Неэргодическая экономика

Авторский аналитический Интернет-журнал

Изучение широкого спектра проблем экономики

A Revolution in the Russian Segment of the International Market of Economics Journals

Data are presented for 2021 on the rating of Russian economics journals, taking into account their international success: entering the leading Web of Science and Scopus databases and presenting their content in English. The calculations carried out using the author’s algorithm for ranking journals make it possible to establish that at present 25 Russian periodicals in economics have reached a sufficiently high scientific level and have become competitive in the international market of scientific products. If the concept of the market is interpreted in the broadest possible sense – as a set of competing participants entering into specific transactions that give them certain benefits, based on supply and demand for their services – then we can talk about a kind of revolution in the market of Russian economics journals due to the widespread use of strict academic standards and raising the scientific culture of domestic researchers. At the same time, the authors point to some negative aspects in the development of the pool of leading journals, including their high geographical concentration in only seven cities of Russia. Comparison of the parameters of the market for economics journals and the markets for journals in related disciplines – history, sociology, political science, and philosophy – showed that the competition for the right to be published in a prestigious Russian journal among economists is much higher than among representatives of other social sciences and humanities.

Russia’s economics science, as well as other scientific disciplines, continues to be integrated into the world scientific space. It would not be a mistake to say that this vector of development was set about ten years ago, when the newly appointed Minister of Education and Science Dmitrii Livanov formally articulated his position: “There is only one level in modern science–international. You either fit it or you do not. If yes, then you are a scientist, if not, then you are someone else....” [1]. Since then, the Russian government has constantly stimulated the entry of subjects of Russian science into the world market. [1]  One such subject is scientific journals, including economics journals that publish the results of scientific research. Journals act as a link between individual researchers, who generate scientific developments and discoveries, and scientific institutions that are founders and sponsors of periodicals. If the task of internationalizing national science is set, this applies to all the listed participants in the system, and in relation to journals this task takes on a dramatic meaning.

This article will consider a very specific segment of the world science market–Russian economics journals (REJs). The point is that the publication of the results of Russian researchers–economists in foreign journals is very difficult due to the fact that the economic systems of different countries are at different stages of development, and therefore the interest of the advanced world community of economists is strongly biased against topics that are of local importance, for example, regional problems of the economic space of Russia, and do not fall into the scientific mainstream. In this regard, the integration of Russian economic thought into world science automatically presupposes a strengthening of the positions in the world market of Russian periodicals on economics and related sciences, taking into account the topics specified. Only by having its own advanced scientific journals of the economics profile can Russia adequately present itself and its researchers in the international information space.

It is important to note that ten years ago the task of entering the REJs into the leading international databases (IDBs), for which the regulator chose the Web of Science (WoS) and Scopus systems as the most representative, seemed completely utopian, unachievable, and unconstructive. Ten years later, by mid–2021, it turned out that the task at hand was not a chimera but quite solvable and, moreover, carried a colossal therapeutic potential for the entire Russian economics community. It was the internationalization of REJs that caused a real revolution in domestic economics science and contributed to its recovery, increasing the quality of both individual studies and the work of large groups of scientists and economic periodicals. This article will consider this revolution, its manifestations and features, and new problems generated by it.

Stages of the REJ market formation. The REJ market, [2]  as well as journal markets in other sciences, began to form gradually after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the makeup of the Russian Federation. This first – “paper” – stage was characterized by a disordered and unregulated quantitative consolidation, or massification, of an initially tiny market. Conditionally it can be dated to 1992–1998. At that time, the Russian REJ market was opaque and the journals were published in paper form. In 1998, the electronic platform eLibrary.Ru was launched, which in 1999 at the initiative of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research acquired the status of a Russian scientific electronic library. The second – “digital” – stage consisted in the institutionalization of the REJ market through the digitization and inclusion of journals in the national eLibrary.Ru database. This process took 16 years (1998–2014). A characteristic feature of this period is the excessive democracy of the new market and the almost complete absence of its regulation by the authorities, which led to its overflow.

The “paper” and “digital” periods ended with a quantitative consolidation of the market and its simultaneous qualitative degradation, when even the most elementary academic norms (presence of annotations, bibliography, etc.) were not fulfilled by scientific periodicals. Awareness of the need to delimit the two groups of REJs – those that corresponded to academic standards and those that did not – required a search for mechanisms for their ranking and selection. In this regard, the third – search – period (2014–2018) was associated with checking various analytical procedures to form a pool of the leading economics journals. The creation in 2015 of the Association of Science Editors and Publishers (ASEP), which marked the beginning of the consolidation of the Russian scientific editorial and publishing community in order to solve common problems and establish a direct dialogue between journals and leading IDBs, helped improve the quality of scientific journals and promote them in the international information space. With some degree of convention, we can say that the period of turbulence finally ended in 2018, when the fourth – mature – stage of REJ formation began with legitimation of the international criterion for publication quality, which implies entry into the leading IDBs. For example, in 2018, 15 Russian economic periodicals passed international certification, that is, entry into the WoS or Scopus IDBs, which finally demonstrated the possibility of successful competition for REJs in the world market of scientific journals and confirmed the justification of the criterion of scientific internationalization. [3]

