted (39%); the current journal system still prevails.
  3. “Repositories with peer review” + “number of downloads”, were voted by 21% of respondents, opening an interesting way to new alternatives for the dissemination of scientific knowledge in academia.

Traditional vs Alternative

Professors are rational people with common sense, we understand that change is needed in the system, but little by little, as it is working reasonably well. It’s like we will be waiting to see how those changes develop and how journals and publishing houses respond to them. Sure they do well.

* The poll was posted in June 2013 in many academic discussion groups. Around 900 answers were collected. 

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The class struggle in academia. A manifesto

classwar1To scholars of all lands and fields of knowledge:

Journals are threatened by open access, free citation metrics and web 3.0.

Publishing houses, universities and governments are uniting in a holy alliance intended to exorcise this changes, trying to reinforce the current indexing journal system.

It is high time that scholars should openly, in the face of the whole world, share their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this challenges with a manifesto.

Researchers and Professors

The history of research quality assessment is the history of scholarly struggles.

In academia, the working class –researchers and professors– are fighting in the class struggle against the owners of the means of production in academia, the journals, and that the current class struggle could end either with revolution that restructure the system, or common ruin of the contending scholarly classes. 

Journals Vs. Professors

There is a hidden civil war between scholars: researchers/professors against editors of journals.

Editors have the power to publish, the power to make us professors progress in our careers.

The accumulation of power in journal hands, the formation of first class indexed publications, and the competition amongst the academics creates pressure on our daily lives.

Position of Academics in Relation to the Scholarly Civil War

We are just professors and researchers who want to publish in journals to improve as academics and find tenure.

We do not hate journal editors, we are not afraid of you. We don’t even know you.

We wish you no harm. On the contrary, we want to be your friends and make your editor life easier.

We love journals. We need to understand you.

To all professors/researchers who feel the same, share this message and help it reach journal editors.

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Back to basics: The roll of journal indexes

I wonder about the contribution of journal indexes / databases to the assessment of research quality.

Lately, and against what would be logical given the major changes being experienced by the publishing industry, professors are increasingly required to publish in journals indexed in Journal Citation Reports (JCR), both statewide for accreditation as at universities, especially in private ones.

journals

If indexes and impact indicators were a kind of accreditation on the quality of journals’ processes, particularly on peer review quality and editorial board, I would understand all this alarm about publishing in first class reputable indexes. But apparently not:

  • Being in JCR, journals have to demonstrate to be a regular publication, printed in English, have an international editorial board and other requirements that have little to do with the quality of the papers within.
  • Having a journal indexed in Scopus and other known ones, it is enough to filling out a form giving them permission to use the journal data.
  • Following the same line, other similar indexes (generalists, regional or specialists), only require an application form to be filled.

So, what are the main sources of prestige for a journal? I pointed just a few:

  • Large base of readers.
  • Quality of authors and papers.
  • Sound peer reviewer processes, with good reviewers and feedback.
  • Good Editorial board and clear editorial line, objectives, etc.

If that is somehow true, then, what makes the difference with un-indexed peer review journals? I have not it very clear, it looks like a kind of complex corporate governance system for journals: different publishing stakeholders (indexes, journals, professors, researchers, universities, departments, accreditation bodies, governments, readers, peer reviewers, editors, journal owners, etc.) taking care of research prestige and reputation.

Many voices in academia call for a change, but, is there a better system than journal indexes and impact indicators to assess quality of research?

POLL: The future of research quality assessment

The main drivers of change regarding the assessment of research quality and its dissemination are the current Web 3.0. technology environment in education, open access journals/repositories and the consolidation of citation metrics tools.

Indexed journals have been adding high value to all academic stakeholders: professor, researchers, publishers, editors, professionals, universities, faculties and libraries; but has arrived the time for journals to change?

journal burning

Shape the future of publishing voting in the poll. Share with us your vision.

Key factors when selecting a journal: poll results

reasons

Choosing the right journal where to send our paper is critical to avoid delays and have our paper publish where we want to, for example: in an indexed one, open access, without fees to authors and from the USA.

I anticipated two kinds of reasons (objective and subjective ones), believing that it was going to have a balance response, but the objective factors had more weight in the poll. I found intriguing two of the responses:

1.- The most popular reason is “Research published on your field is there”, even slightly above “Impact Factor”.

