Thoughts of the Day

Jan 22 2014 Published by under #FWDAOTI

I'm looking at the table of contents of a journal that, as many of them do, is going through a bout of hand wringing over it's impact factor.

Three article titles in and...I'm fighting to keep my eyes open. FFS, get some more interesting titles.

Second, and this is the big one, just about every frigging article screams "We couldn't get this into Nature Neuroscience or Neuron so we're dumping it here". Sorry, but when you are positioned with a scope that is nearly identical to other journals of much higher JIF, this is what happens. Your JIF gradually swirls the drain.

8 responses so far

  • Bam294 says:

    FWIW, Playboy is mostly about the pix Ted.

  • Dr Becca says:

    Sooooooo.......J Neuroscience?

    Also curious: what about a title screams "we tried to get this in somewhere higher?"

  • drugmonkey says:

    it's not just the title either. I'm scanning the articles......

  • Erickttr says:

    When you review, do you ever recommend a different title? I have done that several times because the titles' scopes overstated the scope of the experiments. Happened to me last time too, the instructions to authors said title should not be a complete sentence ....reviewer said it was too broad, changed to a complete sentence ... accepted ... editor prob doesn't even know the author instructions. Never for interest level though. There's something to be said for presenting your papers at group meetings (not just "lab" meeting), more pressure to make an interesting title if you have to stand up in front of your peers with it on a giant screen behind you. Of course, no one "has time" for that.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Occasionally. Title is as fair game as anything else. I've had reviewers insist we had to change one of ours too.

    Complete sentence thing....maybe at the copy edit stage? seems vaguely familiar for one journal or other.

  • gingerest says:

    Erickttr, I've had it recommended that I change a title (and I did), and as reviewer I've remarked on titles that exceeded the scope of the paper. I sympathize even when I'm the reviewer, though - sometimes the paper you end up with after all your co-authors and the reviewers have had their go isn't the one you first thought you were writing (and that you've been presenting and re-drafting under the original title).

    Some overlap in scope is inevitable, and even good, but when the scope is basically the same, the lower-IF journal is going to lose (because that journal exists because the more glamorous one can only publish so much and can afford to be fussy).

  • anonymous postdoc says:

    I have been harping on the boringness of J Neuroscience titles for at least a couple of years now. When I was a graduate student I felt like the titles sounded impressive, but as I have experienced incremental gains in savvy-ness, they just seem pompous and dull.

    Also, the review burden is not worth the IF. I have had an easier time getting things into NPP, and it has a better IF to boot. That is artificial, I know, based on review articles, and does not reflect some of the grandfathered-in prestige of a JN paper, but recall that I am a peon trying to play the game/get a seat at the adults table. Also that old-timey JN prestige is slipping even faster than I thought, sounds like.

  • Who cares about JIFs...can't we move onto altmetrics already?! These damn journals need to catch the hell up and start making such stats accessible already...

    Progress in science really does happen one funeral at a time....maybe we can knock off a few editors...

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