Should I publish in a mega-journal? Advice in 200 words
A few of the conpher team have been in a dilemma recently that maybe you recognise. Determining whether to publish their article in a generalist “mega journal” or select a more subject-specific journal.
In setting out to find a solution to this, the conpher team stumbled across something they wanted to share:
Are mega journals as generalist as the catchphrase implies?
Well, thanks to the analysis performed by Kyle Siler, Vincent Larivière, and Cassidy R. Sugimoto there is clear evidence that the Pareto Principle could be applied to the leading mega journals.
Their study analyzed 110 subject areas represented in 4 of the most identifiable mega journals (Nature Communications, PeerJ, PLoS One, Scientific Reports), and the results showed that clearly 20% of the subject areas represented almost 80% of the content being published.
Top 10 Subject Areas Published in Mega Journals
|Speciality||Nature Comms||PeerJ||PLoS One||Scientific Reports|
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
|Neurology & Neurosurgery||6.8%||4.6%||10%||8%|
|Genetics & Heredity||5%||9%||5.2%||3.6%|
|Earth & Planetary Science||2.6%||0.1%||0.1%||1.1%|
see the full table
So mega journals have established an increasingly prominent niche in contemporary science, with relatively higher acceptance rates, speedier publication, and Open Access choices (at varying degrees of cost). And yes there is interdisciplinarity, but definitely a higher degree of specialization than you would expect.
Of course, there are many reasons to explain why this might be, but if you are purely looking at where you want to publish, it is worth bearing in mind that the audience for your article, or the readership of these mega titles, may not be as subject diverse as you were seeking nor as familiar or interested in your research area.
So the answer on where to publish is ……. Well, it takes longer than 200 words. But conpher is here to help!