THE COMMUNICATION SCHOLARS’ VIEWS ON QUALITY IN ACADEMIC JOURNALS AN INTERNATIONAL SURVEY
Université Libre de Bruxelles (BELGIUM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 6921-6922 (abstract only)
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:We conducted in 2010 an online survey with respondents (n=1047) who were doing research in media and communication studies and who belonged to three major international scholarly associations in these fields (ICA, ECREA, IAMCR). The research aims at exploring the views of a specific but interdisciplinary community of SSH (Social Sciences and Humanities) scholars about the very notion of quality in academic journals. After a short presentation of the survey context, methodology and response rate, the research main results will be presented and analyzed in the following sequence:
1. Journals titles used to document the research and the teaching
The stated lack of consensus about any obvious top journals short list within the surveyed scholarly community will be related to the fragmented disciplinary nature of media and communication studies (and especially to the coexistence of multiple sub-specialities and quasi-paradigms therein, as it is also the case with many other SSH disciplines). Though a brief editorial outline of the journals which are perceived as the « most prestigious » will be drawn, as well as a comparison between the titles mostly cited as « used to document the research » and those mostly cited as « used to document the teaching ».
2. Relevance of journals quality criteria
The surveyed quality criteria - quantitative (e.g. Impact Factor or number of issues per year) as well as more qualitative ones (e.g. journal focus or refereeing process) - will be presented in their order of perceived relevance. One of the main findings will lie in the stated pervasiveness of some of the most traditional criteria of scholarly quality (i.e. double blind review process and indexation in bibliographical tools), even if the criterion of internationality seems to take a growing importance on different levels, attesting to the extension to the social sciences and the humanities of the usual STM conception of a top journal as an international one.
3. Scholars’ views about journals quality
The quality criteria will then be considered in relation with the scholarly communication process and related either to the internal organization of the journal (editorial process, type of contributors, nature of the contributions), to its external dissemination (accessibility, readership) or to some contextual parameters which could affect the journal reputation (journal history, kind of funding and publishing). The views expressed by the respondents about the notion of quality in relation to each of those three categories, as inferred from their perception of relevant quality criteria, will then be examined in further details by analyzing their degree of (dis)agreement with a series of corresponding assertions.
4. Geographical variations
The main statistically significant variations in the researchers’ views on journals quality likely to be correlated to the respondents’ working localities will be shortly presented. They mainly relate to the quality criteria bound to the internationality, the use of other languages than English and the bibliometrics.
We will conclude our presentation by discussing some possible guidelines for the assessment of scholarly publications in SSH, stressing the possibly existing gap between the communication scholars' perception and use of academic journals, as stated by the survey, and some research evaluation policies already in use.
Keywords: Quality, Scholarly journals, Social sciences and humanities.