Nul points for top ten journal idea 2

February 4, 2005

The proposal to create lists of top-ten journals will lead to a number of unintended consequences that are as regrettable as they are predictable.

Rejection rates for the top journals are certain to escalate.

In a market as rigged as this, will anyone be surprised when these same publishers impose a premium for a top-ten title? Titles below the magic threshold are more likely to lose than gain subscriptions, further fuelling the cycle of journal cancellations and subsequent price increases.

Of more immediate concern will be the unprecedented power to make or break careers handed to top editors and their boards. Why not go the logical distance and create yet another regulator, OfBoard, to ensure transparency and fairness in the governance of editorial boards and processes? And an ombudsman who can handle the torrent of complaints from authors who believe they were rejected for reasons other than the quality of their manuscripts, and from publishers who believe their businesses were damaged by such overtly anti-competitive practice?

Is all this really worth it for a few dodgy spreadsheets?

Ian Rowlands
Department of information science
City University

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