Self-citations, is it worth to work on them?

self-citations, is it worth doing them?Last week an article in The Economist (Promotion and Self-Promotion) treated the subject of self-citations in academia as common practice, but it did so to justify why women get less important academic positions than men in all fields of knowledge, because it looks like that female scientists cite less their own previous work when publish a paper their male peers.

    • Articles with all-male authors are more highly cited than papers with all-female ones, about 5 times, with an average of 25 citations per publication. And this is caused partly because male researchers self-cite more often.

Being cited is increasingly important, we don’t only need to publish in indexed journals with impact factor (citations of the journal), but it is also looked at the number of citations that our publications have. How far will this pressure go?

Thus, self-publishing is a way, at least in the short term, to increase citations, which arises a number of questions:

  1. In general, self-citations are seen as a form of self-promotion, and are therefore not well regarded, but, who are looking at the details of citations?
  2. If the article is written by several authors, is it self-citation? Is it less objectionable?
  3. Citations are dependent on many factors, such as your field of knowledge, the journal impact factor, the interest generated, etc… so, is it good enough the current citation metrics system?

The author of ‘Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus’, John Gray, holds a very interesting theory in his latest book (Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice): That women get to lower directive positions because they have less testosterone, that is, less ambition; that at some point in their careers they conform with what they have because of all the rest of activities that they have to do, as mothers, educators, housework, etc (as many men do, too). The truth is that this theory convinces me more than self-citations as a driver for promotion as professor.

Do you self-cite?  Or in other words, are you a male or female researcher?

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  • ‘Aimed at hungry professors, wanting to build a consistent int’l curriculum and experience, who look for approaching the publishing process in a smart and agile way’

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Giveaway dates: Sept 6 to Sept 22, 2013

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More information about this eBook.

Buy the eBook in amazon.com and look inside.

New eBook: ‘Publish in Journals 3.0’

With this new eBook ‘Publish in Journals 3.0: From Manuscript to Citations‘, my idea was to develop a useful model to help professors to publish in journals, since we live in a very demanding academic world, in an Internet web 3.0 environment, with information overload and many changes ahead.

New eBook: Publish in Journals 3.0This eBook is focused on how you can organize to effectively publish in journals, so it doesn’t replace the other books written on certain parts of the process, as writing an article. What I’ve tried to provide is a comprehensive but simple model, based on a spider web:

  1. The spider is the professor, who has to build his/her network and publications.
  2. The silk is the raw material of the papers; that is, the research.
  3. The elements of nature are Internet, Open Access, and Web tools 3.0; but also journals, editors, publishers, peer-reviewers, and many more.
  4. The prey of the web would be the citations from other academics.

The eBook, in principle, is directed to all fields of knowledge, so it’s a bit general, but I intend to continue writing more books on this intriguing subject. This is just the beginning.

Regarding the format, it’s only available as an electronic book because I bet on the Internet, the paperless world and on making it accessible to all professors and scientists, wherever they are. The initial selling price is less than $10, though Amazon then manages it as appropriate.

During the eBook promotion in this month of September, we are preparing a giveaway with the chance to win a few copies for free download, which we will communicate conveniently through this blog, GAUDEAMUS, and the social networks.

I’m also very interested to hear your opinion and suggestions about the eBook.

Many thanks and I hope you find it worth reading.

POLL: The current use of open access journals

POLL: the current use of open access journalsOpen access (OA) journals has been one of the main drivers of change in the academic publishing world in the last decades, and OA will still shape the future of assessment of research quality and scientific dissemination thanks to the Internet and Web 3.0 technology.

Behind this situation is the urgent demand of professors and researchers who need to publish in indexed journals (quality of research) but also expect their work to be accessible to a wider audience (citations), pressed by faculties and promotion.

And what are you doing with your papers? Are you using OA journals? What about fake or predatory journals/businesses? There are still some questions to be clarified. Please share with us your use as author of OA journals participating in the survey.

* OA: Open access

** It can be chosen 1 or 2 answers.

***Comments are highly encouraged.

How to get clients for your journal business

The aim of the post is to reflect on a particular point on the management of academic journals, which is the reader or clients for their journal business.

how to get clients for your journal business

For a journal there are at least three key types of stakeholders, which are interrelated: the readers, authors (content) and peer-reviewers.

  • By focusing on innovation and contribution to knowledge, journal publications are usually directed to a specialized audience. Therefore, very often the reader or target audience (the client), apart from professionals is usually also professors and researchers, which in turn are the authors and users of journal content.
  • The target of journals are usually much focused, which makes it easier for them to find readers, typically located in the faculties and in the authors of papers that are published continuously. But instead the reader’s habits are changing: who can be faithful to a single journal with the current flow of information on the internet on any subject and in many formats?

Moreover, for what I see in the social networks for academics, such as Academia, Researchgate or Mendeley, the world goes to the free access to the article, not to the journal. What the journals provide is to ensure the quality of the paper/research mainly with its peer-review evaluation process; but then the authors disclose them at their own way.

