Will Megajournals create MegaImpact?

See on Scoop.itDual impact of research; towards the impactelligent university

A mega journal is — as the name says — large, i.e. it will accept any number of articles. It also covers a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines and sub-disciplines, generally within the STM fields. Most mega-journals seem to aim at publishing all science that is “good
enough” instead of looking for articles that are important or could have a large audience. Here they differ from traditional journals, both OA and TA, which seeks to increase the Impact Factor (IF) of the
journal. They also publish continuously and strive to implement processes that keep down the time from submission to publication.


Frank Norman (trading Knowledge): “The trend towards Open Access has catalysed the creation of many new journals and new publishers. BioMedCentral, established in 2000, was a pioneer of open access publishing, launching a large number of journals. Public Library of Science (PLoS) initially established a small number of high-level journals, then in 2006 it launched PLoS ONE. This was the first of a new kind of journal, later dubbed mega-journal. PLoS ONE aimed to publish any article that met the test of scientific rigour, and eschewed any measure of importance or impact in its editorial and peer review process. In 2010, PLoS ONE published 6,749 articles, making it the largest journal in the world (by volume). Its success helped to persuade the mainstream publishing industry that fee-paid open access was a viable business model.”


Jan Erik Frantsvag (Sciecominfo):  “What will the impact of these mega-journals be? For one thing, they will publish a large portion of the available manuscripts in the STM fields. That means Sciecom Info 3 (2011) Frantsvag they will create a lack of manuscripts for existing journals, forcing them either to lower their quality standards or to cease publication. Only specialized, high IF journals will be able to prosper along the mega-journals. And they will dramatically increase the proportion of OA articles, many of the manuscripts they attract would otherwise go to TA journals.


Mega-journals will never attain high IF, they will have IFs but middling — anything big enough has to get a middle IF. Thus, high IF journals may still compete with the mega-journals. Another effect of mega
journals is that because of their broad coverage they will be seen as multidisciplinary, meaning that the present practice of “field normalizing” the IF to be able to compare authors or research groups across different (sub-)disciplines will be impossible.  And when much science is published in mega-journals, it will all have roughly the same IF. May we hope that mega-journals will mean an end to the meaningless IF fetishism we see today?


Mega journals taking over a large part of the manuscripts going to TA journals today means that they could serious erode the basis of many TA journals. (This is also a threat to “traditional” OA
journals.) They could easily be the first real new medium in scientific publishing since the Journal des Scavans and the Philosophical transactions saw the light of day some 350 years ago, and they could mean just as profound changes to scientific communications
as the invention of scientific journals made then. My guess is that during the next few years (3—7 years) mega-journals will take over a major part of STM publishing, large numbers of current journals will
cease publication and OA will be the norm in the STM field. This could also mean a weakening of the importance of “Big deals”, because that won’t be where the content is. It will be interesting to see of competition among mega-journals will keep APCs at
the lower end of the scale …”






See on occamstypewriter.org


About Wilfred Mijnhardt
RMIMR is my virtual playground, a place to reflect on issues from my professional context, my job as Policy Director at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). RSM is the international university based business school at Erasmus University Rotterdam. More info here: www.rsm.nl Here is my list of relevant publications on the topic of my RMIMR weblog: http://www.mendeley.com/collections/694621/RMIMR-Repository/ The rss feed for my RMIMR collection is here: http://www.mendeley.com/collections/rss/694621/ Here is my other weblog on impact of research: http://www.scoop.it/t/dualimpact

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