Scientific journal

Last updated
Cover of the first issue of Nature, 4 November 1869 Nature cover, November 4, 1869.jpg
Cover of the first issue of Nature , 4 November 1869

In academic publishing, a scientific journal is a periodical publication intended to further the progress of science, usually by reporting new research.

Contents

Content

Articles in scientific journals are mostly written by active scientists such as students, researchers and professors instead of professional journalists. There are thousands of scientific journals in publication, and many more have been published at various points in the past (see list of scientific journals). Most journals are highly specialized, although some of the oldest journals such as Nature publish articles and scientific papers across a wide range of scientific fields. Scientific journals contain articles that have been peer reviewed, in an attempt to ensure that articles meet the journal's standards of quality, and scientific validity. Although scientific journals are superficially similar to professional magazines, they are actually quite different. Issues of a scientific journal are rarely read casually, as one would read a magazine. The publication of the results of research is an essential part of the scientific method. If they are describing experiments or calculations, they must supply enough details that an independent researcher could repeat the experiment or calculation to verify the results. Each such journal article becomes part of the permanent scientific record.

Scope

Articles in scientific journals can be used in research and higher education. Scientific articles allow researchers to keep up to date with the developments of their field and direct their own research. An essential part of a scientific article is citation of earlier work. The impact of articles and journals is often assessed by counting citations (citation impact). Some classes are partially devoted to the explication of classic articles, and seminar classes can consist of the presentation by each student of a classic or current paper. Schoolbooks and textbooks have been written usually only on established topics, while the latest research and more obscure topics are only accessible through scientific articles. In a scientific research group or academic department it is usual for the content of current scientific journals to be discussed in journal clubs. Public funding bodies often require the results to be published in scientific journals. Academic credentials for promotion into academic ranks are established in large part by the number and impact of scientific articles published. Many doctoral programs allow for thesis by publication, where the candidate is required to publish a certain number of scientific articles.

Wording

Articles tend to be highly technical, representing the latest theoretical research and experimental results in the field of science covered by the journal. They are often incomprehensible to anyone except for researchers in the field and advanced students. In some subjects this is inevitable given the nature of the content. Usually, rigorous rules of scientific writing are enforced by the editors; however, these rules may vary from journal to journal, especially between journals from different publishers. Articles are usually either original articles reporting completely new results or reviews of current literature. There are also scientific publications that bridge the gap between articles and books by publishing thematic volumes of chapters from different authors. Many journals have a regional focus, specializing in publishing papers from a particular geographic region, like African Invertebrates .

History

The history of scientific journals dates from 1665, when the French Journal des sçavans and the English Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society first began systematically publishing research results. Over a thousand, mostly ephemeral, were founded in the 18th century, and the number has increased rapidly after that. [1]

Prior to mid-20th century, peer review was not always necessary, but gradually it became essentially compulsory.

Publishing process

The authors of scientific articles are active researchers instead of journalists; typically, a graduate student or a researcher writes a paper with a professor. As such, the authors are unpaid and receive no compensation from the journal. However, their funding bodies may require them to publish in scientific journals. The paper is submitted to the journal office, where the editor considers the paper for appropriateness, potential scientific impact and novelty. If the journal's editor considers the paper appropriate, the paper is submitted to scholarly peer review. Depending on the field, journal and paper, the paper is sent to 1–3 reviewers for evaluation before they can be granted permission to publish. Reviewers are expected to check the paper for soundness of its scientific argument, i.e. if the data collected or considered in the paper support the conclusion offered. Novelty is also key: existing work must be appropriately considered and referenced, and new results improving on the state of the art presented. Reviewers are usually unpaid and not a part of the journal staff—instead, they should be "peers", i.e. researchers in the same field as the paper in question.

