April – June 2022 Edition | Volume 2, Issue 2
The support of the Brazilian National System of Science, Technology, and Innovation (SNCTI) depends on the flow of scientific knowledge, with journals having the role of amplifying the dissemination of this knowledge to society. Although we can measure a journal’s impact by the number of citations, we often do not notice the other effects triggered by its access and use. These effects include creating collaborative research networks, new learning in educational processes in graduate and undergraduate programs, the stimulation of creativity through the generation of new ideas for research, and the combination of new knowledge for research and innovation based on scientific and technological diffusion. Catalytic to this flow of knowledge – and even new academic and non-academic experiences that are unleashed – is recognizing the value of scientific and technological journals for developing the SNCTI.
The nature of scientific journals implies a continuous search for relevance, and they face many challenges in this mission. ANPAD carried out a perception survey with the editors-in-chief of Brazilian scientific journals focused on management to draw an overview of the challenges faced in terms of positioning, indexing, and scientific management. The respondents were invited to contribute and help develop our scientific community. The main results of this survey are reported below, and we hope they can contribute to raising awareness in our community regarding the journal’s practices and challenges.
THE EDITORS-IN-CHIEF’S PERCEPTION OF MANAGEMENT JOURNALS
The survey was conducted from October to December 2021 with a sample of 101 editors-in-chief of scientific journals focused on management (obtained from a universe of 325 journals in this field). The descriptive statistics analysis built on the editor’s contributions revealed opportunities and challenges in the following dimensions: management systems and indicators, editorial policy and ethics, editorial flow, indexing, reach and internationalization, team, and funding.
The management system and indicators dimension represents an opportunity since more than 80% of respondents declared to use the OJS (Open Journal Systems) as the primary system for submission, evaluation, editing, and dissemination. In addition, the respondents are familiar with the main impact and management metrics. The most cited impact metrics were H5-Index, Google citations, Spell citations, Spell impact factor, H-Spell. As for the management metrics, the most cited were the number of submissions, submission-approval time, acceptance/rejection rate, desk-review rejection rate, and the authors’ regional distribution.
Regarding the editorial policy and ethics dimension, more than 95% of journals provide ethical guidelines on the website for authors, reviewers, and editorial staff. Of these, in a multiple-choice question, 48.5% use the ANPAD Ethics Manual, and 32% use the COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) as primary sources, offering access to these documents on their website. This result indicates that journals are concerned and prepared regarding this dimension. In the editorial flow dimension, 53% of the respondents declared no delay in publishing the issues, 21% declared a delay of one month, 10% declared a delay of two months, 10% declared a delay of three or more than four months, and 6% chose not to respond. The average time between submission and approval was 200 days. The average rejection rate was 51%, and average numbers in 2021 show 120 manuscripts received and 31 published.
In the indexing dimension, the sample adopted indexing technologies (DOI, Crossref, ORCID, XML, and Crossmark) and indexing bases (Google Scholar, Spell, Redalyc, Scielo, Web of Science, Scopus), in addition to DOAJ ( Directory of Open Access Journals). Regarding the technologies for indexing, 82% use DOI, 67% use Crossref, 57% use ORCID, 47% use XML, and 15% use Crossmark. Regarding the journal’s indexing bases, 75% are indexed in Google Scholar, 58% are indexed in Spell, 38% are indexed in Redalyc, 10% are indexed in Scielo, 10% are indexed in WOS, and 8% are indexed in Scopus.
The results showed that 69% of journals are indexed in DOAJ. It is worth observing that indexing in more advanced databases is a development and learning process. When asked about their knowledge of indexing requirements and procedures on a scale from 1 (I don’t know) to 5 (I know very well), the editors presented scores between 3.10 and 3.67.
For the reach and internationalization dimension, we observed the editors’ perception of their journal’s reach and potential to increase its scope at national and international levels. Also, the survey assessed: the degree of participation of editors, referees, and foreign authors; links with publishers; having an English version of the journal’s website; publication of abstracts in English; and acceptance of articles written in languages other than Portuguese. The data shows a greater perception of national reach (8.44) and the potential to expand the national reach (8.75) for 2022 (on a scale from 0 to 10). The average in the Ibero-American context (Latin America, Central America, and Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries) was 4.86 (current range) and 6.13 (potential), and the average in the other regions worldwide was 2.60 (current range) and 4.42 (potential).
