Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM Careers

Avalanche of Papers Could Erode Trust In Science

View as: Print Mobile App Share:
college student writing

The rising number of published articles has led to "impact inflation," researchers say.

The number of academic articles published worldwide increased to 2.8 million in 2022, up 47% from 2016, and scientists are increasingly overwhelmed by the volume.

A few publishers have disproportionately contributed to total article growth, and their turnaround time for peer-reviewed articles is "far lower than comparable publishers," according to a study and analysis of the situation. Their practices could undermine public trust in science, researchers warn.

"Public trust in science depends on science being done properly," says Dr. Mark Hanson at the University of Exeter, an author of the study. "That means articles should be properly peer-reviewed," some should be rejected, or revised and improved. "Our findings suggest that for some publishers that's not happening," Hanson says.

The pressures on researchers to publish or perish has likely amplified offers from publishers to publish more articles, the study says. "We also observed widespread year-over-year inflation of journal impact factors . . . which risks confusing quality signals. Such exponential growth cannot be sustained." The researchers define metrics which "should enable this evolving conversation to reach actionable solutions to address the strain on scientific publishing."

From University of Exeter
View Full Article


No entries found