The “SCI” myth should have been broken to uncover the true face behind the “God’s Journal”

According to the Ministry of Education website news, recently, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Science and Technology issued “on the regulation of the use of SCI papers related indicators of higher education to establish a correct evaluation orientation of a number of opinions”, to break the paper “SCI first” put forward a clear request. “Opinion” stressed that to accurately understand the SCI paper and related indicators, a deep understanding of the paper “SCI first” brought about by the negative impact.

At the same time, actively explore the establishment of scientific evaluation system, promote the return of colleges and universities to the academic heart, purify the academic atmosphere, optimize the academic ecology.

SCI (Scientific Citation Index) is a popular scientific and technological literature search tool in the world, which ranks periodicals by counting a large number of citations to obtain quantitative indicators such as the influence factors of periodicals. According to current international practice, the academic level and the quality of papers of academic journals are generally measured by the influence factor values of academic journals. Uncle Ku observed that there is a general cult of influence factors in academia.

In fact, the myth of the “influence factor” should have been broken long ago! Changjiang Xiaoyuan, a professor at Shanghai Jiaotong University and the first academy of science and science, recently explained the “influence factor” game in detail at a series of science and technology lectures jointly organized by the Department of Science and Technology and Medical History of Peking University and the National Research Institute.

How to break the “influence factor worship”, you may wish to systematically understand the influence factor’s origin. This article is compiled from Professor Jiang Xiaoyuan’s lecture report.

Texts . . . Jiang Xiaoyuan, Professor, Lecture, Shanghai Jiaotong University, First Dean of the Institute of Scientific History and Science

Edited . . . Wang Yi Lookout Think Tank

This article is an original article of the Lookout Think Tank, if you need to reproduce the source of the lookout think tank (zhczyj) and author information, otherwise it will be strictly investigated for legal liability.


Influence factors of “unidentified consciousness”

Let’s start with the Impact Factor game. Influence factor is an important indicator of our evaluation of the influence of academic journals, which seems to be a “silent understanding” of the world’s academic circles, and people are unaware of it.

Why are nature, Science, The Lancet and other journals, which we call the top “gods”? Many people answer edited on the grounds that the factor was high. Nature’s influence factors are often around 40, while The Lancet is often above 50.

It is a strange thing that a publication’s high influence factor can make people worship it. Because the influence factor is actually a game, we take the “Han Chunyu incident” as an example, his “Nature Biotechnology” publication is nature’s sub-issue, that year (2016) the impact factor value of the sub-publication is 43, Higher than Nature (38.138). Later, because Han Chunyu’s experiment can not be repeated, and finally he chose to withdraw the manuscript.

I have an American student with me to read a Ph.D., but he is a Chinese and is very familiar with the domestic situation. At first he was skeptical when he heard that Han Chunyu was doing the work of “no prize grade”. He added, “It’s going to cost a lot of money, and that’s not a good thing.” I said that the study was in Nature Biotechnology, and he said, “Oops, the factor is so high”, so he believed.

This example shows that, when you do not understand the situation, when you hear that an article was sent in a high impact factor publication, they “knee down”, think that must be very strong. The influence factor does have a big impact on us, but we need to know what it is all about.


The private sector that changed its name and resold it.

When it comes to influence factors, we think of the SCI database, which has been collected from the first few hundred publications to more than 9,000 copies. The JCR report (Journal Citation Report, Citation Journal Reports), published in 1975, is a ranking based on the SCI database, based on the number of factors cited in the paper.

Many people in The country have taken it for granted that the “SCI” database, the JCR report, the influence factor, etc. are all published by internationally renowned intelligence agencies, in fact, the agency that published the report is a private commercial company, but the registrant named the company “Scientific Intelligence Institute”.

Garfield, who founded the business company, told others in his later years why he called his cultural company the Institute of Scientific Intelligence because people would think it was a “not-for-profit government agency”, which was very effective in developing countries.

In fact, this is a business behavior, Garfield himself is through this venture accumulated wealth to become rich. Before he was named the Institute of Scientific Intelligence, he tried other names, such as the Garfield Society for a while, and it didn’t work as well as “pseudoscience.”

As a private enterprise, it has a brilliant track record: in 1960 the company changed its name to the Institute of Scientific Intelligence, or ISI; Social ScienceS Index, expanded to the humanities; the JCR report was launched in 1975, which is the most important, influence factor ranking game from here; and in 1978, it was launched with The A and HCI, expanding to the arts and more.

