04 August 2017

The Journal Loyalty Index

Happy coincidences make good prompts for blog posts. Earlier this week, I returned a review of a manuscript for a journal. It was one I had never reviewed for before, so I added it to a list of reviews I keep in my CV. It was the thirty-ninth  journal I had reviewed a paper for.

I was curious if this was a particularly high number. People often complain talk about how many reviews they do (or are asked to do), but not how many different journals are asking. I asked on Twitter. 39 different journals does seems to be on the high end:

Coincidentally, Stephen Heard published this post about how many journals he had published in, which he, following the example of twitchers, called a “life list.” This interested me, because I deliberately try to publish in as many different journals as possible. It’s a science macho thing: I want to see how many different editors I can fool convince.

As with reviewing, I knew about how many papers I had published, but not the journal distribution. Stephen had proposed the Journal Diversity Index (JDI) the number of journals divided by number of papers. Everyone has a JDI of 1.0 when they publish first paper, and it only declines from there.

My JDI is higher than Stephen’s, but several commenters in his post beat us both.

But this got me thinking about the two things together. What’s the relationship between the journals we publish in, and the journals we review for? I expected there to be substantial overlap:

After all. the whole reason you submit to a journal and review for a journal are the same: you have expertise in that. Moreover, editors look at their lists of authors when looking for reviewers, which I would expect would lead to greater overlap in the journals you publish in and the journals your review for.

I mean, it would be weird if there was almost no connection between your papers and your reviews, right?

But when I crunched the numbers, I was a bit surprised. The sets were almost equal.

There were 18 journals I have published in, but have never reviewed for.

There were 15 journals for which I have both published and reviewed papers. What I was expecting to be the biggest category turned out to be the smallest category.

There are 24 journals I have reviewed papers for, but never published in. That the “review only” part of the Venn diagram is bigger than the “publish only” part of the diagram doesn’t surprise me, because my online friends on editorial boards are constantly talking about how hard it is to find reviewers for manuscripts.

Like Stephen, we can make a simple index. The number of journals you have both published a paper in (B), divided by the total number of journals you have interacted with editors (E). We’ll call it the Journal Loyalty Index (JLI).

I have 15 papers I have both published and reviewed for, out of 57 journals I have interacted with. Making my JLI (15/57) is a mere 0.26.

I of course curious how loyal other researchers are to their journals.

Related posts

Peer review pariah, update

External links

My journal life list
Journal life list

1 comment:

Elina Mäntylä said...

I had to calculate this, 4/19 makes JLI = 0.21. I thought it would be higher.