2.- “Fee to authors” is the less valued factor when deciding where to publish.

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Soft is hard and hard is soft also for publishing in journals

My opinion about the results is that academics still place great importance into the objective (or hard) criteria: It is what most of the academics make when publishing, accessible to all, becoming this way the easy (or soft) part of the process, though not the successful one.

Instead, what is a priori the soft part, it is really the difficult (or hard) one, which is to learn from the experience with journals and using this information for future publications, networking with editors, adapting to their style and preferences, getting to know the underside of the journals, as its editorial board, its owner, quality criteria, etc… Do you use your soft skills to publish in journals?

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* The poll was posted in April 2013 in many academic discussion groups. Around 1000 answers were collected.

Tomorrow belongs to cites

openaccess Over the last decades, journal rankings moved from something only a few librarians cared about to something that is now critical to the future of professors and researchers. The same thing could happen to the individual citation metrics.

  • Internet and open access movement is urging academia to reconsider the current model of research assessment, journal rankings and each of the phases of the publishing process, such as the private citation system, the growing role of repositories, the subscription and payment model , and even the peer review and impact indicators.
  • Assessment of quality of research activity is needed, either of the journal, or research activity of department or individual, no one doubts it, the problem is what type; the ideal would be all of them. Some countries do this, they rate individual academics by levels, for example in UK (REF), Australia (EIA) or Spain (ANECA), having into account many more things, such as teaching assignments, research centers or stays in international universities.
  • We have now journal rankings, but it will probably have less relevance in the future with open access, though it could be more necessary in the short term due to the initial confusion with the evaluation of research quality. If the move is to individual cites, and its calculations are improved, for example with a bias corrector by field of knowledge and years of experience, why the need of journal rankings and impact factors?, one could go directly to estimate individual cites and see the quality and prestige of the researcher, are there anything more real and tangible than cites?

This brings me again to the old question ever, publish/cited or perished? That is, the pressure to profs. I wonder if the same assessments could be made to other professionals, such as judges, politicians or even bankers. Don’t you think so?

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.

Poll: reasons when selecting a journal to submit a paper

dudando

Choosing the journal where to send our paper is critical for two main reasons:

  • Objective factors. The main thing is that it fits in our publication strategy: indexed, with impact factor, peer reviewed, open access, among other criteria.
  • Subjective factors. Then, and not the least, we have to find the journal that is looking for the kind of research and manuscript that we have written. This way we could avoid sending our paper to multiple journals, wasting our time and morale.

Q&A. The peer-review process from inside a journal

Paulo Cesar Chagas Rodrigues

Paulo Cesar Chagas Rodrigues

Paulo Cesar Chagas Rodrigues, Bachelor in Management, Master in Production Engineering and pursuing PhD in Mechanical Engineering. From 2008 to 2012 was a member of the organizing committee of the National Production Engineering (ENEGEP). From 2008 to 2010 was a member of the organization committee the International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management (ICIEOM) and National Meeting of Coordinators of Production Engineering (ENCEP). From 2008 to 2011 published five book chapters in Hamburg International Conference of Logistics (HICL). From 1989 to 2004 he worked as an analyst for computer support, providing services to companies such as HP, Compaq and IBM. From 2008 to 2011 was a professor of Business Administration courses and Sugarcane Production Technologist at Sacred Universidade do Sagrado Coração (USC) in Bauru, SP, Brazil. Since 2011 he has been exclusively dedicated to teaching in technical courses in Agribusiness and Events, at the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of São Paulo (IFSP). In 2010 he started the project of the scientific journal Independent Journal of Production & Management, which seeks to dedicate his free moments for the management and dissemination of the Journal.

The IJM&P is a journal for unpublished works related to Administration and Engineering of Production and Mechanics and Economics as well as works that present results of studies and researches about the activities of Science and Technology Information. The Journal is published on a semester-by-semester basis in June and December and is Indexed in several databases.

Gaudeamus: Peer review is a standard requirement for a journal. Do you foresee any changes in the future about this quality system?

Paulo Cesar Chagas: Yes. It is a standard to have a journal peer review. We do not intend to change this pattern, it is a way to try to get an unbiased review about the work we are subjected, and enable us to curb potential abuse cases. For example, a reviewer who does not like a given researcher say that his/her work is bad or to be sympathetic to say that the work is excellent.