But what many people don’t know about: In 1964, the Institute for Scientific Intelligence sold a 20 percent stake in Wall Street Ventures, and regretted the sale of Garfield because he was financially ill and needed to sell a stake to ease it. In 1988, he sold more than 50 per cent of the shares to JPT Publishing, which became a controlling stake, and then Thomson Reuters acquired JPT (1992) as the “controlling shareholder of the Institute of Scientific Intelligence”. Until 2016, it was resold to its current owner, Canadian Corevian.

An “international authoritative scientific institution” that many in the country imagined was resold three times. Everyone “knee worship” the object is sold to sell, how embarrassing? You think it’s so sacred, it’s actually being sold, and that’s proof of its private nature. After the third resale in 2016, there was a gradual disonire of its private nature.


The magic of the formula

Originally playing ranking games on the river is more “rogue” behavior, but Garfield is really a talent. The ranking game has since profoundly influenced the academic ecology of the world, something Garfield himself certainly didn’t expect.

Let’s talk about how to manipulate the influence factors. This has nothing to do with the private sector, and a public body can also operate.

Start with a simple historical scenario in which Two publications, Nature and Science, played a very special role at the beginning of the influence factor. There was a lot of disagreement about the introduction of influence factors in the academic community at first, when Garfield had written extensively about influencing factors in both publications, and there seemed to be an unspoken “complicity” between Garfield and Nature, which had never published articles that had objections to the influence factor.

The formula that originally affected factors is not the same as what is now used. In 1975, Garfield revised the formula. Nature and Science, as initially defined, were quite low, but as soon as he modified it, the ranking scored significantly. What’s more, Garfield has modified the definition to indicate the direction of a manipulative influence factor for the magazine. As to whether he had “conspiracy” with Nature and Science, we don’t know, nor is there evidence. The so-called heart does not declare, we see clearly on the line, do not use to speak out. Now Nature is calling for resistance to influence factors, which we’re not going to discuss today.

As shown in the figure, the total number of citations for the “source text” published in the first two years of a journal in the current year, divided by the total number of “referenceitems” articles published by the journal in the previous two years, is the number of influence factors for the year of the journal.

Note the wording of the molecular part of this formula. The term “source text” in the molecular part is in fact “all articles published in the magazine”, while the “source text” is divided into “reference” and “non-reference” two categories, in general, “reference” corresponds to the academic text, “non-reference” corresponds to non-academic text. That is, the molecular portion includes all references produced in the first two years of the journal’s text in that year.

The trick here is that if you make your publication a reference very few, say, only one Article (academic paper) in a journal, the denominator of the reference is “1”, but all the references produced by all other texts appear on the molecule as “source text”. So, as long as as possible to make the denominator small, the molecule to make big, your influence factor will go up.

Most of the scholars, media and publications in China are wrong in their understanding of the influence factor formula. Our Chinese habit is, for example, to run an academic journal of the first issue of 10 articles, we will basically become Article (academic papers), such as the North University newspaper, now casually looking for a certainly the vast majority of Article, perhaps occasionally once or twice will be published important meeting presentations and so on. We Chinese that “source text” is equivalent to “reference”.

We went to Chagarfield’s database of journals after revising the influence factor formula in 1975 and found that Nature, Science, The Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine and other journals were all the same, gradually reducing the number of Articles since 1975, and making the number of references smaller. One of the most dramatic reductions was the Lancet.

For western academics, the “two-year period” in the formula was controversial at the beginning. Some people have done research, for many people in the literary publications, the next ten years will produce a very large citation, so two years is unreasonable. As to why the time span selected in the formula is two years, this is a branch problem, we now solve the main problem – how to use this formula to manipulate the influence factor.


Amphibious Shortcut: Reducing Denominator

How exactly? Now, Nature has about three or four Articles on each issue, and the rest is not, but so much of the rest will also produce references that you can’t think of only Article. We have strict statistics that also produce high citations for non-Article content, so as long as the number of Article is reduced, the value of the influence factor goes up.

Randomly selected catalogue of nature magazines

The publication sits in this way is called “amphibious publication”: both academic and non-academic. Nature, Science, The Lancet, and the New England Journal of Medicine do just that — academic texts account for only about 10 percent of the magazine’s total. Therefore, the academic text is the “reference item”, the non-academic text is the “non-reference item”, all the articles belong to the “source text”.

There are few amphibious publications in China: academic journals are all “Articles”, popular science journals, and so is not an Article. Therefore, in China popular science publications obviously can not enter the game, because Article is “zero”. Chinese think that other people’s journal is also done, in fact, people’s way of doing magazines have a variety of “cat-tired”.

We’ve seen that for many years the TOP20 in the influence factor game around the world has barely changed, all internal changes. Of the top 20, 10 were “amphibious publications”.

