Country names in journal titles: shaping researchers’ perception of journals quality

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Abstract

Numerous academic journals incorporate geographic names, including countries and regions, in their titles. This practice is not uniform, as some journals opt to internationalise by omitting these affiliations. To gauge the impact of country names in journal titles on researchers' perceptions of journal quality, 408 researchers in sociology, psychology, environmental sciences, and physical chemistry in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Malaysia, Nigeria, and the USA were surveyed. The study reveals that most researchers believe that a journal's association with a specific country influences their perception of its quality (74.6%) and international readership (76.8%). Consequently, researchers tend to avoid journals with country-specific titles, suspecting limited readership or a predominant focus on papers from that country. However, exceptions exist, primarily in terms of perception, especially for American journals, which are often perceived as indistinguishable from mainstream international journals. Disciplinary variations emerge, with subject matter influencing perceptions. Subjects such as sociology, closely tied to local and national issues, exhibit a more (compared to e.g., chemistry) significant tendency toward recognising national journals. The inclusion of the term "international" in journal titles elicits mixed opinions, with some associating it with low quality or predatory journals, a perception that stems from the proliferation of predatory journals in some Asian and African countries. This study offers insight into researchers’ preferences and underscores the important role of journal titles in shaping researchers' perceptions of journals’ scope, quality and readership. In a challenging metric-driven research and publishing landscape, it is important to strike a balance between internationalisation and fostering diversity in scholarly journal publishing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-823
Number of pages21
JournalScientometrics
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024

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