Scientific journal

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

Nature cover, November 4, 1869
Cover of the first issue of Nature, 4 November 1869

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. 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 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

1665 phil trans vol i title
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:

  • Letters (also called communications, and not to be confused with letters to the editor) are short descriptions of important current research findings that are usually fast-tracked for immediate publication because they are considered urgent.
  • Research notes are short descriptions of current research findings that are considered less urgent or important than Letters.
  • Articles are usually between five and twenty pages and are complete descriptions of current original research findings, but there are considerable variations between scientific fields and journals—80-page articles are not rare in mathematics or theoretical computer science.
  • Supplemental articles contain a large volume of tabular data that is the result of current research and may be dozens or hundreds of pages with mostly numerical data. Some journals now only publish this data electronically on the Internet. Supplemental information also contains other voluminous material not appropriate for the main body of the article, like descriptions of routine procedures, derivations of equations, source code, non-essential data, spectra or other such miscellaneous information.
  • Review articles do not cover original research but rather accumulate the results of many different articles on a particular topic into a coherent narrative about the state of the art in that field. Review articles provide information about the topic and also provide journal references to the original research. Reviews may be entirely narrative, or may provide quantitative summary estimates resulting from the application of meta-analytical methods.
  • Data papers are articles dedicated to describe datasets. This type of article is becoming popular and journals exclusively dedicated to them have been established, e.g. Scientific Data and Earth System Science Data.
  • Video papers are a recent addition to practice of scientific publications. They most often combine an online video demonstration of a new technique or protocol combined with a rigorous textual description.[4][5]

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 WorldWideWeb 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 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.

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]

Copyright

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

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". www.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. ^ a b c d 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. ^ a b c 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. Archived from the original on 2012-10-21.
  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
  • A.J. Meadows, ed. The Scientific Journal. London : Aslib, c1979. ISBN 0-85142-118-0
  • R.E. Abel et al. "Scholarly Publishing: Books Journals, Publishers, and Libraries in the Twentieth Century" N.Y.: Wiley, 2002. ISBN 0-471-21929-0
  • D.W. King et al. "Scientific Journals in the United States: their Production, Use, and Economics. Stroudsberg, PA: Hutchinson-Ross, 1981 ISBN 0-87933-380-4

External links

Cell (journal)

Cell is a peer-reviewed scientific journal publishing research papers across a broad range of disciplines within the life sciences. Areas covered include molecular biology, cell biology, systems biology, stem cells, developmental biology, genetics and genomics, proteomics, cancer research, immunology, neuroscience, structural biology, microbiology, virology, physiology, biophysics, and computational biology. The journal was established in 1974 by Benjamin Lewin and is published twice monthly by Cell Press, an imprint of Elsevier.

Current Science

Current Science is an English-language peer-reviewed multidisciplinary scientific journal. It was established in 1932 and is published by the Current Science Association along with the Indian Academy of Sciences.

According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2017 impact factor of 0.883. Current Science is indexed by Web of Science, Current Contents, Geobase, Chemical Abstracts, IndMed and Scopus. The editor-in-chief is S. K. Satheesh of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

Electronic journal

Electronic journals, also known as ejournals, e-journals, and electronic serials, are scholarly journals or intellectual magazines that can be accessed via electronic transmission.

Hydrobiologia

Hydrobiologia: The International Journal of Aquatic Sciences is a scientific journal specialising in hydrobiology, including limnology and oceanography, systematics of aquatic organisms and aquatic ecology.

Journal of Ornithology

The Journal of Ornithology (formerly Journal für Ornithologie) is a scientific journal published by Springer Science+Business Media on behalf of the Deutsche Ornithologen-Gesellschaft. It was founded by Jean Cabanis in 1853, becoming the official journal of the Deutsche Ornithologen-Gesellschaft in 1854.

The first issue was produced in January 1853 and Cabanis noted that although there were specialist journals in entomology and conchology that there was nothing to deal with ornithology in Germany. Among the first essays published in the journal was an essay by Reichenbach on the concept of species.According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2012 impact factor of 1.632.

Journal of the ACM

The Journal of the ACM is a peer-reviewed scientific journal covering computer science in general, especially theoretical aspects. It is an official journal of the Association for Computing Machinery. Its current editor-in-chief is Éva Tardos (Cornell University).

The journal was established in 1954 and "computer scientists universally hold the Journal of the ACM (JACM) in high esteem".

Journal of the American Chemical Society

The Journal of the American Chemical Society (also known as JACS) is a weekly peer-reviewed scientific journal that was established in 1879 by the American Chemical Society. The journal has absorbed two other publications in its history, the Journal of Analytical and Applied Chemistry (July 1893) and the American Chemical Journal (January 1914). It publishes original research papers in all fields of chemistry. Since 2002, the journal is edited by Peter J. Stang (University of Utah). In 2014, the journal moved to a hybrid open access publishing model.

Journal of the American Statistical Association

The Journal of the American Statistical Association (JASA) is the primary journal published by the American Statistical Association, the main professional body for statisticians in the United States. It is published four times a year.

