A crucial component in ensuring the quality of academic research is the publication process. The best quality control of engineering journals is peer review. Sure, peer review isn’t without its flaws, but there’s no better alternative than allowing the most knowledgeable domain specialists on this planet to assess a research paper. Nevertheless, it’s also fair to say that peer review and editorial practices have contributed greatly to the current “replication crisis” in most academic fields. With the ever-increasing competition for media attention, editors and reviewers have become more inclined to accept the fanciful and sensationalized study results rather than the less sensational ones.
Replication studies and null results are boring; rather, the findings have to be new and original to be reviewed by the most prestigious engineering journals. In addition, academic publishing is increasingly recognized by others as a profitable business model. With the digitization of the publishing process, a new online journal could be created by literally anyone with just a few clicks of a mouse and without the need for the infrastructure or skills of a large publishing house. The outcome of all this is – a proliferation of digitized journals that promise rapid publication for payment – usually without quality assessment in the form of rigorous peer review. Those journals that publish articles for a monetary fee without quality control are commonly labeled today as “predatory journals”.
If engineering research articles can be published in points of sale without quality control, how can one recognize a quality journal? Unfortunately, there isn’t any single answer to this question. Some believe that scientometrics, like a journal’s “impact factor” (IF), is a useful indicator of its quality. A journal’s IF is the average number of times the journal’s articles published in the past two years have been cited. Does this number indicate that a particular engineering journal is a quality journal? Used as a singular measure of journal quality – not necessarily. It is well documented that IF is influenced by many factors unrelated to the scientific quality of a journal’s articles, such as –
- technical details
- (e.g., database selection,
- types of articles and the type of discipline,
- the linguistic bias,
- a very volatile number of articles);
- strategic manipulations
- (e.g., quote misconduct,
- IF inflation); and
- conceptual limitations
- (e.g., uneven distribution of citations,
- Matthews effect).
It is evident that post-publication citation indices like the IF journal could be beneficial for a comparison of journals within specific engineering subdisciplines. Partake in a Scopus indexed conference 2022 to learn more about the IF value and its current significance and demerits.
However, they must be accompanied by additional checks and criteria for a fair assessment of the quality of an engineering journal. What could these criteria be? This article describes some principles or standards that we believe might be useful in recognizing the quality of an engineering journal. Most importantly for readers, a fictional engineering journal called “The Journal Of Advanced Biomedical Engineering” is used as an example to explain how to compare each standard so readers can form their own opinions about their favorite journals. Also outlined are measures that journals can implement or will have to continue to implement in order to meet the high standards of a world-class engineering journal.
Spotting The Best Engineering Journals
- Standard #1
Every Good Engineering Journal Is A Specialty Engineering Journal
A good engineering journal publishes relevant and cutting-edge research on a particular engineering topic. In the optimal case, it embodies the best research done in the field. The Journal Of Advanced Biomedical Engineering specializes in experimental research. The Journal Of Advanced Biomedical Engineering publishes innovative, original, and high-quality experimental research. The scope of this engineering journal is defined by experimental methodology, and therefore articles based on experiences from all areas of advanced bio-medical engineering are welcome.
Why should an engineering journal specialize in experimental research? Firstly, it has to be noted that experimentation is the “golden rule” of the search for engineering knowledge. Experiments offer insight into cause and effect through a systematic investigation of the outcome that takes place when a specific factor or variable is manipulated. The design of experimental research must be guided by the max-conmin principle – maximize the systematic variance of the experimental variables under investigation;
control for the variance of systematic error (or “bias”) induced by the confounding variables;
and minimizing the random error variance caused by random variables.
In an ideal experiment, every variable is controlled, and none are uncontrolled, making it easy to distinguish convincing from less convincing experiments.
- Standard #2
- The Best Engineering Journals Are Subject To Rigorous Peer Review Processes
The most fundamental obligation of a scientific journal for quality control is to perform peer review. Editors of The Journal Of Advanced Biomedical Engineering are responsible for (usually) asking two independent specialists in this field of study for their opinions. The arbitrators are given evaluation criteria for the evaluation, and they are asked to render their opinions within 21 days. It is obvious that a well-organized peer review process has by far the greatest impact on the quality of the publication process.