The main result of the third and fourth stages of the REJ market development was the growth of scientific culture, consisting in the improvement of the quality of many domestic journals and articles published in them. This result is a kind of paradox, when the chimerical, poorly substantiated, and in many respects rigid goal of the entry of Russian publications into the world scientific space has yielded positive results. However, this achievement gave rise to another problem: how can one determine those REJs that deserve the recognition and respect of the scientific community? It turned out that many journals had passed even the initially very strict criterion for international certification by 2021, and additional algorithms for their ranking were needed to obtain reliable market markers for researchers regarding where to publish their articles and where not. The situation is aggravated by the fact that the current (fourth) stage of the REJ market formation is characterized by hyperregulation, when journal markers are set not by the researchers themselves but by regulators represented by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation and the administration of scientific and educational institutions, which, when determining the status of periodicals, are guided by different information sources.

It must be said that monitoring of the state of the REJ market has been carried out systematically since 2013 [3]. Since about the same time, a number of parallel initiatives have been underway to record and evaluate REJs. Thus, in 2012 A.A. Murav’ev ranked economics journals according to 14 bibliometric indicators, highlighting 24 leading publications on this basis [4]. In 2015, the rating of scientific publications in economics of the Higher School of Economics was published, which was based on surveys of 630 researchers [5], and a project for ranking journals using the method of multivariate comparative analysis was presented in the works of O.V. Tret’yakova [6, 7]. In 2016, the REJ rating was synthesized based on the RePEc bibliometric data [8]; in 2017, the rating of A.Ya. Rubinshtein et al. was presented based on opinion polls of 1059 members of the New Economic Association [9].

At the same time, discussions are unfolding about the advantages and disadvantages of the methods used for rating domestic journals. Criticism sounds toward bibliometric information that suffers from distortions and data manipulation [10, 11] and with respect to the subjectivity of expert assessments and high labor intensity of approaches based on their processing and analysis [12, 13]. The pros and cons of the databases used to evaluate the journals are investigated [14, 15]; the existing ratings are compared [16]; and new algorithms for REJ ranking are proposed, based on the preparation of network [17–19], hybrid [2], and consensus [13] ratings.

Note that similar processes of complication of the methodology for ranking scientific publications are taking place abroad, when there is a transition from relatively simple bibliometric and expert ratings, which gained popularity at the end of the last century [20–22], to more complex network ones [23, 24] and mixed schemes based both on a combination of different approaches within one computational algorithm [25] and on the generalization of existing rated products [33]. Given the promising nature of these approaches, we will further use them to study the REJ market.

REJ accounting and ranking algorithm: New realities. As already mentioned, since 2013, analysts of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation have been compiling the Rating of the Leading Economics Journals (RLEJ) of Russia [3]. At the same time, the RLEJ algorithm is constantly being adjusted and improved in accordance with the ongoing changes in the market. The latest version of the RLEJ gave a picture for 2019, after which there was a two–year pause, during which the journals were actively competing and a shift of forces was observed. We will start from the basic algorithm [2] with its adjustments in accordance with the latest developments in the REJ market.

The RLEJ procedure involves taking into account three groups of factors.

The first group – the bibliometric success of a publication – includes three parameters of the eLibrary.Ru database: X1i, the five–year impact factor of the ith journal without self–citation (specific citation of the publication’s materials); X2i, the five–year Herfindahl–Hirschman index of the journal on citing journals (presence/absence of collusion of journals in relation to cross-references to each other); x3i, the half-life of the articles of the i–th journal cited in the current year (durability and fundamental nature of the publication’s materials). Then the three parameters specified are normalized (in percent) according to the maximum indicator and averaged to obtain the final value XIi.

Unlike previous waves of ranking in 2021, to simplify calculations, the absolute citation rate of the publication and the potential for high citations due to the publication of breakthrough research results were not taken into account. At the current round of REJ competition, these two parameters have lost their representativeness, information relevance, and significance.

The second group of factors – the quality of the publication or its international recognition – is determined according to the following rule. Only one parameter XIIi is assessed – the scientific level of the ith journal according to the algorithm: if the publication is not included in the key IDBs (WoS and/or Scopus), then its quality is assessed by a ranker [4] on a ten–point scale (0–10) according to the principle “the more the better”; if the publication is included in the key IDBs, then the following formula is used: xm=10(kSi+kWi)/b, where kSi and kWi are the quality premium coefficients for the ith journal included in the Scopus and WoS databases, respectively; b is a reduction factor: b=1.5. The premium coefficients are shown in Table 1 and differ from the previous rating by the higher price of the step of entering the corresponding quartile [21]. The obtained estimates of the quality of REJ xIIi are normalized as a percentage relative to the maximum value.