It had an impact factor of 2.063 in 2010, tenth highest in the "Statistics and Probability" category of Journal Citation Reports.In a 2003 survey of statisticians, the Journal of the American Statistical Association was ranked first, among all journals, for "Applications of Statistics" and second (after Annals of Statistics) for "Mathematical Statistics".The predecessor of this journal started in 1888 with the name Publications of the American Statistical Association. It became Quarterly Publications of the American Statistical Association in 1912, and JASA in 1922.

List of academic databases and search engines

This page contains a representative list of major databases and search engines useful in an academic setting for finding and accessing articles in academic journals, institutional repositories, archives, or other collections of scientific and other articles.

As the distinction between a database and a search engine is unclear for these complex document retrieval systems, see:

the general list of search engines for all-purpose search engines that can be used for academic purposes

the article about bibliographic databases for information about databases giving bibliographic information about finding books and journal articles.Note that "free" or "subscription" can refer both to the availability of the

database or of the journal articles included. This has been indicated as precisely as possible in the lists below.

Malacologia

Malacologia is a peer-reviewed scientific journal in the field of malacology, the study of mollusks. The journal publishes articles in the fields of molluscan systematics, ecology, population ecology, genetics, molecular genetics, evolution, and phylogenetics.The journal specializes in publishing long papers and monographs. The journal publishes at least one, sometimes two, volumes of about 400 pages per year, which may consist of 1 or 2 issues. According to the Journal Citation Reports, its 2010 impact factor is 1.024. This ranks Malacologia 66th out of 145 listed journals in the category "Zoology". The journal started publication in 1962.

Medical journal

A medical journal is a peer-reviewed scientific journal which communicates medical information to physicians and other health professionals. Journals that cover many medical specialties are sometimes called general medical journals.

Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution

Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution is a peer-reviewed scientific journal of evolutionary biology and phylogenetics. The journal is edited by D.E. Wildman.

Nanoscale (journal)

Nanoscale is a peer-reviewed scientific journal covering experimental and theoretical research in all areas of nanotechnology and nanoscience. It is published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2017 impact factor of 7.233.

Nature (journal)

Nature is a British multidisciplinary scientific journal, first published on 4 November 1869. It is one of the most recognizable scientific journals in the world, and was ranked the world's most cited scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports and is ascribed an impact factor of 40.137, making it one of the world's top academic journals. It is one of the few remaining academic journals that publishes original research across a wide range of scientific fields.Research scientists are the primary audience for the journal, but summaries and accompanying articles are intended to make many of the most important papers understandable to scientists in other fields and the educated public. Towards the front of each issue are editorials, news and feature articles on issues of general interest to scientists, including current affairs, science funding, business, scientific ethics and research breakthroughs. There are also sections on books, arts, and short science fiction stories. The remainder of the journal consists mostly of research papers (articles or letters), which are often dense and highly technical. Because of strict limits on the length of papers, often the printed text is actually a summary of the work in question with many details relegated to accompanying supplementary material on the journal's website.

There are many fields of research in which important new advances and original research are published as either articles or letters in Nature. The papers that have been published in this journal are internationally acclaimed for maintaining high research standards. Fewer than 8% of submitted papers are accepted for publication.In 2007 Nature (together with Science) received the Prince of Asturias Award for Communications and Humanity.

Organic Syntheses

Organic Syntheses is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that was established in 1921. It publishes detailed and checked procedures for the synthesis of organic compounds. A unique feature of the review process is that all of the data and experiments reported in an article must be successfully repeated in the laboratory of a member of the editorial board as a check for reproducibility prior to publication. The journal is published by Organic Syntheses, Inc., a non-profit corporation. An annual print version is published by John Wiley & Sons on behalf of Organic Syntheses, Inc.

Scientific Reports

Scientific Reports is an online open access, scientific mega journal published by Nature Research, covering all areas of the natural sciences. The journal aims to assess solely the scientific validity of a submitted paper, rather than its perceived importance, significance or impact.On 23 August 2016, a blog post on the Scholarly Kitchen mentioned that the journal was likely to become the largest one in the world, overtaking PLOS ONE. This indeed occurred in September 2016 and was later confirmed in the first quarter of 2017.

Taxon (journal)

Taxon is a bimonthly peer-reviewed scientific journal covering plant taxonomy. It is published by Wiley on behalf of the International Association for Plant Taxonomy, of which it is the official journal. It was established in 1952 and is the only place where nomenclature proposals and motions to amend the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (except for the rules concerning fungi) can be published. The editor-in-chief is Dirk C. Albach (University of Oldenburg).

ZooKeys

ZooKeys is a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal covering zoological taxonomy, phylogeny, and biogeography. It was established in 2008 and the editor-in-chief is Terry Erwin (Smithsonian Institution). It is published by Pensoft Publishers.

ZooKeys provides all new taxa to the Encyclopedia of Life on the day of publication.

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