Manuscript files are managed electronically through a manuscript portal that facilitates smooth and timely communication between editors, reviewers, and authors. Most importantly, the Journal Of Advanced Biomedical Engineering encourages its journal editors to make a basic decision on the suitability or otherwise of a manuscript submission after the first round of review. In most cases, a journal editor can evaluate the suitability of a manuscript fairly accurately after the author’s response letter. Therefore, additional revision is only requested at this stage when relatively minor revisions are required for publication. With this policy, the journal aims to limit the number of long review cycles and give authors prompt feedback on the status of their submissions. Also, not all manuscripts are sent for peer review. Manuscript submissions that fall outside the scope of the journal and/or have technical issues are immediately rejected by the editors after consultation with the editorial assistants. About a third of submissions are usually rejected, and in those cases, authors receive detailed feedback on why within days. Managing a scientific journal requires the skill of many parties involved –
Journal editors must be skilled in handling manuscripts, as the peer review system isn’t without its own inherent flaws. Reviews can be biased, inconsistent, and at times even abusive. As a result, this process requires special attention and arbitration on the part of the processing editor. At the Journal Of Advanced Biomedical Engineering, an internationally renowned board of associate editors with strong research experience in different areas of advanced biomedical engineering is in place to oversee proceedings. Register yourself for a high-quality upcoming international educational conference if you’d like to become well-versed with the peer review process.
- Standard #3
Transparency Is The Hallmark Of Every World Class Engineering Journal
- Research involves many decisions, and the transparency of these decisions in publications is vital for every science.
- The journal Experimental PsychologyJournal Of Advanced Biomedical Engineering was an early signatory to the TOP (Transparency and Openness Promotions) guidelines published in 2015.
- These guidelines demand that the raw data underlying the primary findings reported in the article be made available to the public before publication “as open data”.
- The publication of raw data is mandatory, but exceptions are possible when the authors have ethical, personal data security, or intellectual property concerns.
- In such a circumstance, the exceptional circumstances must be clearly stated in the cover letter to publishers.
- In the past, certain publishers provided their own data repositories, where authors could deposit their raw data for public access.
- Many editors, however, have ceased using such repositories to host research data.
- The primary reason is that the files deposited in those data archives are not referenced by a constant identifier, such as a DOI (Digital Object Identifier).
- Persistent identifiers are crucial because they ensure future access to distinct published digital objects, such as text or a dataset.
- Fortunately, public research data repositories offering a DOI for downloads now abound and are available for free.
- At the Journal Of Advanced Biomedical Engineering, authors are asked to use one of these repositories for their future submissions.
- They are also encouraged to deposit research materials (e.g., stimulation materials) necessary to replicate the published experiment.
- Badges (courtesy of the Open Science Framework) in published articles that alert the reader to what content has been made accessible to the public can also be implemented by new journals wishing to ensure a higher degree of transparency.
- For a list of the top 2022 Scopus indexed journals, head over to the IFERP platform now.
- Standard #4
The Best Engineering Journals Place Due Emphasis On Reproducible Data
- As mentioned above, the value of replications has been overlooked in recent years – reviews have been more focused on publishing fancy or alluring findings than valuing replications of established findings.
- Yet truly independent and direct (non-conceptual) replication ensures that a particular effect is repeatable, thus adding to the significance of the effect.
- Therefore, a good engineering journal should publish methodologically sound replication studies regardless of the results.
- An important tool for confirmation research is the pre-registration of study plans.
- The Journal Of Advanced Biomedical Engineering was at the forefront of advanced biomedical engineering journals when it introduced the recorded report as a new type of article.
- A recorded report is a pre-recorded study plan detailing theoretical background, empirical hypotheses, data analysis methods, and strategies for a project planned but not yet conducted.
- The study plan is reviewed by scientific peers, and, most importantly, an editorial decision of acceptance is made before the findings of the experiment are known.
- One of the main benefits of pre-registration is that it eliminates guesswork once results are known and the refusal to publish negative results. In addition, the saved report format is particularly effective for pre-registration of replication studies that are carried out to assess the reproducibility of important study results.
