It’s time for a customer satisfaction service for scientific journals
Scholarly journals make Herculean efforts to process a mounting number of article submissions in a timely manner whilst ensuring the publication of the most relevant research. Although we researchers praise journals that privilege scientific integrity and significance, evidence suggests that this may not always be the case, thus contributing to author dissatisfaction and a growing chasm between academics and journals. Here, we contend that a system that allows researchers to rank journals collectively based on their peer-review experiences would help bring the billion-dollar publishing industry closer to its main workforce and end consumers. We propose an online platform akin to others currently available to customers to rate products based upon peer recommendations and satisfaction scores (e.g. www.amazon.com or www.tripadvisor.com). Such a system would provide researchers with a formal feedback mechanism on editorial practices, thus offering complementary criteria for authors when deciding which journal to submit their research. As a consequence, this system would reduce the outsized influence Journal Impact Factors have on science. Moreover, by allowing researchers to publicly denounce editorial misconduct and malpractices, discrimination, or lack of transparency, the new system would increase journal editorial accountability, and promote full disclosure of often elusive or inaccessible peer-review criteria and standards. It would also yield important information on review accuracy and quality, manuscript formatting complexity, and real processing times. Since scientific articles can only be submitted to one journal at a time, it is crucial that researchers have access to differential indicators of journal performance and reputation to ensure they make the most informed decisions.
Attachment: Ferreira___Delibes-Mateos__2017_final.pdf (642 KB)