 

Table 1. Scopus and WoS allowances scale

Database

Quality premium rate (k)

WoS

Scopus

Quartile 1

Quartile 1

1.8

Quartile 2

Quartile 2

1.6

Quartile 3

Quartile 3

1.4

Quartile 4

Quartile 4

1.2

Emerging Sources Citation Index

Entry into the database, but no indexing and/or quartile

1.0

 

The third group of factors–the internationalization of the publication, or its availability to an international audience of readers–is determined by the availability of the Russian– and English–language version of a publication according to the rule set in Table 2, with a slight increase in severity compared to [2]; the obtained assessments of the REJ xIIIi internationalization quality are normalized as a percentage of the maximum value.

 

Table 2. Rules for calculating the “bonus” for the availability of bilingual content

The nature of journal content

Score (xm)

Full Russian version only

1.0

Hybrid version (partially in Russian, partially in English)

1.0

Full English version only

2.0

Two full versions–Russian and English

3.0

 

 

The final REJ rating score is calculated on the basis of the weighting procedure x0i = 0.3*xI + 0.5*xII+ 0.2*xIII with subsequent standard rationing. In this case, the greatest weight (50%) is attributed to the quality of the journal (its recognition by the international community of economists), then to its success in the Russian–speaking environment (recognition by the Russian community of economists) (30%), and then its accessibility to the international (English–speaking) community of specialists (20%). Such a system of weighting coefficients seems to be more adequate at the current stage of the REJ existence, in contrast to the earlier stages of competition between domestic publications [2].

Considering the specific classification of the WoS and Scopus IDBs, the categories Economics and Econometrics and Economics, Econometrics, and Finance were used to determine the REJ quartile. This is of fundamental importance since many Russian publications in different disciplines can be included in different quartiles. For example, the journal Terra Economicus for economics is included in Q2 Scopus, and for history, in Q1. For more correctness, when rating the REJs, the target quartile is taken into account in terms of economics (for comparison, in [2], the best result of the publication was taken into account). In addition, two journals were deliberately excluded from the publications that are included in the Scopus database on economics: Mir Rossii and Iberoamerica since the first is frankly sociological and ethnographic, and the second is purely region-oriented and is published only in Spanish; other journals, even interdisciplinary ones, were left in the sample.

For the convenience of studying the best domestic REJs, we will introduce the concept of a pool of leading journals (PLJ) that have at least one feature: J1, are included in the Scopus and WoS IDBs, and J2, have a full–blown English version. In what follows, the PLJ segment will sometimes be denoted as J1+J2.

Results of empirical calculations: The sixth wave of the RLEJ. Taking into account the information described in the previous section and applying the proposed ranking algorithm, we obtained the 2021 RLEJ for 50 publications [3]. Consider the results for the first 30 REJs, which provide substantial food for thought (Table 3).

First, from the point of view of the entry of Russian economic publications into the international market in 2018–2021, there was a real revolution. [5] Thus, 25 journals have the J1 attribute: 19 in ESCI WoS and 18 in Scopus, seven of them in Q2, and eight in Q3; three are included in Scopus, but not indexed. For comparison, in 2018, only 15 REJs had international certification. Thus, a fairly large number of domestic publications were already represented in the IDBs, and some of them were included in the high–quartile group (Q1 and Q2), which seemed impossible a few years earlier. It is characteristic that the extreme groups, Q1 and Q4, are empty: domestic economics journals have not yet managed to grow up to the former, and all publications that have been included in the database for a relatively long time have left the latter. It can be stated that the REJs were able to master the world market of scientific publications and confidently indicated their presence there. The main result of this stage of competition was the opportunity for Russian economists to publish in fairly prestigious Russian journals.

Second, the degree of democracy of the two leading IDBs–Scopus and WoS–in relation to REJs is very different. If the WoS domestic economic publications remained in the nonprestigious nonquartile ESCI group, although some of them entered it more than ten years ago, Scopus allowed them to take quite worthy places. Considering the fact that Scopus is a pan–European IDB, and WoS is an American one, two explanations for this situation can be suggested. First, the Anglo–Saxon WoS system places higher demands on the English language and on the quality of the economics content of publications, compared to reference British–American journals–world leaders in the social sciences. Second, the complicated political relations between the United States and Russia affect the policy of the WoS IDB, which slows down the promotion of Russian publications into the platform’s leaders. The truth is most likely somewhere in between, and in reality, both of these reasons affect the situation. It can be assumed that in the case of a more benevolent attitude of WoS representatives towards Russian journals and with the same persistence on the part of the latter, one can expect a second wave of success, when REJs will occupy high–quartile positions in another leading IDB.

