Scientometrics

, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 43–64

Neophilia ranking of scientific journals

Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11192-016-2157-1

Cite this article as:
Packalen, M. & Bhattacharya, J. Scientometrics (2017) 110: 43. doi:10.1007/s11192-016-2157-1

Abstract

The ranking of scientific journals is important because of the signal it sends to scientists about what is considered most vital for scientific progress. Existing ranking systems focus on measuring the influence of a scientific paper (citations)—these rankings do not reward journals for publishing innovative work that builds on new ideas. We propose an alternative ranking based on the proclivity of journals to publish papers that build on new ideas, and we implement this ranking via a text-based analysis of all published biomedical papers dating back to 1946. In addition, we compare our neophilia ranking to citation-based (impact factor) rankings; this comparison shows that the two ranking approaches are distinct. Prior theoretical work suggests an active role for our neophilia index in science policy. Absent an explicit incentive to pursue novel science, scientists underinvest in innovative work because of a coordination problem: for work on a new idea to flourish, many scientists must decide to adopt it in their work. Rankings that are based purely on influence thus do not provide sufficient incentives for publishing innovative work. By contrast, adoption of the neophilia index as part of journal-ranking procedures by funding agencies and university administrators would provide an explicit incentive for journals to publish innovative work and thus help solve the coordination problem by increasing scientists’ incentives to pursue innovative work.

Keywords

Novel science Novelty Journal rankings Citations Impact factor Text analysis 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
National Institute on Aging
  • P01-AG039347

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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