Peer review adds quality to the papers before publication & it is essential for all scholarly publishing-Prof.Rahmatoolah Fattahi


 ISC Conference proceedings-II

Peer review adds quality to the papers
before publication & it is essential for all
scholarly publishing - Prof.Rahmatoolah Fattahi

Reviewers needs to be trained through hands on
workshops to do proper evaluation

From Shaukat Ali Jawaid

SHIRAZ (ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN): Many interesting topics were discussed by various speakers in different scientific sessions of the First International meeting of Research Journal Editors organized by Islamic World Science Citation Centre (ISC) in collaboration with ISESCO at Shiraz, Iran from October 23-24th 2012 partly reported in our November 1st issue.
Speaking in the inaugural session, Dr. Abbas Sadri Director of ISESCO Regional Office referred to the impact of such academic activities has on improvement of science and technology as well as research. We collect information and provide it to ISESCO which then passes it on to the whole Islamic world which is the purpose of establishing this ISC. Islamic countries, he further stated, have their own values, problems and they need one body to evaluate performance of these countries in the scientific area. This conference will provide an opportunity to the experts to have face to face discussions in the related areas. ISC is still in infancy, it needs lot of improvement. There are obstacles and challenges in enhancement of quality of research and we hope to make progress in the days to come, he added.

Group photograph shows some of the delegates photographed during the First International
meeting of Research Journal Editors organized by ICS at Shiraz from October 23-24th 2012

Prof. Abbas Hoori Faculty member from Tehran University spoke about Scientific Journals and Evaluation Tools. Giving a historical background he said that the first journal was published in 1665. However delay in publication for several months after the manuscript has been written makes print journals not an ideal medium. On the other hand online electronic publishing enables to publish immediately. By 2006 most of the journals have gone online and most libraries now buy electronic version of journals. The journals print only a few copies. Many universities purchase scientific license for electronic publications.
Speaking about peer review, he said this is required to ensure quality of the manuscript before it is accepted for publication. Peer review is currently under discussion at different forums. Authors have to wait for scrutiny by peers. Peer review helps the authors to further improve the quality of their manuscripts. An article, he said, may be rejected because of poor quality if the reviewer’s comments are not addressed in the revised version. Peer Review ensures that articles and journals maintain high quality and standard and it also gives credibility. However, peer review may be used and abused. Post publication commentary can be helpful.
Talking about evaluation tools, he referred to Impact Factor (IF), Fignefactor, SCI Mago Rank, Expert Survey, Publication Power Approach (PPA) and the H. Index. There is prestige associated with these evaluation tools. Impact Factor is a major factor in citations. It is used for journal ranking. High Impact Factor is considered more important. There are some problems associated with Impact Factor to measure quality and validity of Impact Factor as a measure of journal evaluation. Some editors try to improve their Impact Factor by publishing more review articles which are cited more than original articles and case reports. Some editors with the help of reviewers force the authors to cite articles published in their own journals to improve their Impact Factor. Secondly in calculating Impact Factor the number of articles published by a journal affects their IF. He was of the view that weighted IF should be given more importance than IF alone. He then referred to some misuses of IF in evaluation procedures. He was of the view that it is more important to assess the quality of an individual article rather than a journal in which they are published. This is another viewpoint. Some articles are never cited. It is ridiculous to judge the quality of journals based on one article. In SCI Mago Rank (SJR) takes into account the citation and prestige of the journal where they are cited. Citation coming from more prestigious journals is much more important. He also briefly discussed the quality of research in social sciences.
He concluded his presentation by highlighting the importance of new ideas in scholarly approach which these journals present and validity of journals. Techniques of evaluation of journals have its own strengths and weaknesses. Evaluation tools, he opined, are tools and it matters a lot how you use them. A technique may be helpful at one place and harmful at other place, he added.
Dr. Mohammad Reza Ghani from ISC discussed the citation issues and the role of journals in scholarly communication. He discussed in detail the various components of research papers and importance of citations. Citations, he said, are important for universities, researchers, in pursuit of knowledge, claims of procedures, prevention of scientific misconduct. Ideas should be possible to trace. He also referred to gaps in tracking of citations, hence one should pay attention to correct quotation of citations. Citation errors occur when authors cite it in the text and during data entry process of databases. No system exists in determining rate of clerical errors. Some other issues in citation include citation by first author, second author, Sir Name and First name which is sometimes replaced. Sometimes authors name is abbreviated. He suggested that if one uses a source cited in another source, it is important to name the original source. Sometimes there is broken data in text or there are two or more works by same author the same year. In such cases cite A & B with author’s name instead of IBID and the cited author is repeated.