Third, at the moment there is a movement in Russia for a civilized presentation of the achievements of domestic economists abroad. This is achieved primarily due to the strengthening of Russian–language content by our journals with its English–language version. This strategy does not guarantee international success, but is an integral part of it. There is reason to believe that today representatives of the advanced REJs not only finally realized the need to implement this strategy, but are also seeking the necessary resources (financial and organizational) for this. As of 2021, there are nine REJs in Russia with full–scale Russian– and English–language content, and five more journals are published only in the English–language version. If this movement continues, then a third wave of REJ success can be expected in the not–too–distant future. This refers to the expansion of the Russian segment of the world market of economics journals to several dozen periodicals.

 

Table 3. Rating leading REJs, 2021

No.

Journal title

Bibliometric
index

Science level index

Internationalization index

Total

1

Foresight

70.1

100.0

100.0

100.0

2

Baltiiskii Region

54.1

100.0

100.0

94.7

3

Voprosy Ekonomiki

78.5

100.0

33.3

88.1

4

Studies on Russian Economic Development

58.8

80.7

100.0

85.7

5

Economy of Regions

63.2

100.0

33.3

83.0

6

Terra Economicus

60.2

100.0

33.3

82.1

7

International Organizations Research Journal

39.2

92.3

83.3

81.9

8

Regional Research of Russia

48.9

92.3

66.6

81.4

9

Journal of the New Economic Association

55.1

92.3

33.3

76.2

10

The World Economy and International Relations

53.8

92.3

33.3

75.7

11

Monitoring of Public Opinion: Economic and Social Changes

51.9

92.3

33.3

75.1

12

Economic Policy

51.1

92.3

33.3

74.8

13

Economics and Mathematical Methods

72.3

76.9

33.3

73.4

14

Contemporary Europe

43.8

92.3

33.3

72.4

15

HSE Economic Journal

60.4

80.7

33.3

71.6

16

Business Informatics

53.4

57.6

100.0

71.2

17

Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast

51.4

57.6

100.0

70.6

18

Applied Econometrics

56.25

80.7

33.3

70.2

19

Finance: Theory and Practice

49.7

57.6

100.0

70.0

20

Money and Finance

50.3

51.9

100.0

67.0

21

Journal of the New Economy

49.9

46.1

100.0

63.7

22

Russian Journal of Economics

50.5

57.6

66.6

62.9

23

The World of the New Economy

48.4

40.3

100.0

60.1

24

Russian Management Journal

62.4

57.6

33.3

59.5

25

St. Petersburg University Journal of Economic Studies

60.1

57.6

33.3

58.8

26

Journal of Tax Reform

33.8

57.6

66.6

57.4

27

Journal of Institutional Studies

52.5

57.6

33.3

56.3

28

Upravlenets (Manager)

46.3

57.6

33.3

54.2

29

Journal of Corporate Finance Research

46.9

40.3

66.6

52.2

30

Vestnik of St. Petersburg University. Management

65.0

40.3

33.3

50.9

 

 

Let us emphasize that the movement for the production of REJ bilingual content is fraught with big surprises. The first of them is a significant rearrangement of the leading Russian journals in the rating. For example, the journal Voprosy Ekonomiki (VE), which has been the undisputed RLEJ leader for five years, has moved from the first position to the third in comparison with 2018, and the journal The World Economy and International Relations (MEMO), from fourth to tenth. Apparently, they will have to restructure their format in the future. The point is that these journals are still published 12 times a year compared to the academic standard of four issues. This alone allows them to increase the citation rate, which cannot be achieved by academic publications the annual volume of which is 2–3 times less. However, VE and MEMO do not have an English–language equivalent, and it is rather difficult to carry out a qualified translation of a monthly publication. In this regard, their advantage will eventually be compensated by other journals at the expense of the English–language versions. In any case, the landscape of the Russian segment of the international market for economics journals will undergo dramatic changes in the next three–to–four years.