Standards and impact

The standards that a journal uses to determine publication can vary widely. Some journals, such as Nature , Science , PNAS , and Physical Review Letters , have a reputation of publishing articles that mark a fundamental breakthrough in their respective fields.[ citation needed ] In many fields, a formal or informal hierarchy of scientific journals exists; the most prestigious journal in a field tends to be the most selective in terms of the articles it will select for publication, and usually will also have the highest impact factor. In some countries, journal rankings can be utilized for funding decisions [2] and even evaluation of individual researchers, although they are poorly suited for that purpose. [3]

Reproducibility and replicability

For scientific journals, reproducibility and replicability of the scientific results are core concepts that allow other scientists to check and reproduce the results under the same conditions described in the paper or at least similar conditions and produce similar results with similar measurements of the same measurand or carried out under changed conditions of measurement.

Types of articles

Cover of the first volume of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, the first journal in the world exclusively devoted to science 1665 phil trans vol i title.png
Cover of the first volume of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society , the first journal in the world exclusively devoted to science

There are several types of journal articles; the exact terminology and definitions vary by field and specific journal, but often include:

The formats of journal articles vary, but many follow the general IMRAD scheme recommended by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Such articles begin with an abstract , which is a one-to-four-paragraph summary of the paper. The introduction describes the background for the research including a discussion of similar research. The materials and methods or experimental section provides specific details of how the research was conducted. The results and discussion section describes the outcome and implications of the research, and the conclusion section places the research in context and describes avenues for further exploration.

In addition to the above, some scientific journals such as Science will include a news section where scientific developments (often involving political issues) are described. These articles are often written by science journalists and not by scientists. In addition, some journals will include an editorial section and a section for letters to the editor. While these are articles published within a journal, in general they are not regarded as scientific journal articles because they have not been peer-reviewed.

Electronic publishing

Electronic publishing is a new area of information dissemination. One definition of electronic publishing is in the context of the scientific journal. It is the presentation of scholarly scientific results in only an electronic (non-paper) form. This is from its first write-up, or creation, to its publication or dissemination. The electronic scientific journal is specifically designed to be presented on the internet. It is defined as not being previously printed material adapted, or retooled, and then delivered electronically. [6] [7]

Electronic publishing will likely continue to exist alongside paper publishing for the foreseeable future, since whilst output to a screen is important for browsing and searching, it is not well suited for extensive reading. Formats suitable both for reading on paper, and for manipulation by the reader's computer will need to be integrated. [6] [7] Many journals are electronically available in formats readable on screen via web browsers, as well as in portable document format PDF, suitable for printing and storing on a local desktop or laptop computer. New tools such as JATS and Utopia Documents provide a 'bridge' to the 'web-versions' in that they connect the content in PDF versions directly to the World Wide Web via hyperlinks that are created 'on-the-fly'. The PDF version of an article is usually seen as the version of record, but the matter is subject to some debate. [8]

Electronic counterparts of established print journals already promote and deliver rapid dissemination of peer-reviewed and edited, "published" articles. Other journals, whether spin-offs of established print journals, or created as electronic only, have come into existence promoting the rapid dissemination capability, and availability, on the Internet. In tandem with this is the speeding up of peer review, copyediting, page makeup, and other steps in the process to support rapid dissemination. [9]

Other improvements, benefits and unique values of electronically publishing the scientific journal are easy availability of supplementary materials (data, graphics and video), lower cost, and availability to more people, especially scientists from non-developed countries. Hence, research results from more developed nations are becoming more accessible to scientists from non-developed countries. [6]

Moreover, electronic publishing of scientific journals has been accomplished without compromising the standards of the refereed, peer review process. [6] [7]

One form is the online equivalent of the conventional paper journal. By 2006, almost all scientific journals have, while retaining their peer-review process, established electronic versions; a number have moved entirely to electronic publication. In a similar manner, most academic libraries buy the electronic version and purchase a paper copy only for the most important or most-used titles.

There is usually a delay of several months after an article is written before it is published in a journal, making paper journals not an ideal format for announcing the latest research. Many journals now publish the final papers in their electronic version as soon as they are ready, without waiting for the assembly of a complete issue, as is necessary with paper. In many fields in which even greater speed is wanted, such as physics, the role of the journal at disseminating the latest research has largely been replaced by preprint databases such as arXiv.org. Almost all such articles are eventually published in traditional journals, which still provide an important role in quality control, archiving papers, and establishing scientific credit.

