The role of non-Brazilian contribution in the publishing performance of psychology journals in Brazil

By Chris Fradkin

In 2017, an article of mine entitled “The Internationalization of Psychology Journals in Brazil: A Bibliometric Examination Based on Four Indices”1 was published in Paidéia (Ribeirão Preto). The article provoked discussion and debate within the field. There were requests for information; for further inquiry; for examination of further indices. This response led to a newly released study, entitled “The Impact of Non-Brazilian Contribution on the Publishing Performance of Psychology Journals in Brazil.”2 While the original study1 focused primarily on indices proposed by SciELO’s Rogerio Meneghini, the current study2 treads into deeper water, with a focus on non-Brazilian contribution.

The study2 consists of a bibliometric analysis of the relationship between international contribution and collaboration and publishing performance among the top-18 psychology journals in Brazil. Publishing performance was operationalized by journal publication house: higher tiered (n=2) for journals published by international publishing houses; and lower tiered (n=16) for journals published in Brazil. The 746 articles included in the study were coded for study type, international collaboration, and non-Brazilian contribution. Chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests were conducted to estimate differences between the higher and lower performing groups. From the conception of the study, an emphasis was placed on lingua franca (English-speaking) vs. Ibero-American contribution.

The findings revealed that collaboration with, and contribution from, English-speaking authors was more prevalent among the higher performing journals; while contribution from non-Brazilian Ibero-American authors was more prevalent among the lower performing journals. More specific was the finding that non-Brazilian lingua franca contribution was associated with higher journal/publishing performance. These findings are consistent with the 2017 study1, which found a higher prevalence of articles with lingua franca lead authors among the higher performing journals.

When we pool the findings of both articles3, we see that the higher performing journals have higher rates of:

  • English-language text,
  • lingua franca contribution,
  • lingua franca collaboration,
  • lingua franca editorial board members, and
  • empirical articles.

We also see that the higher performing journals have lower rates of:

  • non-collaborative Brazilian contribution, and
  • non-Brazilian Ibero-American contribution.

The implication is that publishing performance is strongly tied to non-Brazilian contribution.

On the surface it appears that, among psychology journals in Brazil, lingua franca contribution and Ibero-American contribution may be mutually exclusive. This inference would be deceptive, though. It would be wiser to infer that the presence of the lingua franca input, rather than the absence of Ibero-American input, is the fuel that drives the higher performing journals. This inference, though, leads us into troubled waters. “But what about our culture?” some scientists will say. “As Brazilians, we should write in Portuguese.” “It’s English language hegemony,” some philosophers will say. “It devalues non-lingua franca science!”

While these statements may have merit on their own, collectively they miss the larger picture. The point they miss is that English is the language of science. English is the lingua franca. SciELO’s Rogerio Meneghini and Abel Packer say that for a scholar to publish in the global market, they must have a minimal mastery of English. Thus, a revision is in order of the previous statement. The updated version reads: Publishing performance is strongly tied to non-Brazilian lingua franca contribution.

This leads us to the notion of “lost science,” a term coined by Wayt Gibbs in 1995. Lost science refers to the unaccessed scientific output of the “emerging” or “developing” nations. A major reason for this inaccessibility is language. For the emerging-nation scholar to communicate in English, this requires immersion in the lingua franca. Through my experience in Brazil, as a 2017-2018 Fulbright scholar and time spent here prior to that, the most dynamic, creative, and successful scholars I have met have spent substantial time immersed in lingua franca. For most of them, these immersions were in the form of graduate and post-graduate programs: a minimum of several years abroad at English-speaking institutions. Through necessity, these scholars gained a proficiency in English well above their Brazil-bound counterparts.

These days, when I speak with graduate students and early career scholars, they inevitably ask me for advice. For each and every one, my answer is the same: “Spend time in an English-speaking country.”

The findings of this study2 present a blueprint for a subset of journals. This subset includes journals that: (1) are publishing content of a global (vs. regional) nature; (2) have an administrative staff comfortable in English; and (3) have a natural affinity for lingua franca publication. As a sextant and a compass help the sailor hold their course, so the findings of this study can provide direction to the editor and publisher, who aspire to reach the global market.

The findings are also relevant to arbiters of policy, particularly those involved in Qualis rankings. For them the message reads: “to better rank the journals of Brazil, your criteria should acknowledge non-Brazilian contribution.” While the study’s2 implications range from micro to macro, like all studies it has its limitations.

One limitation of the study2 is its cross-sectional design: it is a sampling of one year’s worth of journals. As such, we should refrain from projecting outcomes for the future. We should also refrain from inferences of directionality. For example: Should we assume that the non-Brazilian authors sent their articles to the higher-tiered journals of Brazil because of the journals’ higher quality and status? Or should we assume that the publication of non-Brazilian manuscripts raised the quality and status of the journal? The critical thinker would acknowledge: “It depends.”