The second surprise caused by the transition of REJs to bilingual content is the unpredictable activation of various institutional players in the scientific market, acting as founders and sponsors of periodicals. For example, until 2021, the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, which was the founder of ten scientific journals, did not attract attention in any way in the international market of economics publications. However, it sharply intensified on this front by 2021, as a result of which the journal Vestnik Finansovogo Universiteta (Bulletin of the Financial University), published since 1997, in 2017 changed its title to Finansy: Teoriya i Praktika (Finance: Theory and Practice), in 2019 began publishing in two language versions, and in 2020 entered the Scopus database, and the journal Mir Novoi Ekonomiki (The World of the New Economy), published since 2015 in two language versions, in 2021 became one of the favorites to enter the specified IDB. The Ural State University of Economics (USUE) did the same, renaming the journal Izvestia of the Ural State University of Economics, founded in 1999, to Journal of the New Economy in 2019, which has been published in two language versions since mid–2021. Another USUE periodical, the journal Upravlenets (Manager), founded in 2009, entered the ESCI WoS in 2018 and is scheduled to be published in two languages from 2022. Thus, two universities in the country have sharply strengthened their positions in the Russian segment of the international market for economics journals. It is possible that, in the next three or four years, such examples of the unexpected appearance of new players will become, if not massive, then rather frequent.

The appearance in the REJ market of publications in two language versions is a kind of challenge for some of today’s RLEJ leaders. For example, Journal of the New Economic Association in 2016 ranked fifth in this rating, and in 2021, already ninth; Terra Economicus peaked at sixth place in the RLEJ in 2021. However, both journals do not systematically translate their content into English, which is fraught with a gradual slide down from the top of the rating list for them.

Thus, the fierce REJ competition in the previous seven years, which affected the search and mature periods of the formation of the domestic market for periodicals, did not weaken, but is gaining momentum and, apparently, will lead to another update of the list of leading journals.

 

Fig. 1. Concentration of the market of Russian economics journals on the territory of the Russian Federation.

 

The above facts convincingly speak of cardinal changes in the REJ market. In our opinion, the internationalization of domestic publications has given rise to an important phenomenon: the creation (and/or recreation) of scientific culture. This issue is rather difficult to discuss in numbers, since we are talking about a qualitative change in the content of economics articles. The international standards adopted by the Russian community of economists are gradually spreading to many journals, which means that the exactingness of editorial boards and editors is increasing. Under these conditions, scientists who have not absorbed modern scientific culture have practically no chance of publishing their articles in the country’s leading journals. In this sense, it is legitimate to talk about a fundamental purification of the content of the leading REJs. The growth of scientific culture is manifested even in the titles of Russian journals, which have undergone major changes and acquired a more academic format. For example, the faceless Bulletin of USTU–UPI: Series Economics and Management, published since 2002 by the Yeltsin Ural Federal University (UrFU), changed its title in 2010 to Vestnik UrFU: Series Economics and Management, which in 2020 changed to Journal of Applied Economics Research, clearly defining its specialization within a broad economics focus; now this journal is working on entering the Scopus IDB. There are many such examples.

The foregoing allows us to conclude that a large number of REJs have done thorough work on errors, updating the titles of publications, changing their format, and emphasizing specialization. Against this background, note that some publishers, for example, the journal World of the New Economy, began to think about changing the external image, moving from an inconvenient, unaesthetic, and unnecessarily large A4 format to a more appropriate and modern international design. Thus, the aesthetic criterion returns to the discourse of editors-in-chief and publishers, which can be considered a serious conquest of the previous stage in the formation of the market.

Concentric journal market model: New problems – new opportunities. The data of the sixth wave of the RLEJ, among other things, allow us to draw a geographic map of the location of the 25 most successful domestic publications (Fig. 1). White numbers on a black background show the number of journals that have received international certification (condition J1 fulfilled), and black numbers on a white background show the number of publications in two language versions (condition J2 fulfilled).

The mapping of the market carried out for advanced REJs (groups J1 and J2) confirms the already well–known fact of the existence of a concentric model of science in Russia, including that in relation to scientific publications. The Russian segment J1+J2 of 25 journals is concentrated in seven cities in the European part of the country. The rest of Russia’s vast space is not yet connected with the world market of economics journals. It does not at all follow from this that there is no corresponding scientific potential in the Asian part of the country. All previous experience of the REJ market functioning suggests that the success and failure of journals depends entirely on the professionalism and dedication of their management. The map in Fig. 1 shows that, even in such large cities as St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, the J1+J2 market is being created by enthusiastic editors. As for the financial resources for publishing worthy journals, at least 100 universities in the country have them; there are fewer opportunities for research institutions. The difficulty lies in the fact that the management of most universities and research institutes is not aware of the problems of scientific journals, does not understand them, and does not make their solution a priority. Instead, many Russian universities and research organizations are more willing to spend money on primitive PR campaigns of dubious productivity.

Even for cities in which the publications have entered the J1+J2 market, this problem is extremely acute. In fact, the main difficulty in the geographical expansion of the J1+J2 market is the lack of attention of the top management of regional universities and scientific organizations to the issues of publishing high–quality scientific journals. The key problem of the REJ editors–in–chief is to reach out to the founder of the journal and prove the need to finance the corresponding project. If this problem is solved, then, as a rule, success is not long in coming. In our opinion, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, and Irkutsk have all the necessary resources to become full–fledged participants in the J1 + J2 market. The solution to this problem is important, first of all, for the creation of a cultural precedent in the region, which will serve as the basis for the formation of a modern scientific culture among local researchers.

