Re: Vanity Press Journals

From: <J.F.Rowland_at_LBORO.AC.UK>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 14:07:11 +0100

SH's correspondent: 'In reputable... journals, as in most
> disciplines, the acceptance rate for submissions are low and outright
> rejection is the most likely outcome.'

As a generalised statement, this is untrue, though it may be true in
this correspondent's discipline. Rejection rates are strongly
discipline-dependent, with the hard physical sciences having the lowest
rejection rates, moving through the biological sciences and the social
sciences, with the humanities having the highest rejection rates
(another generalised statement). Of course there is hierarchy of
journals within each discipline, as shown clearly by Eugene Garfield
many years ago, but varying rejection rates due to journal status are
superimposed upon the variation due to discipline. Many thoroughly
reputable journals in the sciences accept over half of papers submitted
to them; some accept up to 80%, while retaining a very respectable
impact factor.

SH: 'In addition, both the impact factor (average
citation count) and more recently the actual citation count of the
article and the author have also been weighed, in evaluations.'

Sadly, in their RAE (research assessment exercise) assessments of
individual academic staff, many UK university administrations still look
solely at impact factor. This week's Times Higher Educational
Supplement contains one very distressing report of the kind of effect
this one-dimensional measurement can have on a researcher's career. In
addition to its other flaws, dependence on journal impact factor alone
gives undue influence to a commercial organisation (Thomson ISI) which
consistently over-represents journals published in North America, and
under-represents ones published in languages other than English.

Fytton Rowland, Loughborough University, UK
Received on Fri May 11 2007 - 14:36:25 BST

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