Looking Forwards and Backwards: 10 Years of Publications

A special issue of Publications (ISSN 2304-6775).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 June 2023) | Viewed by 19265

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Education, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
Interests: peer review; research policy; research evaluation studies; Impact (societal, scientific, and cultural); meta-research; innovation studies; gender and research dynamics
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Guest Editor
Department of Health, Ethics & Society, Care and Public Healthy Research Institute, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Interests: scientific collaboration; authorship; research integrity; credibility

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The last decade has witnessed unprecedented growth in scientific knowledge globally that has amounted to, among estimates, exponential growth that doubles every 15 years (Fortunato et al, 2018).  Underpinning this growth is the simultaneous growth in the number of scientific actors producing publications as well as the number of outlets available to publish and disseminate each byte of new research.  

Alongside this growth comes a parallel change in research and publication practices.  Indeed, the past decade has seen remarkable changes, from the challenges associated with Open Research practices stemming from the early days of the open access movement, increasing pressure to publish brought on by increased audits and measures of excellence, and a movement towards gaining better recognition and inclusion of research from the Global South.  At the same time, there is criticism of predatory publishing practices and the journals that give rise to this industry.  Here, Publications has weathered its own, unavoidable storm of criticism as a journal while simultaneously acting to disseminate studies that at times direct, explore, and expand our understanding of research integrity in scholarly publishing. 

Through these changes and debates, Publications has persisted.

However, an assessment of a journal should be based at the journal-level and reflect the practices, priorities, and values practiced in its editorial, review, and publication practices.  As such, much of the credit for this resilience goes to an incredibly committed Editorial Board and team [https://www.mdpi.com/journal/publications/editors], some of whom have been serving since the journal was established.  

In this Special Issue, which celebrates 10 years of Publications, we aim to highlight a few of the dimensions of change, not just in the publications that populate the literature, but also in the processes that brought them forth and those who were involved and their relative status.  As leaders in the field and as important change-agents in their own contexts, many of our own Editorial Board Members will author the contributions.  In each contribution, the authors will reflect on the changes in the scholarly publishing environment over the last 10 years as well as their experience within it.

Among the dimensions we have selected for such inspection are (1) the diverse subset of epistemic cultures in scholarly publishing. What it means to publish and what the relationship between knowledge and writing is and how it varies across communities and across publication venues. A further series of dimensions in diversity in research (2) deals with geographical, gender, career, and other disparities that shape publication opportunities and trajectories. Various forms of justice and injustice are written into publication trajectories through these avenues. Further exacerbating this are (3) ranking cultures, including metricization as well as measurement and publication assessments as they occur across research cultures and communities. Various transparency initiatives exist to help enhance and stimulate responsible publication practices, and accordingly, a lot of attention is given to strengthening and displaying (4) research integrity and studying and experimenting with various forms of (5) peer review. All of the aforementioned movements encounter one another under the banners of (6) open science and open access. However, the increased attention placed on open access publication and opening up the publication landscape also intersects with the growth of so-called (7) predatory publishers. 

The Special Issue that follows is not, and nor will it ever be, a complete overview of a decade of publication dynamics. Instead, it will help shed some light on the transitions that scientific publication has been going through and the directions it might take from here.  It is also hoped that this Special Issue will simultaneously reflect on the field’s evolution as well as provide a clear map of how Publications will act as a journal in the future.

References

Fortunato S, Bergstrom CT, Börner K, Evans JA, Helbing D, Milojević S, Barabási A-L (2018) Science of science. Science 359(6379):eaao018