Of course, the possibility of a journal entering the world scientific market has its downside. Today, six problems have clearly emerged that deserve at least brief consideration.

First, the growth of requirements for the quality of articles has exposed the unwillingness of many economists to work at the modern level. As a result, the editorial staff of journals that have international certification or apply for such are inundated with a mass of low–quality articles that are not even subject to qualified peer review due to the failure to meet basic academic requirements. This situation leads to a variety of conflicts: the authors demand from the editorial board of the journal a motivated refusal and professional review, and the editors are forced to look for different ways of refusing the authors, without resorting to peer review. The “clogging syndrome” of the portfolio of leading journals has become one of the most pressing problems in today’s periodicals market.

Second, the J1+J2 market segment is experiencing a shortage of quality articles, and therefore many publications are forced to rely on “trusted” authors who begin to dominate and create a kind of monopolization of journals by certain researchers, influence groups, and organizations. For example, today many publications of the J1+J2 rank strictly adhere to the requirement to print any author no more than once a year, but other journals violate this principle. For example, Voprosy Ekonomiki published articles by S.G. Sinel’nikov–Murylev and R.I. Kapelyushnikov three times in 2020. Moreover, the works of the latter author were published in two of four issues in 2021. This situation gives rise to a kind of paradox: sincerely striving to expand the range of authors and the quality of published articles, many journals carry out quasimonopolization of content by “their” authors. Often, such a violation of academic norms correlates with the large annual volume of the journal (12 issues per year) and the impossibility of promptly completing the portfolio with high-quality articles.

Third, until now, among the journals of rank J1+J2, it has not become the norm to require editors-in- chief not to publish in their journals. The Journal of the New Economic Association strictly adheres to this rule, the editors-in-chief of which do not publish their articles on its pages (with the exception of the “Hot Topic” rubric, the notes of which are not subject to peer review and are not considered research articles). However, the expansion of this practice to the level of the norm is a matter of the next decade.

Fourth, some journals fall into the trap of their historical legacy in the form of certain publishing standards. It has already been noted that for more active promotion in IDBs, publications such as VE and MEMO need to have a translated English version. However, this is a daunting task given the monthly frequency of issues. In the long term, this will create a serious problem for journals: it can break the tradition of frequent publication, incur exorbitant costs for the release of the English version, or leave everything as it is and agree to a slow stagnation.

Fifth, in journals of the J1+J2 class, queues are formed for the publication of articles, increasing the time of their passage from receipt to the publication. For example, the interaction of authors with the journal Foresight (reviewing the material, revising, rereviewing, revising, and editing) lasts from one and a half to two years, reducing the relevance of published research.

Sixth, in leading journals there is a gradual ousting of the Russian language by English. For example, the journal Corporate Finance, published by the Higher School of Economics since 2014, has abandoned the Russian-language version since mid–2019 and is now published in English under the title Journal of Corporate Finance Research. The Journal of Tax Reform was published from the very beginning in English only, as was The Russian Journal of Economics. In our opinion, this is a serious mistake on the part of the management of the journals, which are trying to improve the international citation of publications by “cleaning” them from Russian–language content. After all, the publication of the Russian–language version does not involve high costs, since it does not require translation, while in its absence, journals lose part of the Russian-speaking audience. In addition, the transition of scientific journals to English narrows the scope of use and hence the development of the native language.

The problems listed are not unsolvable; rather, on the contrary, they testify to the beginning of cleansing the scientific space of negative practices.

Different sciences, different standards. This article considers exclusively the segment of economics journals, but the processes underway can be fully understood only through the prism of comparison with the segments of journals in other social sciences. To do this, let us compare the number of research authors in several social disciplines and the humanities, determined by the number of representatives registered in the eLibrary.Ru database, and the number of high quartile journals in the Scopus database in these areas (Table 4). [6] The initial data allow us to determine the competition index, calculated as the number of potential authors per one high–quartile journal. [7]

Table 4 shows that the level of competition for the right to publish in a domestic high-quartile economics journal is an order of magnitude higher than in related disciplines (from 6.7 to 7.9 times). Moreover, attention is drawn to the fact that in the four sciences mentioned (history, philosophy, political science, and sociology), the level of competition is almost the same, while economics is strongly out of this series. This fact has nothing to do with the quality of the journals. On the contrary, among the REJs there are exemplary publications, such as the Journal of the New Economic Association, which not only meet international standards, but also provide a sufficiently high scientific level that meets the most stringent foreign criteria. It can be concluded that the markets for scientific publications are heterogeneous in terms of the international requirements imposed on them. This heterogeneity is associated with the specifics of the sciences themselves and, apparently, is unavoidable.

