May 16, 2022

Research Article: “How Faculty Define Quality, Prestige, and Impact Of Academic Journals”

The article linked below was recently published by PLOS One.


How Faculty Define Quality, Prestige, and Impact Of Academic Journals


Esteban Morales
University of British Columbia

Erin C. McKiernan
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Meredith T. Niles
University of Vermont

Lesley Schimanski
Simon Fraser University

Juan Pablo Alperin
Simon Fraser University


PLoS ONE 16(10): e0257340.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257340


Despite the calls for change, there is significant consensus that when it comes to evaluating publications, review, promotion, and tenure processes should aim to reward research that is of high “quality,” is published in “prestigious” journals, and has an “impact.” Nevertheless, such terms are highly subjective and present challenges to ascertain precisely what such research looks like. Accordingly, this article responds to the question: how do faculty from universities in the United States and Canada define the terms quality, prestige, and impact of academic journals? We address this question by surveying 338 faculty members from 55 different institutions in the U.S. and Canada. While relying on self-reported definitions that are not linked to their behavior, this study’s findings highlight that faculty often describe these distinct terms in overlapping ways. Additionally, results show that marked variance in definitions across faculty does not correspond to demographic characteristics. This study’s results highlight the subjectivity of common research terms and the importance of implementing evaluation regimes that do not rely on ill-defined concepts and may be context specific.

Direct to Full Text Article

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.