Re: Citation and Rejection Statistics for Eprints and Ejournals

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 15:00:27 -0400

There is also a difference bewteen the various fields about how much work
justifies a separate publication. This is sometimes called the LPU, "Least
Publishable Unit." I think the concept arose in respect to the biomedical
sciences, where some consider that it may be quite low.

Jim Till wrote:
> on 08 February 2001, Robert Welham wrote (in part, in a message forwarded
> by Sally Morris):
> >[rw] So they use a number of journals and, unconsciously perhaps, send a
> >[rw] particular manuscript to the journal highest on their pecking order
> >[rw] for which it has an evens chance of being accepted. Rejection rates
> >[rw] thus tend to be around 50%. It's a sort of self-assessment exercise
> >[rw] which the old hands can get quite good at.
> I think that Robert Welham's '50:50' hypothesis isn't supported by the
> evidence that's available. As noted in previous messages to this Forum,
> there seems to be real differences in rejection rates across different
> fields of research, *not* random variations around 50%.
> Then, his final comment was:
> >[rw] The theory probably does not work for journals which get a lot of
> >[rw] contributions from "unprofessional" authors and I guess that is why
> >[rw] it begins to break down at the medical end where rejection rates go
> >[rw] higher.
> So, he does seem to acknowledge that rejection rates might be higher in
> some fields than others, and appears to assume that, insuch fields, there
> are more contributions from 'unprofessional' authors (that is, more
> amateurs are sending more garbage?).
> I'd agree that, in theoretical high-energy physics (where rejection rates
> seem to be quite low), it's probably not easy for 'amateurs' to pretend
> that they can make a meaningful contribution to superstring theory! In
> such a field, it may be more likely that there's a 'scholarly consensus'
> about what's garbage and what isn't.
> I continue to think that Hargens' 'scholarly consensus' hypothesis is the
> one that's most strongly supported by the (limited?) amount of evidence
> that's available [Hargens, L. L. Scholarly consensus and journal rejection
> rates. American Sociology Review 1988:53(1), Feb., 139-51]. The more
> there's a 'scholarly consensus' (within a particular field of research)
> about what's garbage and what isn't, the lower the rejection rate.
> And, perhaps this hypothesis is also applicable to readers' assessments of
> self-archived eprints?
> Jim Till
> University of Toronto

David Goodman
Biology Librarian
and Co-chair, Electronic Journals Task force
Princeton University Library
Princeton, NJ 08544-0001
phone: 609-258-3235
fax: 609-258-2627
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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