G: What are the main challenges an Editor faces regarding peer review?

PCC: Nowadays I see as a major challenge in peer review: (a) The commitment of some of the reviewers regarding the pre-determined deadlines, which are informed when sending the invitation. (b) Not to overload reviewers with too much work because it means having reviews with a low standard of quality. (c) Monitor and analyze the discrepancies in the evaluation, etc.

G: How do journals find good peer reviewers for your journal?

PCC: While searching good reviewers we try to make invitations to researchers who have an affinity for the areas that the journal intends to act and who: (a) Are linked to postgraduate programs. (b) Reviewers mainly from international congresses. (c) Authors who have at least a master’s degree and who are or wish to attend the PhD and have published interesting papers in international journals and conferences. (d) Through the contact network we created, for example, the group created in Gaudeamus or Linkedin. (e) Other reviewers of journals that we eventually have contact. But we also tried to assess the level of commitment of the reviewer regarding deadlines for review, the contributions they make to the articles they assess, because our goal is not only to publish many works, but works with quality and that contribute to the academy and society.

G: Does the perfect peer reviewer exist? How should she/he be?

PCC: In my opinion there is no perfect reviewer because we are human beings and therefore flawed. We can be affected by a number of variables, e.g. fatigue, stress, depression, overwork, family problems, financial and/or professional issues, etc.

Supposedly, publishers should worry about overwork, check if reviewers can assess, thank for the commitment to evaluate a particular article and meet deadlines.

G: Do you think that being a peer reviewer is important for a professor? Why?

PCC: It is certainly important because when a teacher will prepare your lesson or material support, (s)he cannot focus only on books, but also articles and opinions of others, so be participating as a reviewer and even as a researcher/author will help create more interesting lessons and current information, you can provide your students current examples.

I often tell my students: a good book may come up at bookstores and libraries with a delay of at least 2 years of the start of the research that generated it, due to adjustments and corrections. Like an article, a book must go through the evaluation and the rating of reviewers which can take months, not to mention the other phases.

G: Finally, what advice would you give to peer reviewers? (For example, how many articles to review a month or how much time dedicate to each review?, etc.)

PCC: Observe the policies of the journal regarding: (a) The deadlines for evaluation. (b) The amount of articles that will be submitted for evaluation by edition. (c) If the journal has affinity with their research area. (d) If the journal states the responsibilities of authors, (and) if you have a conflict of interest related to the policy. (e) If it presents the mission, vision and goal of the journal. (f) If it keeps an updated list of reviewers who evaluated the course articles over the years, etc.

But I also see that the prospective reviewers should bother to provide the greatest possible amount of information for the journal they are applying for, as an instance the area and method of research, and a brief professional biography.

Marketing your papers to make an impact: poll conclusions

Image

The poll was posted in March 2013 in many academic discussion groups. Around 650 answers were collected and many hot comments. The question was:  What do you do MOST to increase the probabilities of your papers to be cited? And the results are:

  • Include the papers in your website and social profiles                                28.0%
  • Publish in indexed and open access journals                                                25.4%
  • Distribute  research early as working papers or tech reports                     16.0%
  • Active selling (promote it on web discussions, blogs, etc.                          12.2%
  • Other activities                                                                                                         4.2%
  • I do nothing                                                                                                            10.0%
  • I do not believe in impact indicators                                                                   4.2%

I have two comments. The first one is about the activities undertaken by professors, that apart from those mentioned above, it has also been discussed some others:

  • Publish with other scholars could help to increase the impact of the article. Research suggests that an article with co-authors is more cited than articles with just one author.
  • Be really strategic about your abstract and your title. Put key words in your title that will make them more likely to be picked up by search engines.
  • Twiter. Here I would mention that active selling in general is a laborious task, it is not enough posting it once at each website or discussion, it should be done regularly and with originality to not be a pain in the neck.

The other comment is on the activity of marketing your articles itself, it has not been accepted as expected, since for example almost 15% of the professors do nothing or do not believe in this citation system; particularly among the publishing industry professionals, which have come to qualify this activity as “snake oil salesman”, although they should be delighted, because professors are willing to be involved in disseminating their publications.

My conclusion is that, although the main focus should be on research and writing good papers, of course, the current imperfect but vital citation system prompts us professors to take action and be active sellers of our publications. Who dares to suggest professors to do nothing? To be passive?

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