Cost

Many scientists and librarians have long protested the cost of journals, especially as they see these payments going to large for-profit publishing houses. [10] To allow their researchers online access to journals, many universities purchase site licenses, permitting access from anywhere in the university, and, with appropriate authorization, by university-affiliated users at home or elsewhere. These may be quite expensive, sometimes much more than the cost for a print subscription, although this may reflect the number of people who will be using the license—while a print subscription is the cost for one person to receive the journal; a site-license can allow thousands of people to gain access.[ citation needed ]

Publications by scholarly societies, also known as not-for-profit-publishers, usually cost less than commercial publishers, but the prices of their scientific journals are still usually several thousand dollars a year. In general, this money is used to fund the activities of the scientific societies that run such journals, or is invested in providing further scholarly resources for scientists; thus, the money remains in and benefits the scientific sphere.

Despite the transition to electronic publishing, the serials crisis persists. [11]

Concerns about cost and open access have led to the creation of free-access journals such as the Public Library of Science (PLoS) family and partly open or reduced-cost journals such as the Journal of High Energy Physics . However, professional editors still have to be paid, and PLoS still relies heavily on donations from foundations to cover the majority of its operating costs; smaller journals do not often have access to such resources.

Based on statistical arguments, it has been shown that electronic publishing online, and to some extent open access, both provide wider dissemination and increase the average number of citations an article receives. [12]

Traditionally, the author of an article was required to transfer the copyright to the journal publisher. Publishers claimed this was necessary in order to protect authors' rights, and to coordinate permissions for reprints or other use. However, many authors, especially those active in the open access movement, found this unsatisfactory, [13] and have used their influence to effect a gradual move towards a license to publish instead. Under such a system, the publisher has permission to edit, print, and distribute the article commercially, but the authors retain the other rights themselves.

Even if they retain the copyright to an article, most journals allow certain rights to their authors. These rights usually include the ability to reuse parts of the paper in the author's future work, and allow the author to distribute a limited number of copies. In the print format, such copies are called reprints; in the electronic format, they are called postprints. Some publishers, for example the American Physical Society, also grant the author the right to post and update the article on the author's or employer's website and on free e-print servers, to grant permission to others to use or reuse figures, and even to reprint the article as long as no fee is charged. [14] The rise of open access journals, in which the author retains the copyright but must pay a publication charge, such as the Public Library of Science family of journals, is another recent response to copyright concerns. [15]

See also

Related Research Articles

Preprint version of a scholarly or scientific paper that precedes publication in a peer-reviewed scholarly or scientific journal

In academic publishing, a preprint is a version of a scholarly or scientific paper that precedes formal peer review and publication in a peer-reviewed scholarly or scientific journal. The preprint may be available, often as a non-typeset version available free, before and/or after a paper is published in a journal.

Publication documents distributed to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending

To publish is to make content available to the general public. While specific use of the term may vary among countries, it is usually applied to text, images, or other audio-visual content, including paper. The word publication means the act of publishing, and also refers to any printed copies.

Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published in academic journal article, book or thesis form. The part of academic written output that is not formally published but merely printed up or posted on the Internet is often called "grey literature". Most scientific and scholarly journals, and many academic and scholarly books, though not all, are based on some form of peer review or editorial refereeing to qualify texts for publication. Peer review quality and selectivity standards vary greatly from journal to journal, publisher to publisher, and field to field.

Academic journal peer-reviewed periodical relating to a particular academic discipline

An academic or scholarly journal is a periodical publication in which scholarship relating to a particular academic discipline is published. Academic journals serve as permanent and transparent forums for the presentation, scrutiny, and discussion of research. They are usually peer-reviewed or refereed. Content typically takes the form of articles presenting original research, review articles, and book reviews. The purpose of an academic journal, according to Henry Oldenburg, is to give researchers a venue to "impart their knowledge to one another, and contribute what they can to the Grand design of improving natural knowledge, and perfecting all Philosophical Arts, and Sciences."

