Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Should we suspect any shameless self-promotion in some Impact Factors?

Selecting the journal for your next submission is a decision with lots of variables:

  • how likely is the journal to find your work "sexy" enough?
  • what is its impact factor?
  • how long does the journal take from acceptance to online/paper publication?
  • how desperate are you to get your paper published?

    Ideally, impact factor would be an objective measurement... We all know, however, that the actual relationship between "real journal impact" and the impact factor is not always perfect: a single paper with many citations in a small journal may increase its IF dramatically, even if all other papers in that journal are less cited than the papers form preceding years; citations may be inflated artificially by the authors self-citing themselves to exhaustion, bad papers may be highly cited (e.g. in refutations), etc.
    I have now found (entirely by accident) a journal that increased its impact factor five-fold from 2009 to 2010. That would be surprising in itself. But the real surprise is that in August 2010, this journal published a paper that has thus far received 37 citations, ALL IN THIS SAME JOURNAL.

    You may check for yourselves in Web of Science.. The paper is

    Aman MJ , Karauzum H , Bowden MG , Nguyen TL (2010) "Structural Model of the Pre-pore Ring-like Structure of Panton-Valentine Leukocidin: Providing Dimensionality to Biophysical and Mutational Data" J. Biomol. Struct. Dyn., 28, 1-12

    This is not the only surprise. Other papers with high citations are:

    Tao Y , Rao ZH , Liu SQ (2010) "Insight Derived from Molecular Dynamics Simulation into Substrate-Induced Changes in Protein Motions of Proteinase K" J. Biomol. Struct. Dyn., 28, 143-157 (36 citations, of which 35 in J. Biomol. Struct. Dyn.)

    Sklenovsky P, Otyepka M (2010) "In Silico Structural and Functional Analysis of Fragments of the Ankyrin Repeat Protein P18(INK4c)" J. Biomol. Struct. Dyn., 27, 521-539 (36 citations, of which 35 in J. Biomol. Struct. Dyn.)

    Zhang JP (2009) "Studies on the Structural Stability of Rabbit Prion Probed by Molecular Dynamics Simulations" J. Biomol. Struct. Dyn., 27, 159-162 (36 citations, of which 31 in J. Biomol. Struct. Dyn. and 4 others are self-citations by the author)

    Chen CYC, Chen YF, Wu CH, Tsai (2008) "What is the effective component in suanzaoren decoction for curing insomnia? Discovery by virtual screening and molecular dynamic simulation " J. Biomol. Struct. Dyn., 26, 57-64 (35 citations, of which 21 in J. Biomol. Struct. Dyn. and 11 others are self-citations by the author)

    Mittal A, Jayaram B, Shenoy S, Bawa TS (2010) "A Stoichiometry Driven Universal Spatial Organization of Backbones of Folded Proteins: Are there Chargaff's Rules for Protein Folding?" J. Biomol. Struct. Dyn., 28, 133-142 (34 citations, of which 33 in J. Biomol. Struct. Dyn.)

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