Some western scholars have proved that the contribution of “non-referenced items” to influencing factors is 6% to 50%, while the Lancet is higher than 50%, which is a dominant contribution. In addition, “non-referenced items” have a relatively complex implicit contribution to the influence factor. For example, publishing academic texts on a well-known communications platform, and publishing the same academic text in a purely academic journal, produces the same number of citations and readings.

A curious example is the New York Times: it picks up several academic texts each month and puts the entire Article in the newspaper. In general, this Article New York Times readers don’t look at it. But after a year of a New York Times strike, the newspaper had to shrink during the strike, so that those pages of the article were eliminated, only the Article title appeared. After a while the strike was over, the layout was restored. What conclusiondid this matter after being statistically taken up by researchers?

A medical paper in a medical journal is very limited in reading, but it was published by the New York Times, the number of readingand and citations increased. Nature, Science, The Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, etc. are the equivalent of the New York Times in their respective fields, because they have long run themselves as a very fashionable publication, with a wide readership, so you’re definitely quoting articles on Nature than in the Northern University Journal. High references on . Among the achievements of “high citations” is the implicit contribution of non-academic texts on Nature, why? The simple reason is, back to the New York Times.

What is the New York Times famous for as a well-known communications platform? Is it because of the Article published every month? Most New York Times readers are unlikely to read the Article, which is famous because the New York Times has published a lot of other content that makes the New York Times famous.

By the same token, if Nature were all Article, it wouldn’t have as many readers, so non-referenced items would contribute to the reading and reference of the article.

There’s a science fiction column on Nature, and I wrote an article to tell the reader, but someone came to me and asked me what the motive was. Do you want black Nature?

I said I didn’t want to black it, I just told you it had science fiction on it, and I didn’t say science fiction was bad.

Later, I simply went to translate an anthology of Nature magazine science fiction, to show you that all the novels were on Nature.” After the novel was published, the sci-fi community was very appreciative, and they boasted that I had done a great thing. Because they think science fiction actually has a column on Nature, greatly improving the style of science fiction. But those who knelt at Nature were outraged, saying you were using science fiction to pull Nature down. I specifically picked a novel written by an 11-year-old girl to show them, and an 11-year-old girl wrote an article so that her father could change her to send Nature, so do you think it’s still so sacred?


Review for The King: Getting Big Molecules

Ten of the TOP20 influencers, “The Gods,” are another operation – the review is king, referring to the publication of the Review article. In general, reviews are occasionally published in academic journals, and we see it as a “quasi- academic” article. In China, some schools require graduate students to issue articles to reply, and some schools even include the need to publish “non-review articles.”

Chinese generally see Review as lower than the original Article, the overview is a particularly good thing for influence factors. Studies have shown that a review article is usually quoted several times as high as a normal Article.

Since the Article reference is not that high, don’t do more review. Nature, for example, has a fixed Review article, but because Nature has chosen the amphibious path, “Review” is just a column.

There are many publications think that, since Review’s article citation rate is high, then run a pure Review publication, that each article is very high citation rate. The idea makes sense, and the other 10 in TOP20’s “God’s Journal” are pure Review articles.

For example, the Journal of Clinical Journal of Cancer (CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians), which has been ranked number one in TOP20 for years, has more than 200 values in the influence factor game (244.585 in 2018). What does this publication rely on to make its influence factor so high? It is because every year to send two Reviews, including a story about cancer almost every year is the same, the author is the same, the structure is the same, is the data update on the line, this Review let it often in the “God journal” top.

Then there’s Acta Crystallographica, Section A, which, though not well-known and ranked low, suddenly rose to No. 2 in the world for a “high-profile” review. Everyone was stunned, and a Review article lifted the magazine from 2,000 to No. 2 in the world. But since the year of the influence factor formula dictates that the year of calculation is 2 years after publication, and the third year does not count, then after falling back to 2,000 in the third year, this example shows how interesting we see if we really play the game.

ISI’s definition of Review is that review can be counted in accordance with any of the following four articles, and does not need to be satisfied at the same time: First, more than 100 references, which is easy to satisfy. Second, it is published in the review journal or journal review section. This is a little bit harder, because the journal has to have a column. Third, it’s easy to have an overview or comment on the title. There is, more simply, and fourth, the summary of the article indicates that the article is an overview or comment.