Open access Research publications that are distributed online, free of cost or other barriers

Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers. With open access strictly defined, or libre open access, barriers to copying or reuse are also reduced or removed by applying an open license for copyright.

Scientific literature comprises scholarly publications that report original empirical and theoretical work in the natural and social sciences, and within an academic field, often abbreviated as the literature. Academic publishing is the process of contributing the results of one's research into the literature, which often requires a peer-review process.

Self-archiving act of (the authors) depositing a free copy of an electronic document online in order to provide open access to it

Self-archiving is the act of depositing a free copy of an electronic document online in order to provide open access to it. The term usually refers to the self-archiving of peer-reviewed research journal and conference articles, as well as theses and book chapters, deposited in the author's own institutional repository or open archive for the purpose of maximizing its accessibility, usage and citation impact. The term green open access has become common in recent years, distinguishing this approach from gold open access, where the journal itself makes the articles publicly available without charge to the reader.

Scholarly communication involves the creation, publication, dissemination and discovery of academic research, primarily in peer-reviewed journals and books. It is “the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use." This primarily involves the publication of peer-reviewed academic journals, books and conference papers.

Nature Precedings was an open access electronic preprint repository of scholarly work in the fields of biomedical sciences, chemistry, and earth sciences. It ceased accepting new submissions as of April 3, 2012.

MDPI or Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute is a publisher of author-pays open access scientific journals. Founded by Shu-Kun Lin as a chemical sample archive, it has established over 200 broad-scope journals.

Bentham Science Publishers is a company that publishes scientific, technical, and medical journals and e-books. It publishes 120+ subscription-based academic journals and over 60 open access journals. It is based at Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, and has operating units in the United States, Japan, China, India, and the Netherlands. The company has satellite offices in the United States, China, India, Japan and Pakistan. As of 2018 40 Bentham Science journals have received JCR impact factors.

Scientific Research Publishing (SCIRP) is an academic publisher of presumably peer-reviewed open-access electronic journals, conference proceedings, and scientific anthologies of questionable quality. Although it has an address in southern California, in reality it is a "Chinese operation".

Open science data is a type of open data focused on publishing observations and results of scientific activities available for anyone to analyze and reuse. A major purpose of the drive for open data is to allow the verification of scientific claims, by allowing others to look at the reproducibility of results, and to allow data from many sources to be integrated to give new knowledge. While the idea of open science data has been actively promoted since the 1950s, the rise of the Internet has significantly lowered the cost and time required to publish or obtain data.

Scholarly peer review is the process of subjecting an author's scholarly work, research, or ideas to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field, before a paper describing this work is published in a journal, conference proceedings or as a book. The peer review helps the publisher decide whether the work should be accepted, considered acceptable with revisions, or rejected.

A copyright transfer agreement or copyright assignment agreement is an agreement that transfers the copyright for a work from the copyright owner to another party. This is one legal option for publishers and authors of books, magazines, movies, television shows, video games, and other commercial artistic works who want to include and use a work of a second creator: for example, a video game developer who wants to pay an artist to draw a boss to include in a game. Another option is to license the right to include and use the work, rather than transferring the copyright.

Academic journal publishing reform is the advocacy for changes in the way academic journals are created and distributed in the age of the Internet and the advent of electronic publishing. Since the rise of the Internet, people have organized campaigns to change the relationships among and between academic authors, their traditional distributors and their readership. Most of the discussion has centered on taking advantage of benefits offered by the Internet's capacity for widespread distribution of reading material.

Frontiers Media SA is a publisher of peer-reviewed author-pays open access scientific journals currently active in science, technology, and medicine. It was founded in 2007 by a group of neuroscientists, including Henry and Kamila Markram, and later expanded to other academic fields. Frontiers is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, with other offices in London, Madrid, Seattle and Brussels. All Frontiers journals are published under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY).

