Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-11-04
As a Chinese university questions the validity of traditional impact factor metrics, Teplitsky, Lu and Duede’s 2017 study argues that Wikipedia is more likely to promote the visibility of Open Access articles, than that of paywall-protected ones, regardless of the journal impact factor.
Though the emergence of Open Access journals has put into question the importance of impact factors that journals have, as the influence of freely accessible scientific articles may also be measured by alternative, article-level metrics, efforts to give credence to alternative impact metrics remain relatively marginal. At the same time, a recent announcement of Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, that it will be giving articles published on social media platforms and newspapers the same importance as is granted to peer-reviewed scientific publications has caused a stir both in China and around the world, as it can portent a change in funding, evaluation and promotion priorities at academic institutions.
While this tentative policy shift takes into account differences between various social media platforms, requires that the articles be original and established quantitative criteria for digital platform visibility, the discussion it has sparked also highlights the need for out-of-the-box thinking about the validity of traditional peer review procedures and journal-level impact factors that Open Access journals have been readier to experiment with than their paywall-based counterparts. Even though the full implications and eventual effect of this move remain unclear, it also shows that strengthening or the existence of links between layman-oriented digital platforms, such as Wikipedia, and scientific communities is insufficiently addressed by traditional impact metrics.
By Pablo Markin
Tags: Academic, articles, China, digital platform, evaluation, Funding, Hangzhou, Impact, Impact Factor, institutions, model, OA, Open Access, paywall, promote, promotion, Social Media, subscription, visibility, Wikipedia, Zhejiang University.