Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Journal


Most researchers acknowledge an intrinsic hierarchy in the scholarly journals (“journal rank”) that they submit their work to, and adjust not only their submission but also their reading strategies accordingly. On the other hand, much has been written about the negative effects of institutionalizing journal rank as an impact measure. So far, contributions to the debate concerning the limitations of journal rank as a scientific impact assessment tool have either lacked data, or relied on only a few studies. In this review, we present the most recent and pertinent data on the consequences of our current scholarly communication system with respect to various measures of scientific quality (such as utility/citations, methodological soundness, expert ratings or retractions). These data corroborate previous hypotheses: using journal rank as an assessment tool is bad scientific practice. Moreover, the data lead us to argue that any journal rank (not only the currently-favored Impact Factor) would have this negative impact. 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.

Concepts: Scientific method, Logic, Impact factor, Scientific journal, Technology, Journal, Kurt Cobain, PageRank


The Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD) is a public resource that promotes understanding about the effects of environmental chemicals on human health. CTD biocurators read the scientific literature and manually curate a triad of chemical-gene, chemical-disease and gene-disease interactions. Typically, articles for CTD are selected using a chemical-centric approach by querying PubMed to retrieve a corpus containing the chemical of interest. Although this technique ensures adequate coverage of knowledge about the chemical (i.e. data completeness), it does not necessarily reflect the most current state of all toxicological research in the community at large (i.e. data currency). Keeping databases current with the most recent scientific results, as well as providing a rich historical background from legacy articles, is a challenging process. To address this issue of data currency, CTD designed and tested a journal-centric approach of curation to complement our chemical-centric method. We first identified priority journals based on defined criteria. Next, over 7 weeks, three biocurators reviewed 2425 articles from three consecutive years (2009-2011) of three targeted journals. From this corpus, 1252 articles contained relevant data for CTD and 52 752 interactions were manually curated. Here, we describe our journal selection process, two methods of document delivery for the biocurators and the analysis of the resulting curation metrics, including data currency, and both intra-journal and inter-journal comparisons of research topics. Based on our results, we expect that curation by select journals can (i) be easily incorporated into the curation pipeline to complement our chemical-centric approach; (ii) build content more evenly for chemicals, genes and diseases in CTD (rather than biasing data by chemicals-of-interest); (iii) reflect developing areas in environmental health and (iv) improve overall data currency for chemicals, genes and diseases. Database URL:

Concepts: Health, Chemical substance, Toxicology, Chemical industry, Comparative Toxicogenomics Database, Curator, Journal, Toxicogenomics


Elaine Beller and colleagues from the PRISMA for Abstracts group provide a reporting guidelines for reporting abstracts of systematic reviews in journals and at conferences.

Concepts: Journal


Last this year in this journal, Barbour and colleagues reported a study of “marketing trials” in leading medical journals (Trials 2016;17:31). In this commentary I discuss their research, describe new analyses of the study cohort and consider measures to address marketing within academic medical literature.

Concepts: Cohort study, Medicine, Research methods, Journal


There is wide agreement in the biomedical research community that research data sharing is a primary ingredient for ensuring that science is more transparent and reproducible. Publishers could play an important role in facilitating and enforcing data sharing; however, many journals have not yet implemented data sharing policies and the requirements vary widely across journals. This study set out to analyze the pervasiveness and quality of data sharing policies in the biomedical literature.

Concepts: Scientific method, Academic publishing, Medical research, Literature, Play, Journal, Pseudoscience, Minutes


In this paper we present the first comprehensive bibliometric analysis of eleven open-access mega-journals (OAMJs). OAMJs are a relatively recent phenomenon, and have been characterised as having four key characteristics: large size; broad disciplinary scope; a Gold-OA business model; and a peer-review policy that seeks to determine only the scientific soundness of the research rather than evaluate the novelty or significance of the work. Our investigation focuses on four key modes of analysis: journal outputs (the number of articles published and changes in output over time); OAMJ author characteristics (nationalities and institutional affiliations); subject areas (the disciplinary scope of OAMJs, and variations in sub-disciplinary output); and citation profiles (the citation distributions of each OAMJ, and the impact of citing journals). We found that while the total output of the eleven mega-journals grew by 14.9% between 2014 and 2015, this growth is largely attributable to the increased output of Scientific Reports and Medicine. We also found substantial variation in the geographical distribution of authors. Several journals have a relatively high proportion of Chinese authors, and we suggest this may be linked to these journals' high Journal Impact Factors (JIFs). The mega-journals were also found to vary in subject scope, with several journals publishing disproportionately high numbers of articles in certain sub-disciplines. Our citation analsysis offers support for Bj√∂rk & Catani’s suggestion that OAMJs’s citation distributions can be similar to those of traditional journals, while noting considerable variation in citation rates across the eleven titles. We conclude that while the OAMJ term is useful as a means of grouping journals which share a set of key characteristics, there is no such thing as a “typical” mega-journal, and we suggest several areas for additional research that might help us better understand the current and future role of OAMJs in scholarly communication.

Concepts: Scientific method, Academic publishing, Impact factor, Suggestion, Output, Journal, Bibliometrics


The number of citations a scholarly work receives is a common measure of its impact on the scientific literature; “citation classics” are the most highly cited works. The content of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior (SLTB) citation classics is described here. The impact of SLTB citation classics is compared to their counterparts in journals having published the most suicide papers. All data are from the ISI electronic venue on the Web of Science and refer to the number of citations the top 1% of works received in each of ten journals from 1975 through August 10, 2011. Among all ten journals, SLTB ranked first in the number of works on suicide. The principle theme of half of SLTB suicide classics was literature review. The median number of citations for SLTB citation classics (top 1%) was 121.5, with a range between 96 and 279 citations, but classics from generalized psychiatric journals received more citations as anticipated. Journal impact factors explained 73% of the variance in classic’s citation counts across journals. On average, suicide classics received 30% more citations than all classics. Among a second group of five specialized suicide journals, however, SLTB ranked first in average 5-year impact. Although SLTB produced the highest number of suicide articles of any journal, SLTB’s citation classics received fewer citations than suicide classics in high-impact/prestige, general journals. Future work is needed to assess what predicts which SLTB articles ultimately become citation classics.

Concepts: Median, Academic publishing, Impact factor, Bibliography, Reference, Journal, Citation, Citation impact


Using matching and regression analyses, we measure the difference in citations between articles posted to and other articles from similar journals, controlling for field, impact factor, and other variables. Based on a sample size of 31,216 papers, we find that a paper in a median impact factor journal uploaded to receives 16% more citations after one year than a similar article not available online, 51% more citations after three years, and 69% after five years. We also found that articles also posted to had 58% more citations than articles only posted to other online venues, such as personal and departmental home pages, after five years.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Academic publishing, Paper, Impact factor, Scientific journal, Journal


The aim of this study was to perform an overview of literature search strategies in systematic reviews (SRs) published in 2 endodontic journals, Journal of Endodontics and International Endodontic Journal.

Concepts: Thought, Endodontics, Journal, Journal of Endodontics


This JMI Editorial describes upcoming changes to the journal leadership for 2018.

Concepts: Journal, The Journal