In addition, the impact factor can also “bargain”, although I just said that the JCR report every year to say the influence factor formula, with the text of the formula calculation method, but it hides in the “cat tired”: what is the denominator on the reference, what is non-reference, is determined by ISI. They never tell anyone what principles are based, which may be intentional, so that he can “get up and down.” For example, The Lancet, once it divided the letter into two categories, one of which had to go through peer review. But ISI counts peer-reviewed parts as citations, so the denominator gets bigger, leading to a drop in the rankings by dozens. So, the Lancet panicked, hastened to negotiate with ISI, the result agreed, after peer review part is not counted in the reference, so the Lancet is back in the top of the ranking.

The example of the Public Library Medical Journal (PLOS Medicine) is even more interesting. They contacted Thomson Reuters ISI at the time of the launch, asking for an impact factor. The magazine’s own estimation impact factor should be 11, but only 3 factors are given when jCR reports. When the partner and I talked about it, I joked that if I fought, maybe I’d get an average of 7. In fact, after negotiation, the magazine’s influence factor became 8, which was very close to what I estimated. The Public Library Medical Journal asked ISI to give a calculation of the quotes, but Thomson Reuters has always refused to make it public.

The above summary shows that the two shortcuts to manipulating the existing influence factor rules are “amphibious shortcuts” and “overview snares as kings”.


“High-introduction” can be manufactured

Consider another question: if a publication can decide entirely that its articles are not published, it may only pick “high-introduction” to be published, or even create “high-introduction”.

Chinese think that the academic “public instrument” is a domestic academic community has a common possession of things. For example, the draft, need an expert composed of an editorial board, let the expert review the draft, and the opinion of the draft to a large extent determinethe use of the article.

Nature is not, and they pride themseon solely on their decision not to post. On many occasions, Nature’s former editors have said that they are independent. Where is this independence? Is that you can find experts to review the draft, but do not listen to the expert’s opinion. After the experts said they could publish, but Nature could still be written; Because the expert’s opinion is a reference, it is not possible to decide whether the article will not be sent. This is also the “tradition” Nature has always emphasized.

On this premise, choosing to publish articles that are highly controversial will be highly cited. Why is that? Because if you send a very “ridiculous” article, a lot of people will refute it, every time the refutation will be refuted article to be cited out, there will be a reference, and then the influence factor on the up. So now Nature’s “100-year science classic” and “hundred-year-old” high-cited articles include obvious absurdity. Why? Because absurd things can also produce high-derivation, this also means that the manipulation of the publication’s influence factors does have many ways.

Many people project the perfect imagination of “academic public instrument” in the domestic academic community onto Nature. But it’s not, and Nature’s editor-in-chief doesn’t think it’s glorious at all. The outgoing editor-in-chief often stressed that they never had an editorial board and that Nature’s article was independent, and stressed to the Chinese media that all of Nature’s sub-publications were the same.

“God’s journal” is not engaged in academic “public”, it is arbitrary, the editor and editorial department feel what article is good to send what article, issued after the high introduction, controversy, controversy, after two days of withdrawal can be, you look at Han Chunyu withdrawal, the publication did not have a thing. Chinese think I run a publication, send an article, after two days and withdraw the manuscript, it feels as if I made a mistake, I made a mistake in my work. But they don’t think so, and for the West’s top “god magazines”, withdrawals are common, with Nature and Science often pulling out, and sometimes withdrew groups. The magazine also does not think that the withdrawal will affect the reputation of the publication, in fact, it does not affect.

It’s funny that those who pulled out of the manuscript contributed to the influence factor that year, and now the removed influence factor is not removed? No, even some of the drafts that have been withdrawn have been cited. So don’t assume that it’s fair to post on Nature.

Nature’s official website rules on review

The draft provisions are very clear that the magazine is not composed of a high-level scientist synod and is not affiliated with any society or academic institution, and its decisions are made independently and are not subject to scientific or national assessments held by any individual. What kind of paper attracts a wide audience and is judged by Nature’s editors, not reviewers.


The deceptive nature of “open access”

The so-called open access is this: before to see academic papers to spend money, even in the school library to see is the school to spend money to buy to you, in short, to spend money. Now look no money, published online, quick review can be published. Open access often advertises that “we publish faster, read free, and are environmentally friendly.” What’s the actual situation like?

Take the charge, the traditional publication it is a back-end charge, that is, the publisher of the publication to make the publication printed out to sell to the reader he can get money, and open access is the front-end charge, the publication has not been compiled out, you want to write in my article, the article also pay money, the essence is that the publication has not been compiled, the money has been collected. From a society-based perspective, the cost has not decreased, the cost of front-end charges and back-end charges are similar, or even higher.

