Can anybody explain (without falling into ridicule) why, simultaneously:
- (Publishers/ opportunistic careerists) have good feelings about (having /publishing in) a journal with a good impact factor, while
- Everybody already knows journal rank is bunk ?
Btw, this is a link to an excellent article by Björn Brembs, coming just days after another great article, “We have met the enemy and it is us” by Mark Johnston.
I wanted to make a short post on the use of “feelings” in publishing and peer-reviews since a long time. Now is an occasion to finally write one, using Björn’s posting as an example. In his article, he reproduces “feelings” of editors, like (my boldfaces):
… we will decline to pursue [your manuscript] further as we feel we have aired many of these issues already in our pages recently …
… we feel that the scope and focus of your paper make it more appropriate for a more specialized journal …
Isn’t it striking that such “feelings” always appear when there is no rational argument (to be overtly mentioned) against accepting an article? I think everybody has at least an example from personal experience. Is this true? Check out your files for examples. If you find a referee report or an editor decision which contains feelings but no arguments, try to read them while listening this classic:
This “feelings” subject is related to the conclusion of Brembs et al. article Deep Impact: Unintended consequences of journal rank , which is
Therefore, we suggest that abandoning journals altogether, in favor of a library-based scholarly communication system, will ultimately be necessary. This new system will use modern information technology to vastly improve the filter, sort and discovery functions of the current journal system.
… because a new scholarly communication system has to rely on technical (and not “feelings” based), perpetual (i.e. ever enhancing), open pre- and post- peer review system. (Which, incidentally, is also the only service a publisher can still offer to the author, but, strangely, does not want to acknowledge that.)