The Journal "Scientific Reports", published by the Nature publishing group, is gaining popularity with time (impact factor now around 5.2). It highlights its editorial policy as one that is focused on scientific rigour and validity, rather than perceived impact.
My question is:
- How well regarded is "Scientific Reports" in the academic community compared to other more-traditional ones, especially in the physical sciences and engineering?
- Also, does the fact that it imposes article processing charges and publishes only open-access articles reduce from its perceived rank as a journal?
- Is its high impact factor a result of these factors, or is it actually due to high quality articles published in it?
- Many researchers know that some well-regarded specialist journals might have relatively low impact factor, but their reputation is still top-ranked. Say, for example, that I have a paper in physics or engineering, and I could either publish it in a specialised Physical Review or IEEE journal versus Scientific Reports, which one would be more well-regarded (assuming the first two have less impact factor than Scientific Reports)?
Scientific Report judges the papers according to their validity of the methodology and analysis and not the perceived impact of the paper on the field. I can not speak for all of the papers that appears in this journal but at the first times that I got familiar with this journal and I was not ware of this fact, I read a lot of papers from this journal and at the end I was wondering what new thing this paper added to the state of the art. It is better to focus your efforts on journals that pay more attention to the novelty and impact of the papers they publish. In our new era of mega-publishing, people are very selective in their reading resources and they probably prefer to read the papers with higher impact and novelty that can help them to discover the new directions of the field. Although the high impact of Scientific Reports journal can be flaring at the first, but researchers who are familiar with the field and the journal eventually find that the impact may be the results of some another hidden factors like:
- The tendency of researchers to cite papers from open-access journals.
- The perceived prestige of Nature publishing group.
- The high volume of Review papers that get publish in that journal.