This leads us to wonder about the business model of journals, whether to charge the reader, lowering the target, or charge the author, which also limits access to quality content. But what really matters is if the journal model fits with the new environment of free and open access, and if the reader is somehow relevant or it is just the content.

My conclusion is that as a business, journals make no sense; they make sense as disseminating tools for a university department or professional association. Those who get make money are those serving around journals as hosting applications, journal indexes or directories, or even clusters of journals such as Elsevier and Wiley. A little sad, isn’t it?

Dept. Head at CalUMS: ‘We encourage our professors to publish in good journals’

Dept. Head at CALUMS - we encourage our professors to publish in good journalsMiguel A. Bustillos has over 25 years of combined business and healthcare experience. His current position is department head for all undergraduate studies programs at California University of Management & Sciences (CalUMS). Miguel is a board member of the National Capital Healthcare Executives, board member of the membership committee at the Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, member of The American Physiological Society, member of the American Association for Respiratory Care, member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, member of the Society of Health Policy, and member of the Florida and Maryland Association for Respiratory Care. He is also board certified by the National Board of Respiratory Care and the Board of Physicians of the State of Maryland. He holds advance degrees in business and cardiopulmonary sciences and have published numerous articles in both business and health issues. Miguel is also an editorial review member for the Independent Journal of Management & Production. His research interest lies in corporate culture.

GAUDEAMUS. How do you select your research projects for your department?

MIGUEL A. BUSTILLOS. We allow our professors to do independent research on topics of their choosing. This keeps them motivated. We do require them to publish at least once a year.

G. Being Department Chair it should not be easy to coordinate and organize research, is there any aspect worth mentioning that could help us researchers regarding health care projects?

MAB. Healthcare projects are very complex and scientific in nature. I am referring to medicine. I would encourage the use of technology to keep adequate metrics of large numbers that are necessary to come to conclusion. Also, they take long periods of time due to the disparities of the samples.

G. If you had to prioritize, what do you put in the first place: teaching or researching?

MAB. I would say that I enjoy research because of the discoveries that are made through its use; however, my heart lies in the classroom. Therefore, I have to admit, I enjoy teaching more.

G. What is the research activity you like most?

MAB. The research activity I like the most would be testing for fallacies. Did I omit anything based on bias? This is when good testing is of most importance.

G. Internet and open access is changing the scholarly publishing industry, is it also changing research activity?

MAB. It is. It allows us to have access to information that was not available to us years ago for various reasons. I often warn researchers about the sources they use when they do their research, because we tend to believe the data of others without verifying the source. This is especially true when the source is a well established researcher in that particular field. I do not trust anyone’s data. I like to develop my own judgments. I use their data only as a guide.

G. What drives academics in your field of knowledge to publish in journals?

MAB. I believe in some cases it is the old adage of publish or die. However, I like to think it’s more of the need to write something of substance that may be life changing. This seems to be what I get from most of my colleagues. But, we can never forget about tenure. It seems to be a great motivator in the academic world.

G. How do you organize in your department to choose the journals where to publish? Or if you prefer, what are you looking for in a journal?

MAB. We know that all of our professors will not be able to publish in top tier journals. We understand this; therefore, we give them some credit for any published work. However, we have set up incentives for our professors to encourage them to publish in good journals. We do not like or encourage any professor to publish in journals that require payment from a professor to publish. We frown upon that.

G. Finally, what advice would you give to novel researchers (for example, about collaboration, time dedicated to research, make an impact, etc.).

MAB. I believe that every researcher should do research on whatever topic they most enjoy and drives their passion. I find that professors that are forced to conduct research on topics they dislike tend not to produce a good final product. This includes doing research due to grants. Yes, grants are necessary, but they should only be pursued by those that are genuinely interested in that topic.

Citation impact workouts

citation impact workoutsOnce you’ve published in a journal, nothing changes too much, the pressure to publish each year remains. So researching and writing should be ongoing: it is a cycle that feeds back and helps us to improve as professors and researchers, and to make an impact on our area of expertise.

Although the main focus should be on research and writing good papers, and knowing that the current citation system could be improved, we should somewhat consider the selling of our publications, helping to disseminate our paper with some activities in the current web 3.0 system; on what I have called “citation impact workouts” (summarized from my latest eBook “Publish in Journals 3.0:  from Manuscript to Citations”, released in September).

Workouts to do before the articles are published:

  1. Publish in indexed and open-access journals, if possible with impact factor.
  2. Standardize your name and affiliation to ease the collection of citations received.
  3. Be strategic about the title and abstract, using key and findable words.
  4. Write in English.

Workouts to do after the papers are published:

  1. Set up a link to your article on your webpage, either your own or your university’s.
  2. Include your papers in your profile in social networks as LinkedIn, Facebook or even Twitter.
  3. Circulate a summary, just before publication, to your friends and colleagues.
  4. Mention your paper in your blog, if you write any.

In conclusion, 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.

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. 

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?

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