Faculty of 1000

Post-publication peer review

Friday I’m in love

Posted by rpg on 21 August, 2009

I’ve been struggling to get some ‘About’ pages in shape for the new site, and all of a sudden Broad has got four wickets, and things are looking a lot more exciting for England.

But over the last few weeks we (that is F1000, not the England XI) have been getting some very flattering emails and I should drag myself away from these distractions (Katich has gone! 109 for 6!) and tell you about them.

Certain publishers have been writing to us, asking us to evaluate their journals. E.g.

…we are enquiring if any of our medical journals could be considered for selection to the Faculty of 1000 journal selection. I have written a few paragraphs describing what we as a publisher of scholarly medical journals wish to achieve. Following this I have listed a selection of our longest running journals we hope you will consider, including the descriptors you may find useful. I have also attached a spreadsheet with similar descriptors of our other journals.

We are a relatively small open access publishing company that specializes in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals that are made freely available to researchers, academics, professionals and organizations engaged in science and medicine. We pride ourselves in only producing medical and scientific journals of the highest quality.

Now the thing is, this is double edged. On the one hand it’s great that people want to be evaluated by the Faculty of 1000, and validates what we’re doing to some extent. On the other it’s not quite how we work.

To date, at least, our Faculty (currently about five thousand in number across Biology and Medicine, with two and a half thousand assistants or ‘Associate’ Faculty) choose what they evaluate. In their own reading, they choose what is important, and write about it. They are independent. This is important, so I’m going to put it on a line all by itself:

We do not influence the Faculty members’ choice of papers.

So while it’s all right for publishers to write to us (and really, we appreciate it. We want to increase our coverage), we will not interfere with the (111-7! A follow-on looming!) independence of the Faculty.

What is happening, however, is that we have a ‘scanning’ project. Using the awesome power of yeast genetics goodwill and skill of our Associate Faculty, we email out tables of contents of around 500 different, ‘non-obvious’ journals. The AFMs then scan these eToCs for important and interesting papers, and will write evaluations (in conjunction with their Faculty Member) on anything that takes their fancy. We do not impose a quota: if there is nothing of note in a particular issue we don’t get an evaluation.

So I guess the message to publishers is, if your journal really is important in a particular community, then (a) make sure it has online ToCs and (b) get back to us later this year, when you’ll be able to propose journals to be included in the scanning project. We aim to increase the number of journals that we scan quite substantially—by about 50 every couple of months.

We’re hoping that this will completely lay to rest the rumours that we only evaluate stuff from ‘top-tier’ journals. We may not be comprehensive yet, but we’re definitely making progress on ‘systematic’.

Now, back to the cricket, and preparing for Science Online London.

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