- The Journal Of Advanced Biomedical Engineering recognizes the importance of close replication attempts and encourages researchers to use the recorded report format for this purpose.
- Standard #5
Every Engineering Journal Worth Its Salt Values Research Authors
- While initiatives calling for more transparency and control during the publishing process are welcome, implementing concrete practices more often than not come with costs in the form of enhanced bureaucracy for authors and other parties.
- In order to counter this tendency toward bureaucratization, regular checking of the internal workflow and submission guidelines for redundant requirements and unnecessary obligations has to be done by engineering journals.
- For instance, while the requirement to provide the raw data when submitting the manuscript complies with the Journal Of Advanced Biomedical Engineering’s transparency standard, its internal audit found that only a negligible fraction of reviewers actually had access to the raw data when reviewing.
- This means that the submission guidelines required authors to make the raw data available to reviewers who did not use it.
- Therefore, the Journal Of Advanced Biomedical Engineering now has to remove the requirement for a data deposit upon submission; however, manuscripts must still contain a permanent URL pointing to the raw data before they can be accepted for publication.
- In short – authors must deposit raw data in a public repository, but this is now possible later after submission.
- It is widely believed such policies are a good compromise between the general demand for less bureaucracy and the warranted call for “open data”.
- Additionally, authors should be confident that their submissions will be handled promptly and responsibly by the journals they’re submitting to.
- In the early days, the editorial team of engineering journals took an average of two and a half to three months from manuscript submission to first decision.
- Although this value is acceptable, journals have aimed to reduce it even further by further optimizing internal working procedures and implementing additional control and reporting tools.
- It also helps that the position of the editor is now typically held by two people in most engineering journals.
- An ambitious goal is an average time of fewer than fifty days from manuscript submission to first decision.
Spotting The Fraudulent Ones
- Experienced researchers and engineers know which engineering journals are dubious in their field, and also which are the most prestigious, which are mid-ranked, and which are mediocre.
- They will often know, albeit to a lesser extent, who the reputable, established publishers are.
- Neophytes generally do not have these advantages.
- Moreover, so many new engineering journals and publishers have sprung up recently that nobody (experienced or otherwise) will know about them all or their reputations.
- Again, experienced professionals will have ways to rate a journal. But even they can be caught off guard – and the inexperienced can be misled.
- Almost all researchers agree that peer review is important.
- This is the main area where fake journals fail.
- They either don’t undertake any of the necessary procedures that legit journals do or do so only partially (and poorly at that).
- They seek to exploit the author-pays open access (OA) model to make money and profits but fail to respect the implicit market, i.e., to manage a process of appropriate peer review.
- It isn’t possible to present a complete list of accredited or unaccredited journals, but several criteria can help engineers discern which are which.
- Many factors can go into a refined assessment.
- Suggested in this article are just a few of the more general ones.
- Attending a virtual conference in 2022 should also help you learn more about the different ways of spotting fraudulent “predatory” engineering journals.
- Customary Modus Operandi Of Phony Journals
- Most readers have probably encountered, checking their inboxes, received a plethora of spam calls for articles from new engineering journals that claim to be peer-reviewed.
- In an attempt to bolster their credibility, these engineering journals often claim to be in the ISI and Scopus databases and proclaim themselves as Scopus journal publications.
- Additionally, they charge a posting fee of at least $100 and have a review process of about two weeks at most.
- To demonstrate their unreliability, you can submit an irrelevant manuscript and receive acceptance within days, regardless of the accuracy, significance, and authenticity of your manuscript content.
- That’s enough to alert you.
- Some impostors have even gone a step further by designing counterfeit websites identical to those of well-known ISI-indexed journals to trick authors and attempt to collect huge sums of money.
- The scammers take care of the finer details, posting on multiple websites not only the titles of genuine journals but also their impact factors, mailing addresses, and international standard serial numbers.
- The situation is getting worse to the point that Nature, one of the most prestigious journals in the world, devoted an entire issue to this problem.
- Similarly, certain journals have warned against the hazards of this situation.
