Is the next challenge for the JBSTM to increase its Qualis-Capes?

Publicação: 10 de January de 2018

Evaluation criteria by fostering agencies apply powerful pressure over the process of disclosing national scientific publications. However, there are doubts about its importance for science. Two editors of the BJTM opine about the theme

The BJTM is ranked as the third national journal in Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine. In Infectious and Parasitic Diseases it is ranked 11th in the world when the option “Tropical Medicine” is used

In 2017, the impact factor of the Journal of the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine (JBSTM) raised from 0,949 to 1,161 (Thompson Reuters). This concept (impact factor) recently became extensively used by science fostering organs in Brazil. Consequently, it acquired power over Brazilian science quality, the career of national researchers and the relevance over Brazilian scientific journals.

Associate Editor of the JBSTM, Dr. Carlos Henrique Costa states that impact factor values, do not have, in their origins, any relations with what can be referred to as “science quality”, but to “commercially biased scientific repercussion”. The internal quality of a scientific article is a consequence of its internal validity, the quality of the science it reports, not the number of times it was cited. Dr.  Carlos Henrique cites Professor Eugene Garfield – the creator ot the impact factor –, according to whom, the impact factor is a useful tool for evaluation of journals, but it must be used discreetly. Still according to Professor Garfield, there are many artifacts that can influence a journal’s impact and its ranking, like the inclusion of review articles, the subject, and others.

With the new impact factor, the JBSTM became 3rd in the Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine field among national and international journals and 6th in the World Ranking when the “open access” option is used, with 100% free and open access content. When using the “Tropical Medicine” option, the JBSTM is ranked the 11th journal in the world, also with free access for authors and researchers. To the Associate Editor of the JBSTM, Dr. Manoel Otávio da Costa Rocha, the international recognition of the Journal’s scientific value should increase its visibility and, thus, its merit recognition. “This certification should impact the Brazilian graduation system and increase demand quality, once quality scientific production will be directed to the JBSTM, by overcoming concerns that regardless of the merit, the work can, by discretion of impact consideration, not be held properly considered by fostering agencies”, he stresses.

To increase the technical-scientific standards of the JBSTM, Dr. Manoel Otávio underlines the relevant role of reviewers who, according to him, must be committed to the enhancement of the publications evidencing its greatest efforts, fulfilling this activity with the needed priority. Dr. Carlos Henrique agrees. “What matters is that the published science is of good quality. For such, the role of the editorial board and strict reviews by peer reviewers, eventually positively assisting authors who seem to have difficulties in editing or analyzing the data, but who have potentially “good quality” researches”, he adds. Still according to him, since the JBSTM is free for submission and access, after creating good quality publications, it will be a matter of time for it to be sought by researchers from the entire World (what is already happening, as in the Memories of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute), what will lead to – for this, and only this – to an increase of its scientific prestige, which is the main interest of the BSTM.

Journals depend on recognition of fostering organs

Doctor Manoel Otávio recognizes that fostering organs, especially the Coordination of Higher Level Personnel Improvement – CAPES [Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior] and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) have deployed a growing attention to research and scientific disclosure related to endemic and/or neglected diseases. “We have to fulfil our social role, as professors and researchers, giving preferential attention to study, with excellence, of the health problems that are most relevant to our population. From this continuous effort, the greater and growing visibility of our journals will rise”, he completes.

The Associate Editor, Dr. Carlos Henrique remembers that in a close past the JBSTM was only published in Portuguese, what led to some discredit among researchers and the Clarivate Analytics itself. “Besides this, our journal publishes subjects of Tropical Medicine, many times with exclusively regional content – due to ecological relations of tropical diseases – and, naturally, of little interest for rich countries of good science, who have sub-tropical or tempered climates. The Tropics are where the world’s poverty is concentrated, and where there is smaller funding for research, even for one of its most interesting themes, Tropical Medicine. All odds are in favor of low impact factors for journals dealing with tropical matters”, he regrets. For this same reason, in his opinion, “the BSTM should not care about the strange body called impact factor”.

The next challenge for the JBSTM along with fostering organs will be to increase its classification in the Qualis-Capes. For this, there is a vicious circle to be broken. The JBSTM has just broken one of its links by increasing its impact factor. The evaluation criteria of fostering agencies apply powerful pressure over the process of disclosing national scientific publications “Now is the time to persist in the quest for excellence. This will lead to an increase of qualified presentation of articles for publication and improvement of national journals”, says Dr. Manoel Otávio.

To Professor Carlos Costa, the villain of this process is the fact that Brazilian fostering agencies have become aligned to the commercial interests of large editors that use impact factor to conquer markets. “By doing this, they create a great vice in national science, that is to prioritize mercantilist interests of scientific editors to the detriment of good science, while inducing the diversion of the already scarce scientific resources – now more than ever! – to pay for articles that cost, literally, a fortune to us. Therefore, it is important that these honorable institutions stress that they are not influenced by the great editorial groups commercial interests, which are benefit from Qualis-Capes”, he concludes.…