There are still a lot of open-access publications that don’t really charge, and it’s alive, because it’s actually published online. So running an open-access publication can actually make the cost very low. But if you look at the “big guys” in open access, there’s a saying that sending an article on their official website costs more than $10,000, it’s impossible unless the rent of an office in New York’s Manhattan building is counted in cost, and an article is published about how much they’re going to cost. There’s an article on Nature itself, and the fact that Nature’s conclusion is clear: the guywho who runs the magazine doesn’t tell you how much money you actually need, so I don’t know.

One thing is certain, only into sci publications can be charged, and the amount of charges and the impact factor value is proportional to the higher the impact factor higher the charge. But the famous “God’s Journal” do not do their own open access, if a “feather is dirty”, these “God’s Journal” has been year-round in the impact factor game on the top 20 altars, they can not do this thing, but can not go with the money, so what is their way? Run sub-magazines and use sub-issues to make money.

Don’t you believe to see Nature’s official website now, the official website listed open access to dozens of sub-issues, here we take Communication Nature as an example, there is Nature’s aura, its impact factor can actually be high to more than 10. Usually we count the open access journal scans for $1,500 to $5,000, but Communication Nature can charge $5,200 because it’s “high-end” and has a high impact factor.

There are also publications that publish tens of thousands of articles a year, which can be cheaper than $1,500. But can you imagine a publication that publishes 30,000 articles a year? There are 10 articles in the first issue of the North University Newspaper, assuming that the North University Newspaper is a monthly magazine, and 120 articles in 12 issues a year. Does the publication, which publishes 30,000 articles a year, expect it to review it carefully?


The infamous “predatory journal”

Predatory journals are even less like words, and they turn into money scams.

Here’s an example I’m going to use the word “infamous.” After 107 Chinese author papers were withdrawn in Oncology Biology that year, it was removed from Springer’s portfolio in 2016. The following year it was cleared of SCI by Corevian, who has become the owner of influence factor publisher ISI (Scientific Intelligence Institute). Now, after getting the ISI influence factor business, He did do some “cleaning” work, cleaning up some of the “unspeakable” publications, but also added a lot of new publications, so now it has 9,000 copies.

There are several main features of predatory journals.

First, the inclusion of well-known scholars on editorial boards without consent and even the falsification of editorial board lists.

Second, the price is not known, accept the article before sending the bill. This practice is common in open-access journals because there is little cost, and it is also called “publishing” by uploading an article to a server.

In addition, often named “international”, “global”, “world” and other titles, forged standard serial number, impact factor values.

The last one is wonderful: the office address doesn’t match the remittance address. These predatory publications are all in tall cities, New York, London, Paris, and when remittances are seen somewhere in the underdeveloped world, you can almost conclude that they are predatory journals.

List of the contribution fees of eight well-known open-access journals, fees, influencing factors and contributions from Chinese authors

This is the eight plundering of China’s scientific research funds particularly large publications, including the previous lying “Oncology Biology”, it can not charge now, because it is no longer a SCI publication, will not charge. Some medical schools in our country have listed them as “water magazines”, and some hospitals and schools found this problem, the provisions in the “four major water magazine” published the cost of articles are not allowed to be reimbursed in the scientific research funds.


Academic Journals in China: The Need for Concept Innovation

When we introduced the influence factor, it had a positive effect, because it worked as a tool for evaluation management. But if we, scholars, simply ask for articles in high-impact factor publications and high-impact factor publications are abroad, it’s not always a good thing that we scholars put their best jobs on top of them. Because the best work is in that publication, it’s better, and in this case, our own scientific journal in China will never be the first.

Chinese now run a lot of English publications, because you want to join the SCI influence factor game must run English publications, into SCI publications now have less than 200, one of the best-run publications influence factor has reached 17. Of course, with the top 20 “God’ magazine” is not far from the law, but considering that in previous years the French publication of the best influence factor is only 8, we can do 17 has not been easy.

A few years ago, the Chinese Academy of Sciences has also raised, said that we can also make some of our publications into Nature, The Lancet, the result was immediately denied, said how can this, not serious, so this opinion quickly retracted. A few people actually thought, and they knew nature had its skills to make it look like it is today, but you’re going to learn here, and most people don’t support it, so it’s hard for you to push it.

In turn, China actually has publications trying to do Nature and Science, but there is a “water and soil disobedience.” Both publications are in Shanghai, one called Nature and one is Called Science, both of which are very sad, they are regarded as popular science publications, circulation is very small, scientists can not see them. Really to do science, they can not be like China National Geographic as many people like, these two publications in some form is a bit like those two corresponding foreign publications, but they have been very marginalized here, indicating that we want to engage in such publications, but also need conceptual innovation.