From: Ann Shumelda Okerson <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2014 20:27:07 -0400
A study by the Google Scholar team on the rise in importance of
non-elite journals has been deposited in arXiv. The abstract is
reproduced below. Any thoughts about the validity of the findings?
Do they take into account the overall growth of article publishing in
the time frame examined? What's really going on here? Ann
In this paper, we examine the evolution of the impact of non-elite
journals. We attempt to answer two questions. First, what fraction of
the top-cited articles are published in non-elite journals and how has
this changed over time. Second, what fraction of the total citations
are to non-elite journals and how has this changed over time.
We studied citations to articles published in 1995-2013. We computed
the 10 most-cited journals and the 1000 most-cited articles each year
for all 261 subject categories in Scholar Metrics. We marked the 10
most-cited journals in a category as the elite journals for the
category and the rest as non-elite.
There are two conclusions from our study. First, the fraction of
top-cited articles published in non-elite journals increased steadily
over 1995-2013. While the elite journals still publish a substantial
fraction of high-impact articles, many more authors of well-regarded
papers in diverse research fields are choosing other venues.
The number of top-1000 papers published in non-elite journals for the
representative subject category went from 149 in 1995 to 245 in 2013,
a growth of 64%. Looking at broad research areas, 4 out of 9 areas saw
at least one-third of the top-cited articles published in non-elite
journals in 2013. For 6 out of 9 areas, the fraction of top-cited
papers published in non-elite journals for the representative subject
category grew by 45% or more.
Second, now that finding and reading relevant articles in non-elite
journals is about as easy as finding and reading articles in elite
journals, researchers are increasingly building on and citing work
published everywhere. Considering citations to all articles, the
percentage of citations to articles in non-elite journals went from
27% in 1995 to 47% in 2013. Six out of nine broad areas had at least
50% of citations going to articles published in non-elite journals in