When discussing internationalization, we should remember that the scientific journals of Brazil were not conceived for global distribution. For the most part, they were voices for the graduate departments, and featured work from local scientists and scholars. As such, this work was more Brazilian than global in its nature. Recent years, however, have seen a shift among some journals to widen their scope of dissemination. It is for journals of this type, that the findings of this study are directed.

To read the article, access it

FRADKIN, C. The Impact of Non-Brazilian Contribution on the Publishing Performance of Psychology Journals in Brazil. Frontiers in Psychology [online]. 2018, vol. 6, no. 1934, pp. 1-9, ISSN 1664-1078 [viewed 3 December 2018]. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01934. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01934/full

Notes

1. FRADKIN, C. The Internationalization of Psychology Journals in Brazil: A Bibliometric Examination Based on Four Indices. Paidéia (Ribeirão Preto) [online]. 2017, vol. 27, no. 66, pp. 7-15, ISSN 0103-863X [viewed 00 December 2018]. DOI: 10.1590/1982-43272766201702. Available from: http://ref.scielo.org/xnr3sb

2. FRADKIN, C. The Impact of Non-Brazilian Contribution on the Publishing Performance of Psychology Journals in Brazil. Frontiers in Psychology [online]. 2018, vol. 6, no. 1934, pp. 1-9, ISSN 1664-1078 [viewed 3 December 2018]. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01934. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01934/full

3. See Table 6 of FRADKIN (2018) for pooled results.

References

FRADKIN, C. The Impact of Non-Brazilian Contribution on the Publishing Performance of Psychology Journals in Brazil. Frontiers in Psychology [online]. 2018, vol. 6, no. 1934, pp. 1-9, ISSN 1664-1078 [viewed 3 December 2018]. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01934. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01934/full

FRADKIN, C. The Internationalization of Psychology Journals in Brazil: A Bibliometric Examination Based on Four Indices. Paidéia (Ribeirão Preto) [online]. 2017, vol. 27, no. 66, pp. 7-15, ISSN 0103-863X [viewed 00 December 2018]. DOI: 10.1590/1982-43272766201702. Available from: http://ref.scielo.org/xnr3sb

GIBBS, W.W. Lost science in the third world. Scientific American. 1995, vol. 273, no. 2, pp. 92-99. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican0895-92 [viewed 3 December 2018]. Available from: https://www.nature.com/scientificamerican/journal/v273/n2/pdf/scientificamerican0895-92.pdf

MEDEIROS, C. Internacionalização para além dos artigos em inglês [online]. Ciência em Revista, 2017 [viewed 3 December 2018]. Available from: https://www.blogs.unicamp.br/cienciaemrevista/2017/03/03/internacionalizacao/

MENEGHINI, R. and PACKER, A.L. Is there science beyond English? Initiatives to increase the quality and visibility of non-English publications might help to break down language barriers in scientific communication. EMBO Reports [online]. 2007, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 112-116 [viewed 3 December 2018]. DOI: 10.1038/sj.embor.7400906. Available from: http://embor.embopress.org/content/8/2/112

MENEGHINI, R. Emerging journals: The benefits of and challenges for publishing scientific journals in and by emerging countries. EMBO reports [online]. 2012, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 106-108, ISSN 1469-3178 [viewed 3 December 2018]. DOI: 10.1038/embor.2011.252. Available from: http://embor.embopress.org/content/13/2/106

NASSI-CALÒ, L. Internacionalização como indicador de desempenho de periódicos do Brasil: o caso da psicologia [online]. SciELO em Perspectiva, 2017 [viewed 3 December 2018]. Available from: https://blog.scielo.org/blog/2017/03/14/internacionalizacao-como-indicador-de-desempenho-de-periodicos-do-brasil-o-caso-da-psicologia/

 

About Chris Fradkin

Chris Fradkin is a Fulbright award-winning scholar, based out of Rio de Janeiro. He holds a doctorate in psychological sciences from the University of California, Merced. His research interests range from the internationalization of emerging-nation journals to resilience building among vulnerable youth. Publications include articles in the journals Health Psychology, Academic Pediatrics, and Child Abuse & Neglect.

 

Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

FRADKIN, C. The role of non-Brazilian contribution in the publishing performance of psychology journals in Brazil [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2018 [viewed ]. Available from: https://blog.scielo.org/en/2018/12/03/the-role-of-non-brazilian-contribution-in-the-publishing-performance-of-psychology-journals-in-brazil/

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Post Navigation