The participation of foreign editors, reviewers, and authors in the journals showed that 91% have no more than 25% participation of foreign editors, and 40% do not have foreign editors at all; 90% have no more than 25% foreign reviewers, and 37% have between 1% and 5% foreign reviewers. For 88% of the journals, no more than 25% of the articles published were written with the participation of foreign authors, and 37% published articles with this characteristic at a rate between 1% and 5%. Finally, in 94% of the journals, no more than 25% of articles were written only by foreign authors (45% of journals published between 1% and 5%).
Regarding the journals’ intention to connect to a national or international publisher by the end of 2022, 13% are already linked, 60% do not intend to have such a connection, 10% have this intention, and 17% chose not to respond. Regarding the level of adoption of English on the website, 59% declare that they already have a clear and understandable website for the global audience, 24% do not or are interested but do not have the financial resources to implement this measure, and 11% are in implementation. The others are journals that do not have a website in English but are interested and have the means to produce one (2%), do not have and are interested (2%), and did not respond (2%).
In this context, scientific journals already demonstrate readiness to receive articles in a foreign language, with 94% already accepting articles in English, 80% in Spanish, 7% in French, and 93% already publishing abstracts in English.
Therefore, in the reach and internationalization dimension, there is a greater perception of reach in the national territory and potential for internationalization of journals in the area when they are prepared to receive articles in English and Spanish. Also, it is possible to observe a process of expanding internationalization, considering the interest in offering an English version of the journals’ websites. However, the data points out that increasing the participation of foreign researchers in different roles of the journals is still a challenge to be overcome.
A significant challenge was observed in the team dimension due to the adoption of a lean structure in many journals, where few people accumulate many operational functions. The average support team size is two people, with a maximum of five in 10% of journals. On average, editors engage in other functions of the editorial flow according to the percentages as follows, counting on support offices: journal planning and guidelines (86%), analysis of the originality of articles (70%), article review (70%), article formatting (56%), metadata tagging (34%), graphic production (34%), article indexing (56%), website updating (38%).
Finally, the funding dimension demonstrated that institutions fund 50% of the journals in the sample; 35% count on parent organizations (mantenedores); 9% charge fees; 3% are funded by foundations; commercial entities finance 2%; and 1% adopt a subscription model.
The main difficulties and management challenges declared by the editors in open questions led to the following categories: (33%) Internationalization, (32%) Funding, (25%) Indexing, (21%) Management-Structure, (21%) Engagement, (7%) Evaluation, (7%) Dissemination, and (3%) lack of recognition. Moreover, 95% of scientific journals in the area list insufficient institutional support for their development, evidencing a greater need for appreciation and institutional engagement on the part of the community and a more intense relationship among editors.
PRELIMINARY DIAGNOSIS OF THE SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT JOURNALS’ IMPACT
The descriptive diagnosis highlighted the need to understand the determining factors affecting the impact of scientific journals to promote their development. The factorial structure of the editors’ perception is presented below seeking to improve this diagnosis. We also present an emerging strutctural model of the path to influence the development of scientific journals focused on management.
About the factorial structure
In the exploratory factor analysis, six factors were identified with statistically significant results and adequate factor loadings of the editors’ perception: knowledge of indexing, perception of international reach, the importance attributed to indexing, internationalization, and advanced indexing. Three main factors were highlighted in this analysis, as they were the most significant in the relationships for the structural model.
Regarding knowledge of indexing,i.e., knowing the requirements and procedures for indexing in databases and directories (Table 1), the respondents indicated being more familiar with Google and DOAJ and less familiar with more advanced databases such as Web of Science and Scopus. However, the standard deviations of the averages reveal accentuated heterogeneity of this level of knowledge.
Regarding internationalization (Table 2), it is observed that this is still a development point for journals (averages between 2.58 and 2.27), and increasing the involvement of foreign editors in the scientific journals is still a challenge.
The advanced indexing factor (Table 3) revealed the journals’ lowest scores, measuring the degree of progress and investments necessary to place the journals in these indexes. Exploratory factor analysis helped to understand the data structure, triggering the proposition of an emerging structural model to understand the scientific journals’ determining impact factors.
