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BRIEF COMMUNICATION
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 40  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 98-101
 

Bibliometric report of authorship trends in a professional journal- An update


1 Department of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Sudha Rustagi Dental College and Hospital, Faridabad, Haryana, India
2 Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
3 Department of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Centre for Dental Education and Research, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission22-May-2021
Date of Decision16-Nov-2021
Date of Acceptance07-Dec-2021
Date of Web Publication13-Apr-2022

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Vijay Prakash Mathur
Department of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Centre for Dental Education and Research, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jisppd.jisppd_185_21

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   Abstract 


Background: With rising trends in research and scientific writing, various ethical organizations have been vigilant over developing rigorous authorship criteria. There may be times, when authors tend to publish more due to their seniority or previously earned credit for former publications, proving the existence of Matthew effect in scientific research. It indicates that the majority of publications in a field are contributed by smaller number of authors. It was hypothesized that the Matthew effect may be still applicable for scientific work published by Indian pediatric dentists in the official Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry (JISPPD) from 2015 to 2019. Methodology: To assess the number of times each author has published in the official Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, we downloaded all issues for the 5-year period from the journal website. Full names of all authors were entered year-wise in Microsoft Excel 2007 and descriptive statistics were used for finding out contribution percentages. Results: A total of 372 papers were published during the study period by 1148 authors. About 82% had at least one publication, followed by 12% publishing at least two papers; only 1% of the total authors had contributed to more than five publications. The result showed the absence of Matthew effect for publications in the JISPPD. Conclusion: The final results of the study did not show any presence of Matthew effect among authorship in the JISPPD.


Keywords: Authorship, bibliometric study, Matthew effect, pediatric dentistry


How to cite this article:
Kalra G, Dhillon JK, Mathur VP. Bibliometric report of authorship trends in a professional journal- An update. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2022;40:98-101

How to cite this URL:
Kalra G, Dhillon JK, Mathur VP. Bibliometric report of authorship trends in a professional journal- An update. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 May 23];40:98-101. Available from: https://www.jisppd.com/text.asp?2022/40/1/98/343009





   Introduction Top


There have been significant changes in the academic world with an exponential rise in the number of publications. This may be attributed to policies related to the number of research publications for academic promotions and research grants and to enhance the academic reputation of researchers and academics. The number of publications and the different scientific metrics is commonly used by institutions as well as funding agencies to assess the scientific impact of a researcher. This has led to a race to publish more among researchers. However, this is likely to create disparity with renowned researchers getting published more as compared to that of a novice in a journal.

The term Matthew effect derives from a parable of Jesus in St. Matthew's gospel (Matthew 25:14-30) which translates to “For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” This led to the introduction of the concept of “Matthew Effect” by Robert K Merton in 1968.[1] It was originally applied to renowned researchers and scientists getting credit even though lesser known researchers might have introduced an idea first. Since then, the Matthew effect has been applied to education, economics, and even scientific output. It has been postulated that the Matthew effect may particularly impact research funding as often reviewers of grants judge applicants on the basis of numbers and not the quality of research papers published.[2] In the world of scientific publication, renowned researchers have a higher chance of getting published, thus adding further to the inequality. The impact of Matthew effect has been demonstrated in the literature by several authors.[3],[4] The presence of Matthew effect can help bolster a journal's readership as more people are interested in reading the work of established researchers. However, it is also likely to inhibit potential new researchers from publishing in a journal. We had previously published a paper showing the predominance of Matthew effect in publications by Indian pediatric dentists in a specialty journal for the year 2005–2011.[5] Therefore, it was hypothesized that the Matthew effect may be still applicable for scientific work published by Indian pediatric dentists in the official Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry (JISPPD) from 2015 to 2019.


   Methodology Top


To test the hypothesis whether Matthew effect is still applicable for Indian pediatric dentists, a retrospective record retrieval of author names was performed for the JISPPD for a period of past 5 years (from January 2015 to December 2019).

This journal is the only official publication of ISPPD and has been regularly published since 1983. It is a peer-reviewed journal with four issues per year and is indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals, Index Copernicus, Indian Science Abstracts, MedIND, MEDLINE/Index Medicus, Scimago Journal Ranking and SCOPUS, etc. The journal has been publishing editorials, original research, case reports, and review of literature since its inception. However, since year 2017, the original research category has been recategorized into epidemiology, laboratory research, and clinical research. It is also available in full text from the website free for the members of the ISPPD. The full text can also be purchased by people other than members for a cost mentioned on the website.

Journal issues of the year 2020 were not included in the study as all the issues have not been published yet. A total of 372 papers were retrieved from the journal. The full names of all the authors in the JISPPD were recorded year wise. The data were gathered and was entered in Microsoft Excel and analyzed manually. Data retrieval from the website were done by two independent investigators and sent to the third investigator who checked for data duplication/any repetitions. There was only one difference of opinion about the classification of an article into a particular category. Ethical approval was not required for this study as it does not constitute biomedical research or involve human or animal subjects and all the information used in this study was available in the public domain.


