Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Publish, Patent, Be Social or Perish

By Guy Nolch

A researcher’s impact extends beyond measures of publications and citations to patents, peer review and social media influence.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

In 1665 the Royal Society published the first journal in the world exclusively devoted to science. As scientific endeavours expanded it was necessary in 1887 to split Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society into two publications serving physical sciences (A) and life sciences (B).

In 2015 the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM) estimated that the number of active scientific journals had grown to 28,100. To this can be added the rise of “predatory” journals, with Jeffrey Beale of The University of Colorado cataloguing more than 1000 publishers producing “vanity” journals that charge a fee to authors whose work had not been accepted in peer-reviewed journals.

According to Nature there is “a doubling of global scientific output roughly every 9 years” (http://tinyurl.com/ofm4arg). Why is so much science being published?

“Publish or perish” has been a central part of career advancement in science, with scientific output measured by research publications and citations of papers published in (preferably) “high impact” journals. STM estimates that the number of scientists publishing their work is increasing by as much as 5% each year, and their research impact (measured through these basic metrics) has played a large role in...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.