An emerging structural model – identified results
The importance of an exploratory model to investigate the impact of management journals is justified by the expansion of the perception of the most significant factors. The model was proposed and tested after selecting dimensions and variables with statistically significant relationships. The variables considered to measure impact were: demand (measured by the number of articles received from the scientific journal); Google H5-index (working as a bibliometric reference of citations of articles published in the journal in the last five years); and Qualis – Brazilian classification for scientific journals (in this case, journals classified from B5 to A2 and that published articles in 2017). The first level determining factor variables were maturity, measured by the year of the journal, the dimensions emerging from the factor analysis; advanced indexing, knowledge of indexing, and publishing issues with delay, measured by the average delay time. The second level determining factors considered the variables size of the support team, the Internationalization dimension (also emerging from the factorial analysis), the level of adoption of English on the website and the manuscripts’ rejection rate, collected in the survey with editors. Table 4 summarizes the variables of the structural model.
The path analysis showed that the demand for a scientific journal is explained by these determining factors 38% of the time, whether from first or second level impact metrics. The first one is the H5-index journals with a higher Google H5-index tend to attract more articles (B = 0.617, p ≤ 0.01). Qualis also influence the Google H5-index – journals with higher Qualis tend to have a higher H5-index (B = 0.756, p ≤ 0.01). Journal maturity is crucial for Qualis: newer journals tend to have a lower Qualis, and journals that have been publishing for many years tend to have a higher Qualis (B = -0.462, p ≤ 0.01). In this case, maturity is the factor that most impacts Qualis, and it also reflects the slow and gradual process of consolidation of a journal, from the dissemination of scientific knowledge, readings, and citations, which constitutes its quality over time. Advanced indexingis crucial for Qualis: journals that adopt advanced indexers such as Scopus, Web of Science, and Scielo also tend to have higher Qualis and H5-index since such indexing increases the capillarization of the journal at an international level. This was the second dimension with the most significant impact on the Qualis score (B = 0.224, p ≤ 0.005). Knowledge of indexingis crucial for Qualis, given its relationship with advanced indexing. This positive relationship (B = 0.210, p ≤ 0.013) shows that the degree of knowledge of indexing practices, especially in advanced databases, is essential to developing the journal. The delay in publishing the issues contributes negatively to Qualis (B = -0.213, p ≤ 0.003), evidencing the role of management and editorial flow and the commitment of reviewers and authors to the deadlines.
The first level determining factors are strategic elements editors must observe, but this analysis also proposed the examination of level determining factors. The results showed that more structured journals (which is reflected in the size of the support team) tend to present a higher degree of maturity (B = -0.228, p ≤ 0.039). Internationalization(degree of participation of foreign editors, referees, and authors) contributes positively to advanced indexing, which is later reflected in quality measures (B = 0.249, p ≤ 0.008). The manuscripts’ rejection rate also showed a significant relationship with the delay in publishing the issues – journals that adopt a higher rejection rate tend to have greater assiduity in publishing issues (B = -0.234, p ≤ 0.004). The level of adoption of English on the website was also a statistically significant predictor of knowledge of indexing (B = 0.454, p ≤ 0.000). In this case, the interpretation is that this variable reflects, to some extent, the linguistic competence of the scientific journal, which is a predictor for advanced indexing knowledge since services are usually in a foreign language. Figure 1 shows the final composition of the structural model.
The emerging structural model introduces an original perspective of the determining factors. However, it also raises new questions about other factors to be investigated, or measured differently, such as the journal’s funding. In summary, the relationships indicate that increasing the impact and quality of the journal (demand, Google H5-index, Qualis) is also a function of the journal’s degree of maturity, its efforts in advanced indexing, learning about indexing in advanced databases, and assiduity in publishing its issues, as first level determining factors. It was observed that investments in management-structure (size of the support team) and Internationalization are essential, at the same time that editors declared them as critical challenges. The scientific journal must have command of English to carry out the indexing process and has to adequately manage the manuscripts’ rejection rate (number of articles received versus published). This implies decisions in the desk-review phase, which have implications for the entire editorial flow, the allocation of reviewers, and the time spent, which converge in preparing the issue within the deadline.
