What are the personal and professional characteristics that distinguish the researchers who publish in high- and low-impact journals? A multi-national web-based survey

7 Feb 2017
Carlos Eduardo Paiva, Raphael L C Araujo, Bianca Sakamoto Ribeiro Paiva, Cristiano de Pádua Souza, Flavio Mavignier Cárcano, Marina Moreira Costa, Sérgio Vicente Serrano, João Paulo Nogueira Lima

Purpose: This study identifies the personal and professional profiles of researchers with a greater potential to publish high-impact academic articles.

Method: The study involved conducting an international survey of journal authors using a web-based questionnaire. The survey examined personal characteristics, funding, and the perceived barriers of research quality, work-life balance, and satisfaction and motivation in relation to career. The processes of manuscript writing and journal publication were measured using an online questionnaire that was developed for this study. The responses were compared between the two groups of researchers using logistic regression models.

Results: A total of 269 questionnaires were analysed. The researchers shared some common perceptions; both groups reported that they were seeking recognition (or to be leaders in their areas) rather than financial remuneration. Furthermore, both groups identified time and funding constraints as the main obstacles to their scientific activities. The amount of time that was spent on research activities, having >5 graduate students under supervision, never using text editing services prior to the publication of articles, and living in a developed and English-speaking country were the independent variables that were associated with their article getting a greater chance of publishing in a high-impact journal. In contrast, using one’s own resources to perform studies decreased the chance of publishing in high-impact journals.

Conclusions: The researchers who publish in high-impact journals have distinct profiles compared with the researchers who publish in low-impact journals. English language abilities and the actual amount of time that is dedicated to research and scientific writing, as well as aspects that relate to the availability of financial resources are the factors that are associated with a successful researcher’s profile.

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