- To show how this can affect reputable journals, if you access the websites of some famous engineering journals, you will encounter a warning – warning you that certain similar-looking URLs are not the official sites of those journals.
- In fact, these websites criminally usurp the identity of the official journal, using fraudulent means (false writing, false addresses, false publication conditions, etc.) in order to encourage engineers and researchers to publish articles in return for a financial contribution.
- These journals make it clear that it is not responsible for any infringement suffered by potential authors who have deposited and published scientific articles via the websites that you have been warned about.
- How and why this all happened is beyond the scope of this article, although the long-standing “publish or perish” syndrome is clearly a cause.
- This article is an attempt to help all professionals (whatever degree of experience they may have) become familiar with how to rate engineering journals so that they are not taken advantage of by predators.
- The Layout & Appearance Of The Website
- When accessing the homepages of fake engineering journals, what often catches the eye at first glance is the amateur style of the websites.
- They are full of color and bold and sometimes have lots of advertisements.
- This is an indication that they were not developed by reliable publishers but rather by unqualified individuals or groups of people.
- Most of these websites are built using commodity software.
- Taking part in an engineering conference in 2022 will help you learn more about the role of websites in spotting fake journals.
- Shady Editors & Editorial Teams
- Perhaps the best way to find reliable engineering journals is to consider the publishers.
- For example, well-established publishers such as Springer, Routledge, and Elsevier are among the reliable publishers.
- Additionally, journals associated with universities or learned societies such as MIT Press, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, the American Physical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, etc., are among other prominent publishers.
- The editors and editorial teams of the journals belonging to these published have taken rigorous measures to create reviews and appoint editors and reviewers, thus establishing the excellence of the final work.
- On the other hand, fake engineering journals are usually not published by reputable and known publishers.
- In some cases, the publisher may simply be an individual or an institution that may not exist at all.
- Indexing Databases
- There are many databases that index engineering journals.
- However, not all of them have strong prerequisites for including reviews.
- The two primary databases include Thomson Reuters and Scopus.
- They have a systematic process for reviewing and including engineering journals based on identified rules and procedures.
- On the other hand, there are many indexing databases that index journals without strict, built-in rules.
- It seems that being open access and having a website is enough for a journal to be indexed in databases belonging to the second variety.
- Fake engineering journals use their indexing in these databases as an indication of their academic value.
- So, rely only on established database systems such as those mentioned, and check that the engineering journal you’re keeping an eye on is indexed there.
- Editorial Committee
- Prior to being created, bogus engineering journals spam university professors and researchers to solicit them to join their editorial/advisory boards; the editorial board, however, does not play an effective role in the engineering journal.
- In some cases, there are journals whose editorial boards list fictitious people or people who have not agreed to be on them.
- They sometimes use the worst plagiarized articles from other sources to make up for their so-called past problems.
- Some professionals have sent emails to journals asking them to remove their names, but the editors have refused to comply with the request.
- If you wish to submit an article, you can send emails to the members of the editorial boards and ask them for their opinion on the journal.
- Sometimes the names listed on the editorial board as editors do not exist at all.
- On the other hand, in some cases, genuine faculty members and researchers cooperate in these journals and are rightly listed in these councils.
- It would, therefore, seem advisable for universities to develop regulations to prevent staff from sitting on the boards of bogus journals.
- Peer Review Report Type & Style
- The type of report that these journals send after one or two weeks is quite strange.
- In many cases, the results of the review are “Publish without modification” or “Accept as is”.
- The following is a collection of some of the reviews typically sent out by bogus engineering journals –
- Example 1
Please find the result of the review of your research paper attached. The journal is now indexed and included in Cabell’s, Ulrich’s, DOAJ, EBSCO, Gale, and IndexCopernicus International.
Additionally, the journal is being indexed with ISI, ERIC, Econlit, JSTOR, Scopus, and Journalseek.net.
As can be surmised from the above example, predator journals usually claim to be subject to the scrutiny of prominent indexing databases such as ISI and Scopus indexes in their emails and websites to persuade researchers that they are reliable.
- Example 2
Thank you very much for your interest in X Y Z engineering journal. Your research problem interests us. Your manuscript has been subject to a peer review by two of our reviewers.