CHALLENGE FOR BRAZILIAN MANAGEMENT JOURNALS
The results of the diagnosis of scientific journals at the national level, carried out in 2021 by ANPAD, inspire the following questions: Where do we want to be in ten years? What should be the desired landscape of the scientific journal system in management for the future? It is necessary to analyze the present potentialities and challenges in this horizon. Among several factors for discussion, the diagnosis highlighted the knowledge of requirements and procedures in indexing databases and journals. Therefore, the role of learning and sharing experiences on this topic is critical for the development of scientific journals.
Operationally, the work of editors involves maintaining a good editorial flow and advancing the journal’s indexing mechanisms, which requires learning and assimilating new technologies. Collaboration with various internal and external areas is also crucial to the institution. Providing knowledge of the requirements and procedures of these operations via networks and training programs is an important support mechanism for hundreds of publishers. This resource enables the qualification of scientific journals by advancing the process of indexing databases and directories with less “trial and error.” Therefore, it is suggested to design programs in collaboration between ANPAD and other institutions that involve tutorials, training, discussion groups, and exchange of experiences in advanced indexing. This recommendation extends to the organization of the editorial flow and strategies for internationalization, points emerging from both the descriptive diagnosis and the model.
Brazilian journals focused on management have an excellent audience in Portuguese-speaking countries nowadays. They play an important role for young researchers and professors who are still consolidating their careers. Thinking about policies for consolidated and emerging journals and those with a more internationalized focus – whether in Latin America or beyond – is a perception that permeates the editors’ statements and is also reflected in the journal’s performance. Although a select group of more mature journals has already found its way, the future of more recently established scientific journals depends on understanding their potential and designing their strategies as part of a system, not only in an isolated way. Therefore, it is necessary to recognize the potential of national journals and jointly discuss ways and systemic strategies to overcome these challenges with all stakeholders. The role of disseminating scientific knowledge through management journals is critical for developing science and organizations. The perpetuity of journals is an object of discussion, planning, and action.
However, while strategies for process-level qualification are important, it is also necessary to consider the context around this process. A journal is part of the National System of Science, Technology, and Innovation, supporting the dissemination of scientific knowledge. The qualitative evidence collected during the survey through the editors’ statements indicates a history of devaluation of scientific journals as a whole, also observed by the lack of institutional support in most journals. In addition, it is crucial to address the challenge of engaging reviewers, who are the pillar of a successful peer-review process. Essential for publishing issues assertively and on time, the reviewers’ work has a global impact on the journal’s quality, as observed in the tested model. Therefore, the discussion of strategies and actions to engage a community of national and international reviewers – especially in contexts where reviewers suffer work overload – is critical for the continuity of scientific journals, from a look at the system as a whole (since the same reviewer contributes with several journals). Therefore, it is important to understand what kind of recognition a reviewer seeks at different stages of their scientific trajectory. This suggestion is supported by research on the motivationfor evaluating scientific articles.
Furthermore, for this entire system to remain in operation, it is necessary to discuss the funding model of both consolidated and emerging journals. Promoting forums to discuss such models is strongly recommended, especially in the context of Brazil supporting many scientific journals that are already open access, high-quality, and supported by graduate studies. The respondents highlighted many management challenges that journals will have to face in the coming years, and they are related to internationalization – supporting an editorial body of excellence, funding, indexing – in the face of all requirements and costs, management-structure, engagement, evaluation, dissemination, and lack of recognition by the institutions and funding agencies. In summary, amid a scenario of competition with foreign journals and progressive budget cuts, there is the challenge of professionalizing scientific journals, which operate, in the expressive majority, from a voluntary service of their editorial board.
Therefore, this diagnosis brings important elements to be debated in the Scientific Management Community regarding the evaluation, qualification, and development of journals considering their contribution to strengthening SNCTI. We thank all the editors who participated in the survey for sharing their time and information, which allowed the generation of new insights and elements that help rethink the directions and the future of the system of scientific journals focused on management.
Text and research conducted by Professors Mateus Panizzon (PPGA/PPGEP/UCS), Rafael Barreiros Porto (PPGA/UnB) and Rodrigo Assunção Rosa (PPGA/UP).