Every year Thomson Reuters publish a list of impact factors for journals to act as a rating system of how important a journal is; the higher the impact factor the more important the journal.
Many scientists and publishers dislike the impact factor but for the time being there seems little other option for rating journals.
One website, however, that uses a different method to rate journals is SCImago Journal and Country Rank. Here is a comparison between their choice of the top 10 chemistry journals and Thomson Reuters impact factors.
Graph produced using data wrapper.de (click on it to enlarge)
As you can see there is some discrepancy between the each organisations ratings, but Thomson Reuters does say that you should not rely alone on impact factor to determine how useful a journal is.
City University has over 150 taught postgraduate courses. As many of the students on these courses will both undergo the peer-review process themselves, and probably peer-review someone else’s work, I thought it would be interesting to survey them on their thoughts of the process.
Here are some of my results:
1) Do you think there should be more open access journals?
From a reader point of view, I want more open access journals, but from a writer´s view – no, because I will not publish if I have to pay! I have peer reviewed once and this was a very bad experience. It seemed to me more the cosmetics of the editor having fulfilled the peer review process than real care about my thoughts.
Earlier this week, the discovery of gravitational waves by scientists working with the BICEP2 collaboration at the south pole made a huge impact in the media.
The discovery – the first ever glimpse of gravitational waves, ripples in spacetime predicted by Einstein, allows us to look back in time further than it was thought possible. It teaches us something fundamentally new about what happened a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the big bang, and it could mean the beginning of a whole new era of astrophysics.
Professor Susan Bewley is a Consultant Obstetrician and Honorary Senior Lecturer at Kings College London. She has published many papers ad hence been through the peer review process many times, on both sides. Heres what she had to say on the subject:
What did the peer review process add to your work?
The issues raised by the peer review process vary depending on the research subject. I set out to get an idea what the main issues are for physicists with the peer review process. For this, I used Physics Forums. You can find the original discussion here.
I started out by asking general questions about the peer review process.
Each year, Thomson Reuters publish a Citation Report, accessible through Web of Knowledge. It’s a list of journals and their calculated Impact Factors, among other statistics, over the previous two years. Impact Factor is historically a marker by which academics base their decisions to publish work in particular journals, but does this system work?
Impact Factor is calculated by taking the number of citations in a year, of articles written in the previous year, and dividing by the total number of articles written in the previous year. For a further explanation, click here.
One of the flaws in this system is that new journals, less than two years old, will not yet have an Impact Factor since it’s based on the previous two years’ statistics. This could prevent authors submitting to the new journal, doubting their quality.
If you’re a physics academic, we’d love to know what you think. Does the Thomson Reuters list by Impact Factor reflect the top quality physics journals? Is there a better measure of journal quality?
Click on the image for the infographic.