Dr. Gemma Derrick
Dr. Bart Penders
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Publications is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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18 pages, 3529 KiB  
Article
Mapping Two Decades of Research Productivity in the Middle Eastern and Arab Countries: A Comprehensive Bibliometric Analysis
by Latefa Ali Dardas, Ahmad M. A. Malkawi, Sami Sweis, Nadia Sweis, Amjad Al-Khayat and Faleh A. Sawair
Publications 2023, 11(4), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications11040048 - 10 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1848
Abstract
Middle Eastern and Arab countries have been experiencing significant advancements in scientific research and development over the past few decades. Understanding the trends, patterns, and impact of research within this region can provide valuable insights into its scientific landscape, identify areas of strength, [...] Read more.
Middle Eastern and Arab countries have been experiencing significant advancements in scientific research and development over the past few decades. Understanding the trends, patterns, and impact of research within this region can provide valuable insights into its scientific landscape, identify areas of strength, and uncover potential areas for improvement. This study presents a comprehensive bibliometric analysis of research productivity in the Middle Eastern and Arab region over a 20-year period. The findings revealed a consistent increase in research productivity, yet mapped significant disparities between countries in scholarly output, excellence, and impact. Adjusting for population size and GDP, Iran displayed the highest publication activity, trailed by Egypt and Turkey. Delving into the distribution of research output across different journal quartiles, the results revealed that this region has a lower percentage of scholarly output published in high-impact journals (both the top 10% and the top 25% categories). Compared to North America and the European Union, the Middle Eastern and Arab region consistently exhibited lower performance in terms of top 10% citations, average citations per publication, and field-weighted citation impact. The field of physical sciences took the lead as the most prevalent subject area in the Middle Eastern and Arab region, comprising about 60.5% of the research emphasis. Conversely, social sciences garnered comparatively less research attention, making up approximately 8.9% of the focus. The region showed strong international collaboration levels (40.5%), yet relatively low national (24.4%) and academic–corporate collaborations (1.5%). The outcomes of this study can facilitate international comparisons and benchmarking, allowing Middle Eastern and Arab countries to position themselves within the global scientific community. There remains a need to prioritize quality over quantity by emphasizing rigorous research practices and collaboration. An ongoing evaluation of research performance using a combination of indicators can help track progress and adjust strategies as needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Looking Forwards and Backwards: 10 Years of Publications)
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26 pages, 774 KiB  
Article
The Evaluation Gap in Astronomy—Explained through a Rational Choice Framework
by Julia Heuritsch
Publications 2023, 11(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications11020033 - 02 Jun 2023
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Abstract
The concept of evaluation gaps captures potential discrepancies between what researchers value about their research, in particular research quality, and what metrics measure. The existence of evaluation gaps can give rise to questions about the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to perform [...] Read more.
The concept of evaluation gaps captures potential discrepancies between what researchers value about their research, in particular research quality, and what metrics measure. The existence of evaluation gaps can give rise to questions about the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to perform research, i.e., how field-specific notions of quality compete with notions captured via evaluation metrics, and consequently how researchers manage the balancing act between intrinsic values and requirements of evaluation procedures. This study analyses the evaluation gap from a rational choice point of view for the case of observational astronomers, based on a literature review and 19 semi-structured interviews with international astronomers. On the basis of the institutional norms and capital at play in academic astronomy, I shed light on the workings of the balancing act and its consequences on research quality in astronomy. I find that astronomers experience an anomie: they want to follow their intrinsic motivation to pursue science in order to push knowledge forward, while at the same time following their extrinsic motivation to comply with institutional norms. The balancing act is the art of serving performance indicators in order to stay in academia, while at the same time compromising research quality as little as possible. Gaming strategies shall give the appearance of compliance, while institutionalised means to achieve a good bibliometric record are used in innovative ways, such as salami slicing or going for easy publications. This leads to an overall decrease in research quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Looking Forwards and Backwards: 10 Years of Publications)
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14 pages, 289 KiB  
Article
Authorship in Communication Science Journals: Mapping Romanian Practices
by Mariana Cernicova-Buca
Publications 2023, 11(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications11020020 - 23 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1200
Abstract
Scientific authorship is an evolving concept, being challenged by the numerous varieties in definition and practice of its ideational form. Variations in interpretation occur not only along the traditional demarcation line between hard sciences and the social sciences and humanities but also within [...] Read more.
