Let’s start this ANALYTICS category with an outlook of an ion channel research productivity expressed in the number of ion channel-related papers per year. Here’s what we have from the Pubmed Results By Year.
Well, the good news is that starting from the late 70s, we observe a stable increase in the number of ion channel articles published every year. This suggests the increasing interest in the field as well as an increase in the number of scientists, labs and companies working on ion channels. However, in 2012-2014, this trend reversed, and now (December 2019) we are somewhere at the level of 2005 in terms of the number of articles per year. Does this mean that the ion channel field is in recession nowadays? No way. Look at the total number of articles in the Medline per year (see here). You’ll see the same reversed trend.
What does it mean? This could potentially suggest that scientific publishing, in general, becomes more difficult and time-consuming. Articles now contain more figures, more text, more supplementary data and more authors (and I want to believe more value). In order to publish, authors now have to pass through more rounds of revision and satisfy more demanding referees. And, of course, everybody now wants their work to be published in a prestigious high-impact-factor journal, so before sending a paper to a “normal-good-classic” journal, many will test their luck and try Nature/Science/Cell-type of luxury journals first. All these factors delay actual publication.
Indeed, this could be the reason for this downward trend. Is it the only reason? If yes, what can we do to reverse this trend back (do we really need to do this?)? If not, what might be the other reasons? We’ll talk about this in the next articles on ionchannellibrary.com.