 

Table 4. Bibliometric indicators of various sciences, 2021

Scientific area

Number of author researchers, people

Number of highquartile journals, titles

Competition index, thou. people

History

21693

16

1.4

Philosophy

10473

7

1.5

Political science

6315

5

1.3

Sociology

8798

6

1.5

Economics

82031

8

10.3

 

 

 

If we take into account the requirements of the regulator and the administration of scientific institutions for researchers in relation to publications in high– quartile journals, then we have to admit that economists are at a disadvantage, fiercely competing for the right to publish in a domestic highly rated periodical.

That is why such an unseemly phenomenon as the publication of “garbage” articles in “predatory” journals, where a fee is collected from the authors, has become widespread among economists (for more details, see [27]). Economists who are unable to win the competition in the Russian market for international–class economics journals are forced to resort to the help of unscrupulous foreign publications.

The foregoing allows us to understand the achievements of the REJs in recent years. Suffice it to recall that a few years ago there was not a single high–quartile journal on economics in Russia. However, of course, the current achievements are only the beginning of a long journey. To normalize the situation, eliminate excessive publication nervousness, and reach the level of provision with domestic journals, as, for example, among political scientists, it is necessary to have 63–64 REJs, that is, to increase the existing number by 55–56 titles.

The prospects are bright, the path is winding. There are many questions about the scientific policy pursued by the Russian authorities over the past 30 years. However, it must be admitted that, despite a lot of managerial mistakes, it is still possible to implement strategically effective decisions. The given vector for the internationalization of domestic science and its integration 3. into the world market of scientific publications can serve as an example. The collapse of the Soviet Union 4. and the vague decade that followed caused significant damage to the country’s scientific culture and created extremely unfavorable initial conditions for market 5. competition in science, especially in economics, sub sufficient set of high–quartile domestic world–class journals.

At the same time, one should be aware that the entry of REJs into the world market is a tactical rather than a strategic success. Strategically, Russian economics science is in the zone of influence of the Anglo–Saxon school and is increasingly losing its originality and authenticity. In addition, publication in “good” journals for many researchers has already become an end in itself and an intrinsic value, which forms distorted and even harmful scientific attitudes and alienates scientists from real problems. In this respect, Russia has to go through a difficult path of defining itself and its own scientific identity.

 

REFERENCES

 

1. D. Livanov, “Maybe you are the right person but not a scientist,” Komsomol. Pravda, May 30 (2012). https://www.kp.ru/daily/25891/2851394/. Cited April 29, 2021.

2. E.V. Balatsky and N.A. Ekimova, “Competition of Russian economic journals in the world market,” Econ. Soc. Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast 12 (3), 124–139 (2019). https://doi.org/10.15838/esc.2019.3.63.8

3. Rating of Russia’s leading economic journals. http://nonerg-econ.ru/cat/18/8/. Cited April 29, 2021.

4. A.A. Murav’ev, “On the scientific significance of Russian journals in economics and related disciplines,” Vopr. Ekon., No. 4, 130-151 (2013).

5. I.A. Sterligov, Pilot Project to Evaluate Russian Scientific Journals (NIU VShE, Moscow, 2014) [in Russian].

6. O.V. Tret’yakova, “Rating scientific journals of RAS economic institutes,” Ekon. Sots. Peremeny: Fakty, Tend., Prognoz., No. 5, 159–172 (2015).

7. O.V. Tret’yakova, “Impact rating of economic journals in the academic sector,” Ekon. Sots. Peremeny: Fakty, Tend., Prognoz., No. 3, 179–194 (2018).

8. A.V. Shumilov and E.V. Balatsky, “RePEc academic rankings: Construction issues and the role of Russian participants,” Zh. Nov. Ekon. Assots., No. 4, 111–138 (2016).

9. A.Ya. Rubinshtein, N.A. Burakov, and O. A. Slavinskaya, Community of Economists and Economic Journals (Sociological Measurements vs. Bibliometrics): Research Paper (Inst. Ekon. RAN, Moscow, 2017) [in Russian].

10. Ya. Rubinshtein, “Ranking Russian economic journals: A scientific method or a ‘cipher game’?,” Zh. Nov. Ekon. Assots., No. 2, 162–175 (2016).

11. R.R. Gumerov, “Again about the scientific significance of Russian economic journals, or What is behind the attempts to rank them,” EKO, No. 7, 146–161 (2017).

12. A.A. Murav’ev, Ratings of Russian journals in economics: A comparative analysis. https://study-lib.ru/doc/4796527/rejtingi-rossijskih-zhurnalov-po-e-konomike. Cited May 5, 2021.