Scientific authorship is an evolving concept, being challenged by the numerous varieties in definition and practice of its ideational form. Variations in interpretation occur not only along the traditional demarcation line between hard sciences and the social sciences and humanities but also within the same science branch, along parameters such as geography or institutional representation. This article explores the websites of internationally indexed communication science journals in Romania, from the point of view of authorship definitions, authorship requirements, and author-related ethical provisions. The web-based analysis is supplemented by opinions shared by editors of seven journal publishing venues. Findings show that less than half of the Romanian communication science journals allude to the international debate concerning authorship vs. contributorship models. A data-based critique of the self-presentation of the selected journals on their main page is also formulated. The findings of this study can help improve the journals’ self-presentation and self-promotion and set a benchmark for science communication among disciplines in SSH. In addition, it opens the floor for debate on scientific publishing patterns and practices in the given domain in Romania, making room for comparisons and filling in gaps in information on the topic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Looking Forwards and Backwards: 10 Years of Publications)
15 pages, 2795 KiB  
Article
Scholarly Communication over a Decade of Publications
by Tamara Heck, Dirk Tunger and Marc Rittberger
Publications 2023, 11(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications11010016 - 06 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2090
Abstract
Ten years after the journal’s first publication, we are taking a closer look at the knowledge flows of the output of the journal Publications. We analyzed the papers, topics, their authors and countries to assess the development of scholarly communication within Publications [...] Read more.
Ten years after the journal’s first publication, we are taking a closer look at the knowledge flows of the output of the journal Publications. We analyzed the papers, topics, their authors and countries to assess the development of scholarly communication within Publications. Our bibliometric analyses show the research journal’s community, where the knowledge of this community is coming from, where it is going, and how diverse the community is based on its internationality and multidisciplinarity. We compare these findings with the scopes and topical goals the journal specifies. We aim at informing the editors and editorial board about the journal’s development to advance the journal’s role in scholarly communication. The results show that regarding topical diversity and internationality, the journal has remarkably developed. Moreover, the journal tends towards the field of library and information science, but strengthens its multidisciplinary status via its topics and author backgrounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Looking Forwards and Backwards: 10 Years of Publications)
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14 pages, 4171 KiB  
Article
Exploratory Bibliometrics: Using VOSviewer as a Preliminary Research Tool
by Andrew Kirby
Publications 2023, 11(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications11010010 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 34 | Viewed by 9046
Abstract
This paper explores ways in which open access bibliometric software can be used to undertake exploratory research and to generate new avenues of inquiry. It takes as its focus VOSviewer, a freely available software package used to construct and display bibliometric relationships between [...] Read more.
This paper explores ways in which open access bibliometric software can be used to undertake exploratory research and to generate new avenues of inquiry. It takes as its focus VOSviewer, a freely available software package used to construct and display bibliometric relationships between a variety of variables. Beginning with published examples, the paper proceeds to create an original case study using bibliometrics to explore the extent to which the field of remote sensing is contributing to the implementation of sustainable development goals. This example uses Scopus data and VOSviewer to examine and contrast co-occurrence data among publications in six journals, and it demonstrates how such software can be successfully used to undertake preliminary studies and to shape subsequent research which employs more formal approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Looking Forwards and Backwards: 10 Years of Publications)
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The Issues with Journal Issues: Let Journals Be Digital Libraries
by C. Sean Burns
Publications 2023, 11(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications11010007 - 09 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1818
Abstract
Science depends on a communication system, and today, that is largely provided by digital technologies such as the internet and web. Despite the fact that digital technologies provide the infrastructure for this communication system, peer-reviewed journals continue to mimic workflows and processes from [...] Read more.
Science depends on a communication system, and today, that is largely provided by digital technologies such as the internet and web. Despite the fact that digital technologies provide the infrastructure for this communication system, peer-reviewed journals continue to mimic workflows and processes from the print era. This paper focuses on one artifact from the print era, the journal issue, and describes how this artifact has been detrimental to the communication of science, and therefore, to science itself. To replace the journal issue, this paper argues that scholarly publishing and journals could more fully embrace digital technologies by creating digital libraries to present and organize scholarly output. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Looking Forwards and Backwards: 10 Years of Publications)
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