PLoS ONE: Background, Future Development, and Article-Level Metrics

If you are in any way following the developments in the world of science publishing, you have probably heard about the new effort by PLoS to establish article-level metrics for scientific papers (instead of the dreadful and erronoeus Impact Factor).
Today, Peter Binfield, the Managing Editor of PLoS ONE, published a paper entitled “PLoS ONE: Background, Future Development, and Article-Level Metrics” that covers all of that in great detail. The paper is, of course, Open Access, so you can download the PDF for free here and the related PowerPoint slideshow here.
Peter says:

The paper goes into a lot of detail on the history and inner workings of PLoS ONE, and so if you are at all interested in where our journal came from; how it operates; and where it is going in the future, then it is required reading.

I second that! A Must Read!
Also, as this is a peer-reviewed article, if you blog about it, and if you use the BPR3 icon, the link to your blog post will show up on the aggregator and will thus be eligible for the Blog Pick Of The Month for June.
You can also discuss this article on FriendFeed.

8 responses to “PLoS ONE: Background, Future Development, and Article-Level Metrics

  1. As PLOS ONE has not yet been assigned a SCI IF, I am afraid that the submission to the journal will probably decline sharply.

  2. I think that as more and more people abandon the foolishness of IF, there will be more and more submissions to PLoS ONE (which is what we actually see). Those who abide by the IF gods the longest will find themselves in the worst position in the end, as the forward-looking folks will already position themselves in the new world and new hierarchies that come with it.

  3. I can’t find the DOI of that paper for the life of me.

  4. It isn’t even forward looking to look away from IF. IF makes a certain kind of sense but if you look at the philosophy of where it comes from, it is utterly bankrupt. It isn’t even traditional. It just sucks. Or at least, if it has any meaning, it is as one metric of limited use.

  5. @greg – actually it is a little publicized fact that the majority of the literature doesn’t yet use DOIs (sadly)

  6. A couple of comments:
    1) Getting article-specific citation information is easy nowadays, either via ISI Science Citation Index (subscription), Scopus (subscription) or Google Scholar (free). So no matter what journal a paper is published in, it is relatively straightforward to get an assessment of its individual impact on the field, given time.
    2) The ‘post-publication’ commentary and discussion that is a central feature of PLOS One might not be as desirable as you think, depending on the field of research. Philosophers and bloggers thrive on debate, but experimental research thrives on duplication, validation and follow-up. Experiments take time and effort, hence comment threads on experimental research papers might be very thinly populated. Has PLOS One noted any field-specific differences in the ‘post-publication’ commenting on the site?
    Given both the above, I suspect that PLOS One and other ‘new’ publishing initiatives will find a niche alongside, but not instead, more traditional journals. After all, when you scratch away the hype, the ‘new’ aspects of ths publishing model turn out to be more incremental (albeit useful) than revolutionary.

  7. The evaluation of the new article-level metrics suggested by PLoS ONe could take long time. It is good to have also ASAP the IF.

  8. We’ve had a rep from ThomsonReuters (owners of ISI) come into work recently parading about article-specific citation indexes and a whole heap of other indices they’ve pulled out to rank researchers and their papers.
    Article specific indexation is definitely going to be more reflective on a researchers influence in their field – and now we definitely have the means to get it.
    That said it won’t always be perfect – people will still try to game the new system (if only by citing their own articles in their future articles – something which I’m pretty sure more than their fair share of researchers do)