The time has come for the quality journals of Brazil

By Abel L Packer and Rogerio Meneghini

Regarding the progress on the performance of journals of Brazil, particularly those that are part of SciELO, in the rankings of indicators of the main international bibliometric indexes in 2016, we published the article “Os índices e seus limites1 (Indexes and their limitations) on the science section of the newspaper O Globo on September 25, 2017.

In that article, we pointed out that this advance is an expression of the growing relevance of the journals of Brazil as essential to communicate research according to the state of the art. It is, thus, an opportunity for policies, programs and research projects to leverage the journals of Brazil as a means of broadening the qualification of Brazilian science in its scientific and social dimensions. We resume the topic in this post presenting data that show this good performance.

We highlight, firstly, the results obtained with Impact Factor (IF) published by Journal Citation Reports (JCR)/ Web of Science (WoS). Figure 1 summarizes the performance of journals of Brazil, reaching for the first time, in 2016, more than 25% (33) of the 121 journals with IF greater than or equal to one; five of them with FI equal to two or more. Among the 33 journals with the greatest impact, 27 (81%) are part of the SciELO Collection, therefore, open access journals. Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, whose IF equal to 2.605 is the Latin American journal with the highest IF in 2016. In previous years, at the first position was Revista Mexicana de Astronomía y Astrofísica. Memórias is also the journal with the greatest impact in Parasitology and Tropical Medicine categories among the journals from developing countries.

Figure 1. Evolution of the distribution of the JCR/WoS Impact Factor of journals of Brazil between 2014 and 2016. Only journals indexed in JCR/WoS in 2016 have been considered.

In order to compare the performance of journals of Brazil with those of other countries, we used Scopus’ Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) indicator to measure the impact of each journal in the context of its thematic area identified by the citing journals. With this approach, SNIP allows the comparison of journals from different areas and, particularly, journals from different countries, which reflects the respective predominant distributions of thematic areas. Table 1 shows the distribution of SNIP and Scimago Journal Rank (SJR) indicators for the first 14 countries in the article output ranking – United States, China, Great Britain, Germany, India, Japan, France, Italy, Canada, Australia, Spain, Russia, South Korea and Brazil. On the 14th position in the article ranking, Brazil has its journals in the 8th position according to the SNIP indicator, ahead of Japan, China, Italy, Spain and France. However, in terms of high-impact journals, Brazil occupies the last position in the distribution in both SNIP and SJR, a condition that is a product of the research evaluation policies that favor the publication in high impact journals from developed countries. The good average performance of the journals of Brazil among the world’s largest science producers indicates a potential and capacity for the promotion of high impact journals. This favorable condition for new and significant advances is the result of the efforts of scientific societies and research institutions to publish quality journals and various national programs supporting journals, highlighting FAPESP’s SciELO Program that promotes professionalization and internationalization of its journals. A significant part of the Brazilian research community has produced quality journals according to international standards2.

Table 1. Comparison of the SNIP and JCR indicators of Scopus journals published by the 14 countries with the highest number of articles.

Policies, programs and research projects should leverage journals of Brazil and widen the recognition and qualification of Brazilian science in its scientific and social dimensions. Thus, beyond the classic bibliometric ranking of journals, which in recent years have influenced researchers, academic institutions, journals and funding agencies, it will improve the research endeavor. On the article, we highlight three forces or movements that seek to minimize the effects of journal rankings and propose a forth one. The first comes from the research communities and editors of the Social Sciences and Humanities that have long questioned the applicability in their research of metrics based exclusively on citations. The second is made up by the various statements by different academic groups about the inconvenience of using citation-based journals rankings as indicators to rank all the research published in those journals. The argument here is very well known – more than half of the citations received by journals come from less than half of the articles, that is, most articles benefit from the impact of a minority that concentrates the citations received. The third is the Open Access movement that advocates the availability of research on the Web with no access barriers, which gains more strength with the advancement of open science.

The fourth movement we propose requires the leadership of the different instances of Brazil’s research to progressively position the journals of Brazil in internationally competitive conditions with high impact journals as well as an expression of the country’s ability to make science in all dimensions.

Notes

1. PACKER, A. L. and MENEGHINI R. Os índices e seus limites [online]. O Globo. 2017 [viewed 8 October 2017]. Available from: https://oglobo.globo.com/opiniao/os-indices-seus-limites-21860855

2. PACKER, A. L. and MENEGHINI R. LEARNING TO COMMUNICATE SCIENCE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. Interciencia [online]. 2007, vol. 32, no. 9, pp. 643-647, ISSN: 0378-1844 [viewed 8 October 2017]. Available from: http://www.scielo.org.ve/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0378-18442007000900014&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=en

References

PACKER, A. L. and MENEGHINI R. LEARNING TO COMMUNICATE SCIENCE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. Interciencia [online]. 2007, vol. 32, no. 9, pp. 643-647, ISSN: 0378-1844 [viewed 8 October 2017]. Available from: http://www.scielo.org.ve/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0378-18442007000900014&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=en

PACKER, A. L. and MENEGHINI R. Os índices e seus limites [online]. O Globo. 2017 [viewed 8 October 2017]. Available from: https://oglobo.globo.com/opiniao/os-indices-seus-limites-21860855

 

Translated from the original in portuguese by Lilian Nassi-Calò.

 

How to cite this post [ISO 690/2010]:

PACKER, A. L. and MENEGHINI R. The time has come for the quality journals of Brazil [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2017 [viewed ]. Available from: http://blog.scielo.org/en/2017/11/08/the-time-has-come-for-the-quality-journals-of-brazil/

 

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