, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 37-54

First online:

Competition in science and the Matthew core journals

  • Manfred BonitzAffiliated with
  • , Andrea ScharnhorstAffiliated withWissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung

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Competition is one of the most essential features of science. A new journal indicator - the"number of Matthew citations in a journal" was found that reflects certain aspects of thiscompetition. The indicator mirrors the competition of countries in scientific journals forrecognition in terms of seemingly "redistributed" citations.

The indicator shows, as do other journal indicators, an extreme skewed distribution over anensemble of 2712 SCI journals. Half of all Matthew citations are contained in 144 so-calledMatthew core journals.

In this paper, a new typology of scientific journals, including the Matthew core journals, isintroduced. For a few selected journals, graphs are presented showing national impact factors aswell as the absolute number of Matthew citations gained or lost by the countries publishing in thejournal.

Scientific competition among countries for recognition is strongest in the Matthew corejournals, they are the most competitive markets for scientific publications. Conclusions are drawnfor national science policy, for the journal acquisition policy of national libraries, and for thepublication behaviour of individual scientists.