More Journals for NPRC

December 13, 2007

Additional journals are lined up to join the Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium. This may be of some relevance to prior smart arse comments, particularly the appearance of Biological Psychiatry as a lateral competitor of J Neuroscience.

12 Responses to “More Journals for NPRC”

  1. neurolover Says:

    So what about PLoS One? Is it going to kill all these journals that don’t have high impact factors (including some in the consoritum)?

    It seems to me like we have two schemes going right now. One is publication in a journal where the overall scientific merit is judged: i.e. not just is this “right” but is it “important” and important at what level (for all of Science, for all of Biology, for all of Neuroscience, . . . ” Then we have journals that basically judge whether the work is correct. Some journals that do that don’t necessarily admit that’s what they do.

    PLoS One makes that official, with the assumption that merit can be judged after publication, rather than before. This ties back to DM’s previous questions about a frequently cited paper in a low impact journal v a infrequently cited paper in a high impact journal, and Noah Gray’s response that you still want to be in the high impact journal (because, basically, they judge merit before publication).

    The folks in Physics tell me that they have had a PLoS One equivalent for a long time. But, I get the feeling that the Physics community is different — that they have a better consensus as a community of how important different work is, because they’re smaller and more focussed. Will it work in biology? And what will the over all impact be on publications?

    I am a committed fan of open access, because I think that tax-payer funded research should be available to all taxpayers. I even have a fantasy that it will make scientists of all taxpayers. I know, it’s a fantasy, that people will read all the original work, but I know a few non-scientists who do. If everyone has access, maybe my dream will turn into at least a partial reality.

    But all of these developments really change how we publish.

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  2. whimple Says:

    I think everyone except tenured faculty would have to have a death-wish to publish in PlosOne. That’s great to get the importance judged after the fact, but who has time to wait for that to happen? For most others when a paper is published they need people to be impressed *now*, not two years from now after the references start to pile up. From what I’ve seen, the “post-publication peer-review” in PlosOne has been a failure.

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  3. bikemonkey Says:

    “I think everyone except tenured faculty would have to have a death-wish to publish in PlosOne.”

    For those normal scientists who are publishing a mix of society-journal, higher-than-usual and “reach above” papers, I think the occasional PLOSOne is a perfectly reasonable experiment. I haven’t read much over there because there isn’t much drug abuse work. But it looks like people are putting more than society journal level stuff in there to me. Over time as with any other journal, this is the process that generates the reputation of quality for the journal itself apart from specific articles.

    “I am a committed fan of open access, because I think that tax-payer funded research should be available to all taxpayers. I even have a fantasy that it will make scientists of all taxpayers.”

    You are singing my song. Except, I have become a huge fan of the NIHMS system in this respect. Yes, I understand that the first round of data showed 5% submission rates. But I’ve seen more and more work start showing up and I am assuming this trend will continue.

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  4. bikemonkey Says:

    Oh and apparently the DM is trying to bait coturnix and Bill Hooker on OA, over at A Blog Around the Clock.

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  5. drugmonkey Says:

    I’ll admit that the inclusion of Biol Psychiatry makes this more of a game. Good on that. The rest on the pending list still fall into the same critique. Save maybe Learning and Memory (IF 5.099) which realistically adds a new tier above “the rest” but below J Neurosc and Biol Psychiatry.

    I’ll be waiting to see the outcome data for, say Neuropharmacology acceptance if you’ve had a paper rejected from the top tier versus one rejected from the top tier, then the middle tier. heh.

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  6. physioprof Says:

    “Oh and apparently the DM is trying to bait coturnix and Bill Hooker on OA, over at A Blog Around the Clock.”

    Gotta go check that out!

    As far as PLOSOne, my problem with it right now is that there are so many papers published that it is too difficult to scan through the table of contents to find the ones of potential interest. I would like it very much if they organized the TOC into subject areas, like in PNAS. This way I can look just at the ones I care about.

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  7. neurolover Says:

    What is NIHMS? (is that the NIH submission site?) I think that has promise, but it’s not the same thing as PLoS One — what I don’t understand is why something like that seems to work in Physics but not Bio. Is it a fundamental difference in the fields? or is it the culture we’ve built with huge numbers of journals?

    and are Biol Psychiatry & J Neurosci the same “impact”? I’d never even heard of Biol Psychiatry, which must mean something. Is Biol Psychiatry above or below Neuropharmocology (which I had heard of)? I think my questions actually suggest something about the field specificity of these journal rankings.

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  8. drugmonkey Says:

    Neurolover, without doubt J Neurosci is more general neuroscience and in some senses slugs even above it’s Impact Factor of 7.45 (and technical standing as a “society journal”) in perception.

    What I’m trying to do here is look at just the single dimension of IF. Degree of field specificity and what that means for perceived quality is another issue but I recognize it is there. Anyway, Biol Psych is a bit specialty in topic but pulls a 7.15 IF. Neuropsychopharmacology (the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology journal; what ACNP thinks of themselves is a whole ‘nother interesting topic) is even more specialty but hits a 5.889 IF, for another example. Neuropharmacology is substantially lower, 3.86. There is a type of neuropharmacology-related-to-brain-disorder paper that would be relevant for all of these journals. I’m trying to think what the typical submission cascade would look like for this type of paper and what that means for the consortium process.

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  9. physioprof Says:

    “DM is trying to bait coturnix and Bill Hooker”

    It’s all very placid and wonky. No fun.

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  10. neurolover Says:

    “As far as PLOSOne, . . . I would like it very much if they organized the TOC into subject areas, like in PNAS. This way I can look just at the ones I care about.”

    This seems like something they should be able to do, no? Worth writing to them and suggesting it. I guess, though, that’s part of the point of low “IF” specialty journals. They’re already organized by topic.

    I have a dream, actually, and it involves most of the for-profit journals disappearing into the dust. I still think there may be a point/room for the society journals.

    “What I’m trying to do here is look at just the single dimension of IF.”

    But why? I’ll admit to being very behind/naive on the whole impact factor thing.

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  11. drugmonkey Says:

    “But why? I’ll admit to being very behind/naive on the whole impact factor thing.”

    Love it or hate it, impact factor is a reality of modern bioscience careers and it is not going away anytime soon. Reason enough to become passing familiar with the concept and the IF associated with a given set of journals you read (and in which you publish).

    You probably hit on it best yourself in saying “I’d never even heard of Biol Psychiatry, which must mean something. Is Biol Psychiatry above or below Neuropharmocology (which I had heard of)?” And presumably you are in Neuroscience, broadly writ. Point being that across the vast breadth of bioscience there are tons of subareas with their own journal set. Subcultures abound. And yet relevant career decisions (hiring, promotion, tenure, grant review) are being made across domain. The IF is one attempt to get some objective measurement of the quality of a scientist without knowing squat about the actual science. Or that’s how I’d characterize it anyway!

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