<i>PeerJ</i> Academic journal

PeerJ is an open access peer-reviewed scientific mega journal covering research in the biological and medical sciences. It is published by a company of the same name that was co-founded by CEO Jason Hoyt and publisher Peter Binfield, with financial backing of US$950,000 from O'Reilly Media and O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. It was officially launched in June 2012, started accepting submissions on December 3, 2012, and published its first articles on February 12, 2013. The company is a member of CrossRef, CLOCKSS, ORCID, and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. The company's offices are in Corte Madera, and London.

This is a list of the different copyright policies of academic publishers. Traditionally, the author of an article was required to transfer the copyright to the journal publisher. Publishers claimed this was necessary in order to protect author's rights, and to coordinate permissions for reprints or other use. However, many authors, especially those active in the open access movement, found this unsatisfactory, and have used their influence to effect a gradual move towards a license to publish instead. Under such a system, the publisher has permission to edit, print, and distribute the article commercially, but the author(s) retain the other rights themselves.

An article processing charge (APC), also known as a publication fee, is a fee which is sometimes charged to authors to make a work available open access in either an open access journal or hybrid journal. This fee may be paid by the author, the author's institution, or their research funder. Some publishers waive the fee in cases of hardship or geographic location, but this is not a widespread practice. An article processing charge does not guarantee that the author retains copyright to the work, or that it will be made available under a Creative Commons license.

References

  1. D. A. Kronick, History of Scientific and Technical Periodicals, 2nd ed. Scarecrow, 1976
  2. "Background - julkaisufoorumi.fi". julkaisufoorumi.fi. Archived from the original on 30 September 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  3. "FAQ - julkaisufoorumi.fi". julkaisufoorumi.fi. Archived from the original on 27 November 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  4. "JoVE - Peer Reviewed Scientific Video Journal - Methods and Protocols". jove.com. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  5. "Научный журнал "Видеонаука"". Scientific journal "Videonauka". Archived from the original on 2016-03-11.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Heller, Stephen, R. (1998). "Electronic Publishing of Scientific Manuscripts". Encyclopedia of Computational Chemistry. 02. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 871–875. Archived from the original on 2010-07-03. Retrieved 2010-06-16.
  7. 1 2 3 Boyce, Peter B.; Heather Dalterio (January 1996). "Electronic Publishing of Scientific Journals" (Article available to the public in HTML.). Physics Today . American Institute of Physics. 49 (1): 42. Bibcode:1996PhT....49a..42B. doi:10.1063/1.881598. Archived from the original on 2011-04-10.
  8. Pettifer, S.; McDermott, P.; Marsh, J.; Thorne, D.; Villeger, A.; Attwood, T.K. (2011). "Ceci n'est pas un hamburger: modelling and representing the scholarly article". Learned Publishing. 24 (3): 207–220. doi:10.1087/20110309.
  9. Swygart-Hobaugh, Rob Kling, Amanda J. "The Internet and the Velocity of Scholarly Journal Publishing". scholarworks.iu.edu. Archived from the original on 2016-10-27. Retrieved 2016-10-26.
  10. Weinstein, Deborah (1 Feb 2012). "Elsevier begins outreach as push-back on publisher threatens to widen". MM&M. Archived from the original on 2018-02-15.
  11. Sample, Ian (24 April 2012). "Harvard University says it can't afford journal publishers' prices". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 7 December 2016.
  12. Lawrence, Steve. "Online Or Invisible?". NEC Research Institute. Archived from the original on 2007-03-16.
  13. Di Cosmo, Roberto (June 2006). "The Role of Public Administrations in The ICT Era" (PDF). UPGRADE: The European Journal for the Informatics Professional. 7 (3): 41–8. ISSN   1684-5285. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2011-07-17.
  14. "APS Copyright Policies and Frequently Asked Questions". Archived from the original on 2006-10-09.
  15. Is it time to end copyright for scientific journals? Gizmodo, 2011