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Title: Are publications on zoological taxonomy under attack?
Other Titles: As publicações sobre taxonomia zoológica estão sob ataque?
Authors: Pinto, Ângelo Parise
Mejdalani, Gabriel
Mounce, Ross C.P.
Silveira, Luis Fabio
Marinoni, Luciane
Rafael, José Albertino
Issue Date: 2021
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Royal Society Open Science
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 8, Número 2
Abstract: Taxonomy is essential to biological sciences and the priority field in face of the biodiversity crisis. The industry of scientific publications has made extensive promotion and display of bibliometric indexes, resulting in side effects such as the Journal Impact Factor™ (JIF) mania. Inadequacies of the widely used indexes to assess taxonomic publications are among the impediments for the progress of this field. Based on an unusually high proportion of self-citations, the mega-journal Zootaxa, focused on zoological taxonomy, was suppressed from the Journal Citation Reports (JCR, Clarivate™). A prompt reaction from the scientific community against this decision took place exposing myths and misuses of bibliometrics. Our goal is to shed light on the impact of misuse of bibliometrics to the production in taxonomy. We explored JCR's metrics for 2010-2018 of 123 zoological journals publishing taxonomic studies. Zootaxa, with around 15 000 citations, received 311% more citations than the second most cited journal, and shows higher levels of self-citations than similar journals. We consider Zootaxa's scope and the fact that it is a mega-journal are insufficient to explain its high level of self-citation. Instead, this result is related to the 'Zootaxa phenomenon', a sociological bias that includes visibility and potentially harmful misconceptions that portray the journal as the only one that publishes taxonomic studies. Menaces to taxonomy come from many sources and the low bibliometric indexes, including JIF, are only one factor among a range of threats. Instead of being focused on statistically illiterate journal metrics endorsing the villainy of policies imposed by profit-motivated companies, taxonomists should be engaged with renewed strength in actions directly connected to the promotion and practice of this science without regard for citation analysis. © 2021 The Authors.
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1098/rsos.201617
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