- If you have some great work, submitting to high-impact journals like Science/Nature is fine – even though the chances of acceptance are low. The whole process usually makes for a better paper.
- Traditional society-based journals are great outlets: they are well respected in the community and are frequently scanned for papers by many scientists. If you publish there, folks know you have received a rigorous and critical evaluation of your science from the perspective of its rigor AND importance.
- Rejection is an ever-constant companion for ALL scientists trying the above routes and it is good idea to find a coping mechanism that works for you.
- Open access journals are not good options (except as a last restort) because they don’t have the above properties.
This statement is totally correct. Most of us think of PLoS ONE as the archetypal open access journal, which is why I didn't think to initially draw the distinction with "better" open access journals. I therefore added the follow comment after the post.
@JacquelynGill @EcoEvoEvoEco I don't see what this has to do w OA. It is about journal quality, which isn't necessarily correlated with OA.
— ElenaBennett (@ElenaBennett) December 3, 2014
To make sure my opinion is clear, I am FOR open access PAPERS (in whatever journal) and even for open access journals as long as they are selective (e.g., PLoS Biology, Evolutionary Applications). What I am not for is for-profit open access journals where you pay your way to publish pretty much whatever you want. Those are merely profit making machines for publishing houses - they only make money when they publish your paper. PLoS ONE is non-profit but the problem there is that it is (rightly) viewed as a dumping ground for papers that people couldn't get published elsewhere. Thus, it is not good for exposure of your paper, for the influence of your paper (citations), or for your career. It should be a last resort when you are in a hurry or you (or your student) are sick of trying other places. Indeed, that is how many people already view it and you should too or people will think that was the case for your paper even if you submitted there first.
By far the best option as far as everyone (except for many publishers) is concerned is to publish in a respected traditional (often society based) journal and pay for the paper to be open access. Everyone wins.
A number of other comments were along the lines that I had N = 2 for my PLoS ONE papers, which thus doesn't say much beyond my own limited personal experience. This is also entirely true given that the post was from my personal perspective and speaks only to my own experience.
But, wait, it turns out I have more experience than I thought (it seems I even ignore my own PLoS ONE papers). While reviewing another manuscript today, I remembered that I had another PLoS ONE paper - this one published in 2010. Yeeha: N = 3. I figured I better update my stats accordingly. I was a bit worried this time as I quite like the paper and know it has been cited at least a few times, so I was thinking that my new data point would mess up my story. Nope. Same thing - the worst cited of all my papers in that year.
@ucfagls @Protohedgehog @alisonatkin Yes, data speak to only 2 papers but, for me, those 2 are the ones that matter. Doesn't encourage more.
— Andrew Hendry (@EcoEvoEvoEco) November 30, 2014
|Updated stats (adding 2010) for citations (Web of Science) to my PLoS ONE papers in comparison to citations to all my other papers in those years.
@JacquelynGill @ElenaBennett @EcoEvoEvoEco This study gave different picture of cites in PLOS ONE vs ecology journals http://t.co/O4lJVFUSC4
The paper referred to here collected data on citations to 30 empirical ecological papers (selected in a "stratified" manner) published in 2009 in PLoS ONE, in some traditional ecology journals (Ecology, Oikos, Functional Ecology), in Ecology Letters, and in the big boys (Nature, Science). The results were that citations to ecology papers in PLoS ONE were roughly equivalent to those in Ecology and Functional Ecology and higher than those in Oikos. However, the citation rates in PLoS ONE were much lower than in Ecology Letters and the big boys.
— Matt Hodgkinson (@mattjhodgkinson) December 3, 2014
|From Wardle (2012 - Ideas In Ecology and Evolution)
|Citations to "ecology" papers in PLoS ONE and in Ecology in each of three years.