13. E.V. Balatsky and N.A. Ekimova, “Russian economic journal consensus ranking: Ideology and experience of making up,” J. Inst. Stud., No. 1, 93–106 (2018).

14. O.V. Tret’yakova, “Economic journal in Russia: Problems of quality assessment,” Ekon. Sots. Peremeny: Fakty, Tend., Prognoz., No. 2, 211–224 (2016).

15. N.A. Mazov, V.N. Gureev, and N.E. Kalenov, “Some assessments of the list of journals in the Russian Science Citation Index,” Herald Russ. Acad. Sci. 88 (2), 133–141 (2018).

16. A.N. Subochev, “How different the existing ratings of Russian scientific journals in economics and management are and how to combine them,” Zh. Nov. Ekon. Assots., No. 2, 181–192 (2016).

17. F.T. Aleskerov, V.V. Pislyakov, and A.N. Subochev, Building Ratings of Journals in Economics Using Methods of Collective Choice Theory, Preprint of Nat. Res. Univ.–Higher School Econ. (Moscow, 2013), no. WP7/2013/03. https://www.hse.ru/da-ta/2013/03/11/1293475892/WP7_2013_03_f.pdf. Cited May 5, 21.

18. F.T. Aleskerov, D.N. Badgaeva, V.V. Pislyakov, et al., “Significance of major Russian and international journals: network analysis,” Zh. Nov. Ekon. Assots., No. 2, 193–205 (2016).

19. S.V. Bredikhin, V.M. Lyapunov, and N. G. Shcherbakova, “The structure of the scientific journal citation network,” Probl. Inf., No. 2, 38–52 (2017).

20. A.W. Coats, “The role of scholarly journals in the history of economics,” J. Econ. Lit. 9 (1), 29–44 (1971).

21. S.J. Liebowitz and J.P. Palmer, “Assessing the relative impacts of economics journals,” J. Econ. Lit. 22 (1), 788 (1984).

22. R. Hawkins, L. Ritter, and I. Walter, “What economists think of their journals,” J. Polit. Econ. 81 (4), 1017–1032 (1973).

23. L. Waltman and E. Yan, “Page rank-related methods for analyzing citation networks,” in Measuring Scholarly Impact, Ed. by Y. Ding, R. Rousseau, and D. Wolfram (Springer, Heidelberg, 2014), pp. 83–100.

24. V.P. Guerrero–Bote and F. Moya–Anegon, “A further step forward in measuring journals’ scientific prestige: The SJR2 indicator,” J. Informetrics 6 (4), 674–688 (2012).

25. Kao, H. –W. Lin, S.–L. Chung, et al., “Ranking Taiwanese management journals: A case study,” Scientometrics 76, 95–115 (2008).

26. V. Claar and R. Gonzalez, “Ranking the rankings of journals in economics by quantifying journal demand,” Southwestern Econ. Rev. 41 (1), 79–88 (2014).

27. E.V. Balatsky and M.A. Yurevich, “Russian economic science on the international market of ‘predatory’ publications,” Zh. Nov. Ekon. Assots., No. 2, 190–198 (2021). https://doi.org/10.31737/2221-2264-2021-50-2-11

 


[1] Contrary to some opinions, we believe that the very fact of the transformation of science into a full–fledged branch of the national economy allows us to consider it as a market with all its inherent properties.

[2] A detailed concept of the journal market was introduced and substantiated in [2]. Hereinafter, we will use it to designate a multitude of competing participants entering into specific transactions that give them certain benefits; the market itself in this case is assumed as an information platform where supply and demand collide.

[3] We emphasize that the ESCI WoS category was initially relatively democratic, making it possible to include many journals from different countries there. However, despite this, the barrier to entry even into this category turned out to be sufficient for only 15 REJs to overcome it. Thus, the entry of the publication even into the ESCI WoS guarantees a certain minimum international level of quality.

[4] The ranker, in this case, is the RLEJ developer and compiler in the form of a group of experts (organization).

[5] In no case should one confuse the revolution regarding the presence of the REJs among international publications and the scientific revolution itself, which implies a revision of the basic principles of the content of science.

[6] Some high–quartile journals belong to several scientific disciplines. We distinguish between journals for political science and those for sociology.

[7] Against the thesis that not all eLibrary.Ru research authors seek to publish in high–quartile journals, one can object: this motivation is determined not so much by the wishes of the authors themselves as by the requirements of the regulator, who puts forward the presence of articles in prestigious journals as a prerequisite for holding scientific positions and acceptable earnings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translated by B. Alekseev

 

 

Official link to the article:

 

Balatsky E.V., Ekimova N.A. A Revolution in the Russian Segment of the International Market of Economics Journals // «Herald of the Russian Academy of Sciences», 2021, Vol. 91, No. 4, pp. 454–463.

 
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