Assessing of Iranian medical English journals based on journal selection criteria in Scopus.

Author:Sedghi, Shahram


The basic source of current information that publishes at a particular discipline, is defined as a scientific journal (Sandesh & Wahrekar, 2017). Because journals provide more up to date information than books, they are one of the most important scholarly communication media for researchers (Chung & Tsay, 2017). In most areas of knowledge such as medical sciences, the scientific journal is established as an important source for formal scientific communication (Rodrigues, Taga, & Passos, 2016). Also, the medical science researchers want to publish their articles in the best journal possible which have been indexed in universal citation databases (Abrizah, 2016).

The most important international databases for indexing medical journals are PubMed, PubMed Central (PMC), MEDLINE, Scopus, and Web of Science (Huh, 2016). Journals position in these collections and particularly being indexed by Web of Science, Scopus, and PubMed (that are known as the best reference indexing databases) reflects individuals', institutions', and countries' research productivity (Huh, 2016; Yessirkepov, Nurmashev, & Anartayeva, 2015). Being indexed in each of these databases requires meeting strict journal selection criteria that generally based on journal policy, regularity of publication, diversity and so on (Abdekhoda, 2010; Huh, 2016; Taskin, Dogan, Akca, Sencan, & Akbulut, 2015).

Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database with 22800 titles from more than 5000 international publishers that were introduced by Elsevier in November 2004. Scopus covers outputs from such diverse fields as life sciences (17%), social sciences (31%), physical sciences (27%), and health sciences (26%). Various physical formats of journals are included in Scopus and made up a large number of its' content ("Scopus content coverage guide," August 2017; Simone II, 2016).

Journals selection in Scopus is based on both quantitative and qualitative measures. Scopus has five main categories of criteria that are being used in the review process: journal policy with six evaluation criteria, content with four evaluation criteria, journal standing with two evaluation criteria, the regularity with one evaluation criteria, and online availability with three evaluation criteria. Each category and each criterion is scored in Scopus' scoring system and during the review, the scores are weighted. Scopus evaluates the journals based on the sum of these scores.

Six evaluation criteria under the category of journal policy include convincing editorial policy, diversity in the geographical distribution of editors, diversity in the geographical distribution of authors, type of peer-review, cited references in Roman script, English language abstracts.

Specific evaluation criteria under the category of content include the academic contribution to the field, clarity of abstracts, conformity with the journal's stated aims and scope, readability of articles.

Citedness of journal articles in Scopus and editor standing are evaluated under journal standing category.

No delay in the publication schedule is the only criterion under the category of regularity, and the specific journal evaluation criteria under the category of online availability include online content available, English language journal homepage, and quality of journal homepage (Hawn Kim, 2016; "Scopus content coverage guide," August 2017).

Annually, many offers are evaluating by Iranian medical sciences journals commission for granting the scientific-research license and at present 259 medical English journals are being published in Iran and 88 (34%) of this journals are being indexed by Scopus ("The list of approved journals by the commission of national medical science journals,").

The main goal of this study is to carry out a quantitative assessment of Iranian medical English journals (IMEJ) based on Scopus journal selection criteria. We hope to find the weaknesses of IMEJ that does not fulfill the criteria of Scopus and help to improve them to be qualified for being indexed by Scopus.

Literature review

Several studies from different directions in the field of publications have been done in Iran and foreign countries. One of the most important goals of these studies was surveying of the journal' compliance with journal selection criteria in the most important reference indexing databases in order to be indexed by these databases.

Abdekhoda and his colleagues (2009) showed that the number of Iranian English journals that were indexed by WOS and Scopus, had been increased at the study's duration but their visibility in these databases had not good condition (Abdekhoda, Gazi Mirsaid, & Noruzi, 2009)

In an earlier study by Pierz and his colleagues (2006) the studied journals had different results about each criterion but overall they showed good results in compliance with journal selection criteria in ISI database(Pierz, Lopez-Cozar, & Contreras, 2006).

Roales Nieto and O'Neill (2012) done a study on one of Spain's psychology journals and concluded that the studied journal is one of the most important journals in Spain in the field of psychology. The journal was in compliance with the journal selection criteria in selected databases (Roales Nieto & O'Neill, 2012).

Yessirkepov and his colleagues (2015) in a Scopus based analysis of publication activity in Kazakhstan, showed that the number of indexed articles had been steadily growing since 2011. They found that however there were many unresolved issues related to publications, but Kazakhstan's publication activity by scientific authors was higher than that from other countries in central Asia (Yessirkepov et al., 2015).

Shahbodaghi and her colleagues (2017) showed that more than half of the Iranian biomedical journals were not based on the international statements and they did not follow of the journal selection criteria by Scopus (Shahbodaghi, Farhadi, Shekofteh, & Karami, 2017).

Azadeh and his colleagues (2017) conducted a similar study on the status of Iranian medical English journals that had been indexed in the WOS...

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