PERCOLATOR, Research that matters.
A study published by three Canadian researchers has identified a two-decade-long trend in which the world’s top-ranked scientific journals are slowly losing their share of the most-cited articles.
The study, published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, found that in 1990, 45 percent of the top 5 percent of the most cited articles were published in journals whose impact factor was in the top 5 percent—publications like Cell, Nature, Science, and the Journal of the American Medical Association. By 2009, that rate had fallen to 36 percent, the authors found.
“We’re still using the high-impact journals, but we are using them less and less,” said Vincent Larivière, an assistant professor of library and information sciences at the University of Montreal, who did the research with two colleagues at the University of Quebec at Montreal.
The team based its findings on an analysis of more than 820 million citations involving 25 million articles published from 1902 to 2009.
The findings, Larivière said, suggest that the main value of scientific journals remains the peer-review process.