   Results Top


The study was conducted in March 2020 and the time interval selected was 5 years; therefore, all the articles published from the year 2015–2019 were considered. The total number of issues published during 5 years was 21 (four issues per year). The supplemental issue published covering the proceedings of the national ISPPD conference in 2017 was excluded from the study. Overall, 372 papers were published in this duration which included original research, case reports, review articles, and letter to the editor. There were 20 editorials, 2 tributes, 1 retraction, 1 erratum, and 1 obituary published throughout the time period of 5 years and were also excluded from the study. The distribution of various papers published is given in [Figure 1]. [Table 1] shows the year-wise distribution of various types of papers published in the JISPPD during the study interval.
Figure 1: Number of publications published by authors

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Table 1: Year-wise distribution of the number of type of papers published (2015-2019)

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The total number of authors recorded was 1148. About 82% of the authors had at least one publication followed by 12% of the authors publishing at least two papers in the period of 5 years. Only 4% of the authors published three papers in the journal and 1% of them published about 4 papers in those 5 years, respectively. Only 1% of the total authors had contributed more than five publications during the study period


   Discussion Top


The existence of Matthew effect has been prevalent in authorship in scientific research.[6] The same phenomena was found to be trending in the authorship of Indian pediatric dentists to 2012.[5] Such findings suggested further evaluation of the phenomena (Matthew Effect) in future too. Thus, this study was planned in continuation of the previous study conducted to evaluate the applicability of Matthew effect for the past 5 years. It was found that the JISPPD has been found to publish more articles with a large number of authors in the recent 5 years. The authors having minimum of one publication constituted about two-thirds of total authors. However, this could be due to the amendments in the guidelines described by the Dental Council of India in 2017 which suggest compulsory reevaluation of a postgraduate teacher every 3 years and require them to score additional 15 points per year.[7] Moreover, guidelines in authorship criteria by the International Council of Medical Journal Editors distinguishing the roles of primary author from that of contributors or secondary authors have initiated a trend of publishing dissertations with postgraduates being the primary authors, thus, increasing the number of new authors in the journal.[8]

The standards and quality of any specialty journal depend on the credentials of the editor, his team and the editorial process. Clear and austere policies and transparency in the editorial procedures may lead to publishing sound scientific research ethically. According to the Committee on Publication Ethics guidelines (updated 2018), it is the responsibility of the editor of the journal to take stringent steps following the editorial process preventing any misconduct in scholarly publications. Moreover, nowadays it is imperative to clearly mention authorship-related policies, guidelines on publishing ethics and misconduct in scientific research on a journal's website, and also generating awareness regarding ethics in scientific publication.[9] It was quite interesting to find that even after excluding editorials from our study (preventing skewness in results favoring editors), there were research articles with the editors as one of the authors. In the present study, while recording the names of authors, the full names of all authors were mentioned to overcome the limitations of similar or changed names. In our previous publication of Matthew effect in the JISPPD, there was a limitation that some female authors were considered as two different authors. It was due to the local practice of changing the surname after marriage. Although similar names could be a possible and this limitation still cannot be ruled out. The full names were included for the study to reduce this kind of duplication, for the female authors changing their surnames after marriage. Understanding the importance of blinding in the editorial process remains pivotal; therefore, details of policies followed by the JISPPD were studied. The exact type of blinding procedure (triple blind/double blind) being applied was not clearly stated on the journal's website, and its implications on Matthew effect could not be defined.

One of the factors which may affect the existence of Matthew effect in readership is the Citations drawn by a journal. Although the influence of Matthew effect is not clearly evident affecting the citations, however, it is perceived that as long as deserved citations are greater than expected citations, we believe that Matthew effect happens. Further, it is found to exist when the citers pay more attention to the author's affiliation, country/publication venue, or to the citations received but not to the research itself.[10] Nevertheless, the affirmative finding that the Matthew effect could not be demonstrated in the JISPPD in the present study shows that the particular society and the journal give adequate space and scope to newer authors and publish without any bias. According to our study, this did not impact the citations of a journal, and moreover, it may prove that the quality of research plays a more important role than the quantity of publications in a scientific journal. More reliable data needs to be furnished to evaluate Matthew effect affecting paper citations.


   Conclusion Top


The existence of Matthew effect in the JISPPD could not be proved in the study. This indicates improvement in the work published by the journal and understanding of various publication policies by Indian pediatric dentists from the last evaluation done for the year 2004–2012. However, acknowledging the work by new authors is likely to enhance the growth of science and impact on scientific productivity

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Merton RK. The Matthew effect in science. The reward and communication systems of science are considered. Science 1968;159:56-63.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Bol T, de Vaan M, van de Rijt A. The Matthew effect in science funding. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018;115:4887-90.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Poorni S, Ramachandran S, Rooban T, Kumar PM. Contributions of Indian conservative dentists and endodontists to the Medline database during 1996-2009: A bibliometric analysis. J Conserv Dent 2010;13:169-72.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
4.
Kumaragurupari R, Sieving PC, Lalitha P. A bibliometric study of publications by Indian ophthalmologists and vision researchers, 2001-06. Indian J Ophthalmol 2010;58:275-80.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
5.
Kaur Dhillon J, Kalra G, Sharma A, Prakash Mathur V. Trends in authorship in an Indian pediatric dentistry journal: Relevance of matthew effect. Acta Inform Med 2013;21:288-90.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Li D, Agha L. Research funding. Big names or big ideas: Do peer-review panels select the best science proposals? Science 2015;348:434-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Dental Council of India, Master of Dental Surgery Course Regulations; 2017. Available from: http://dciindia.gov.in/Rule_Regulation/MDS_Course_Regulations_2017.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Jun 01].  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Defining the Role of Authors and Contributors. Available from: http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/defining-the-role-of-authors-and-contributors.html. [Last accessed on 2020 Jun 01].  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing. Available from: https://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines-new/principles-transparency-and-best-practice-scholarly-publishing. [Last accessed on 2020 Jun 01].  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Wu Q, Wolfram D. The influence of effects and phenomena on citations: A comparative analysis of four citation perspectives. Scientometrics 2011;89:245-58.  Back to cited text no. 10
    


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