The editorial board has decided to publish your article without change.
- First Reviewer’s Comments
The method applied in the study to analyze the research topic is commendable. There is good consistency of analysis throughout the document. I would like to recommend the publication of this article without significant modification.
- Second Reviewer’s Comments
The topic of the research problem is highly appreciable. It will certainly make a contribution to the relevant field of research. The presentation of thoughts in the document is remarkable. The paper is well organized. In my opinion, the document is releasable without significant revision.
As these sample reviewer reports show, reviewers typically provide general statements that could be used for virtually any manuscript. Poor or unusual expressions – such as these sentences – are likely warning signs of the engineering journal’s poor quality. In the end, the journals propose a publication without modification. It sometimes (but rarely) happens with reputable engineering journals that articles are accepted for publication without any editing being necessary, but even in such cases, good quality journals usually make corrections or send proofs to the authors.
- Example 3
This article will undoubtedly contribute to the existing field of research. This is timely research.
- Example 4
The document is organized, particularly in the presentation of coherent thoughts. This article can be published without any modifications having to be made.
- Example 5
The topic of the research problem is highly appreciable. The paper is well organized. I strongly advice that the manuscript be published as it is in its current form.
- These examples clearly reveal that these journals did not examine the manuscripts; thus, if you suspect that your manuscript has not been read at all, it is better not to publish your contribution in such an engineering journal and seek other outlets.
- Duration Of The Peer Review Process
- The peer review process is to a great extent reliant on the perspectives of busy research professionals.
- As such, the duration of the review process depends on the responsiveness of the referees.
- One wonders how fake reviews can guarantee a two-week review maximum when reputable reviews do not.
- The duration of peer review in these journals can vary from a few weeks to about six months in some cases.
- Even in cases where mainstream journals provide some incentive to referees, such as a free subscription to their databases, the review process is still relatively lengthy.
- Although not a universal practice in these journals, fake engineering journals will not normally recognize reviews in the last issue of a volume.
- The suspicion must be that there are no arbiters to recognize.
- The Caliber Of Research Authors Who’ve Had Their Work Published In An Engineering Journal
- Renowned engineering research professionals will not publish in these journals for the reasons given above.
- So, it’s always worth looking at existing authorship to see who’s posting there.
- Due to plagiarism or illegal taking of articles, if you find a good article/author, it may be worth checking with the authors themselves to make sure that they are actually submitted for review.
- Selection Of Referees
- Reputable journals mostly have up-to-date databases of referees, who are specialists in different areas of the journal’s scope.
- However, the process with predatory journals is quite different – even when they undertake a review, they send out group emails to the credentials they have and ask the recipient to do a review.
- An interesting point is that they do not pay attention to the field of the receiver, e.g., they regularly send messages to TEFL scholars asking them to review articles on politics, economics, etc.
- Emails usually start with a general greeting such as “Dear Colleague/Researcher/Professor” and then a request for review accompanying a manuscript.
- This is highly unprofessional that does things that are very unbecoming of a legit academic journal.
- The Quality Of Editing & Proofreading
- Fake engineering journals present very poor quality and unprofessional editing if any.
- Some of the articles published in such engineering journals are filled with typographical and content errors, illustrating what happens with quick publication without concern for the quality of published work.
- This is another indicator of the reliability, or unreliability, of a newspaper.
- Many grammatical errors can even be found in the “calls for papers” of fake journals.
The quality of a decent engineering journal is not only evident in hard scientometric numbers but also by assessment with soft qualitative criteria demanding a scholarly, peer-reviewed, transparent, and author-friendly journal. Moreover, these journals tend to be in existence for atleast a decade and are built on a rich history of pioneering research and academic excellence. Such long traditions are nothing but the result of hard work, professionalism, and excellence. Such top-notch engineering journals, although exclusive, seek to invite scientists from all backgrounds, socioeconomic classes, and linguistic and cultural sensibilities. Their only goal remains to publish the best engineering research articles. If you’re desperate to find a list of upcoming conferences in your specific subdiscipline of engineering, head over to the IFERP platform right away.