Which Scientific Research Is Worth Publishing? Why Perceived Impact And Importance Are Flawed Publication Criteria

Which Scientific Research Is Worth Publishing? Why Perceived Impact And Importance Are Flawed Publication Criteria

Open-access (OA) science journals such as PLoS ONE operate under a different model of editorial and peer review than the traditional non-OA journals. Perhaps the biggest difference is that, at the traditional journals, reviewers and editors are usually encouraged to take into account what they perceive to be the potential impact and importance of a given study in determining whether or not it merits publication. In contrast, such judgments are irrelevant at many OA journals, where the focus of review is on whether the science itself is technically sound. At OA journals, whether a given study is important is a determination that is made by research consumers themselves rather than by editorial boards. This difference in focus has led some scientists to view OA journals with skepticism and to perceive that their review process is “watered down.” However, I would argue that by not focusing on perceived impact and importance, OA journals take a lot of the subjectivity out of the review process and, in the end, this is ultimately beneficial to science.

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Why I Started Publishing In Open-Access Journals, And Why You Should Too

Why I Started Publishing In Open-Access Journals, And Why You Should Too

As a graduate student, I was taught that I needed to publish, publish, publish if I ever wanted a job. So I spent countless hours conducting study after study and carefully writing up the results. The fruits of my labor were submitted to the top journals in the field where I quickly discovered the nightmare that is modern academic publishing. It routinely took four to six months to hear anything at all from the editors (and in one case, it took a year), and much of the time, the decision was a flat out rejection. While the reviewers and editors almost invariably saw something interesting and worthwhile in my efforts, all too often I was told that it just wasn’t “enough of a contribution” for a journal that accepts less than 15% of papers submitted. I can’t begin to describe how many times I was told something to the effect of “I really like this paper and it deserves to be published…just not here.” It all felt very arbitrary because no one was really judging my work on its merits—instead the reviews had a very subjective quality, focusing on questions such as: Is it “worthy” of this journal? Does it make a “big enough” contribution to the literature? Is this paper going to get cited a lot?

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