Following on from last week’s post about the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, Development has now published an editorial about the topic. For those interested, I’m re-posting (a slightly edited version of) the text of that editorial here – this outlines our stance on the Declaration and explains how we are complying with the guidelines laid out for Publishers. We’d be happy to hear your feedback on this!
Editorial: The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment
On December 16, 2012, a group of editors and publishers of scholarly journals gathered together at the Annual Meeting of The American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco, USA to discuss current issues related to how the quality of research output is evaluated, and how the primary scientific literature is cited.
The impetus for the meeting was the consensus that impact factors for many cell biology journals do not accurately reflect the value to the cell biology community of the work published in these journals; this also extends to other fields in the biological sciences, such as developmental biology. The group therefore wanted to discuss how to better align measures of journal and article impact with journal quality.
There is also an alarming trend for the citation of reviews over primary literature, driven in part by space limitations that are imposed by some journals. As this contributes to lower citation indices for journals that focus mainly on primary literature, the group discussed ways to combat this trend as well.
The outcome of this meeting and further discussions is a set of recommendations that is referred to as the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, published in May 2013. You can read the entire Declaration here: http://www.ascb.org/SFdeclaration.html.
The Company of Biologists (COB) and its journals Development, Journal of Cell Science, Disease Models & Mechanisms, The Journal of Experimental Biology and Biology Open fully support this initiative. In concordance with the recommendations, all COB journals provide impact factor alongside a variety of other journal-based metrics; request an author contribution statement for all research articles; place no restrictions on the reuse of reference lists; and have no limitations on the number of references. The COB is also working with its online hosts, HighWire, to provide a range of article-level metrics.
It is our hope that this initiative will help to ensure that research assessment remains informed and fair.