Peer-review revisited. The last journals’ scandals effect

Peer-review revisited. The last journals’ scandals effectLately there have been some scandals regarding some low quality academic publications or fraud involving several journals, an issue that is not new and that is affecting the current model of journals and peer-review system. So much so that The Economist has written an interesting and intricate article on this subject (How science goes wrong), in which scolds the industry, coming to say that:

  1. Peer-review system is not enough to guarantee the quality of research
  2. It is important that research results can be replicated, and in many cases have not been made by tech firms, because data were allegedly manipulated.
  3. Also blames journals, which may be selecting the more sensational or interesting articles for their readers.

To solve this problem it raises fairly complex ideas, difficult to implement in practice from my point of view for all fields of knowledge, such as including a system of post-publication evaluation, or even registering the research protocols, so it can be monitored and trial data can be tested and inspected.

Currently, publish in journals is an elephant pregnancy, 22 months: once the draft research is ready, it must be passes to a paper format, with the following peers and co-authors revisions; then you have to choose the right journal; adjust the paper to its specific format and translate  it to the proper language, if necessary; then you have to send it to the journal, which usually have up to 90% of rejections, and take up to a year to be re-reviewed and eventually accepted.

Therefore, I think that complicate the process would be counterproductive, but I agree that something certainly should be done because this system gives rise to errors and fraud, which could lead to a slower advance of science and humanity.

As a researcher in finance, it comes to my mind the implementation of corporate governance practices but applied to academic journals and research (Journal Governance), which is somehow already being done. The prevailing logic would be that journal practices are aligned with each other, as well as with the academic environment in which they operate.

(It will continue.)

Advertisements

Journals that ask for money: poll conclusions

will you publish in journals with fees?

will you publish in journals with fees?

This poll was posted in January 2013 in different academic forums, 250 answers were collected and approximately 75 comments. The question was: will you publish in an indexed journal that charges you fees? And the results are: 39,60% Yes, 60,40% No.
poll results

Regarding the question in itself, it was a closed one, with no option to answer ‘it depends on’, because it would have been the preferred one.

My summary on the issue and your comments are:

1. Journals have no access to funds; they have a lot of expenses to make the journal attractive to authors, and that is why they ask for a fee.
2. Journal editors feel uncomfortable and somehow ashamed about this issue.
3. If the fee is reasonable, not higher than around 300 dollars, it is worthwhile the investment for the author, but only if the journal is well indexed and open access.
4. Authors are able to pay this amount if they share the fees with co-authors and they get some help from their university.

But…
1. Some authors from developing countries find 300 dollars out of their reach, even with co-authorship and university refund, if any. And this upset scholars in general because is pretty unfair and incompatible with open opportunities, and that this system is closing the doors to some knowledge to be disseminated.
2. Moreover, academics feel uneasy with all this issue, they do not understand that some journals owners earn a profit and they do not pay for content or peer review. It is like they were taking advantage of the necessity of scholars to publish in indexed journals, and again, is unfair.
3. May be the ethics of some journals/publishers are questionable but I think that the model itself is beneficial for the industry. The challenge is about the knowledge (innovative, reliable, reputable, biased, ethical, etc.) not about who pays for it or its dissemination.

Charging fees to authors is an uncomfortable necessity for journals, which work because is based on the obligation for scholars to publish in journals. Well, it makes sense as a business but, was it not all about knowledge and its dissemination? Who can improve this system? Governments? Market itself? Technology?…

Journals that ask for money. Is it so dishonest?

taxidriverWell…, let’s shake this publishing martini a little bit.

Let’s see the publishing industry as if authors/professors were the clients: we scholars/clients place our papers in journals to be recognized, to improve our CVs and to have our research disseminated.

Would you like to send a paper to a journal and have a response by the Editor within a couple of weeks?
Would you like to have your peer reviews 3 or 4 weeks later? (Is it too demanding?)
What about having an estimate of the publication date if you answer your review comments within a determined period of time?
What else would you ask for?
Wouldn’t you pay for all this? … No? … Come off it!

But, do you know any journal with a service like that?

  • I do, or at least a couple of them which comply with most of the above: journals (indexed in acceptable and recognized databases) where you pay.
  • The rest strive with their success (or themselves), their processes and reviewers. For example, I sent in a paper to low quartile JCR journal (WoK) that is still in the process a year after!

We all know that the client is the reader, or shouldn’t they be? Subscriptions are decreasing… and internet uprising…

  • Is the reader of scientific journals someone who reads every issue of them? Or is the real reader an academic who looks just for the articles of their interest? In any journal available?
  • How many journals university libraries (or we) have to subscribe to?

Another issue is the academic questions and quality this new system may arise: you pay-you publish? Which are usually resolved via citation indexing.

What do you think about paying for a (publishing) service? Or the problem is what others think of you doing it? Have you asked them?

%d bloggers like this: