From Inside Higher Ed: In Praise of ‘B’ Journals

Andrew J. Hoffman at Inside Higher Ed is gruff that academia is seeming to be concerned primarily about the prestige of its institutions rather than the genuine pursuit of knowledge. One form this has been taking is in the pressure faced by professors to publish only in those journals for which the warden will reward them, leading toa number of regrettable developments that academics are finding themselves prisoners of. One of these, related to the marginalization of ‘B’ list journals, is a particular cause for dismay because:

ISTOCK/JUNEWIND. Illustration for Inside Higher Ed.

ISTOCK/JUNEWIND. Illustration for Inside Higher Ed.

Citation counts are our primary measure of a papers scholarly impact, and yet citation counts on average are distressingly low. By one count, 12percent of medicine articles were never cited, nor were 27percent of natural science papers, 32percent in the social sciences and 82percent in the humanities. Another study found that 59percent of articles in the top science and social-science journals were not cited in the period from 2002 to 2006. It is time to question our primary reliance on citations and journal impact factors for measuring impact.

B journals that reach nonacademic audiences are cited much less by academics (if at all) and are therefore ignored as having impact.

If the have-nots that are unable to find an audience for their work outside A list journals, then what have thestudents, many of them aspiring academics, to do with this, besides pursuing a blinkered education focused only on getting As? Scholars of the world, unite!

Read his full post at Inside Higher Ed.


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