In 2012, the official journal of the Korean Society of Plastic and Reconstructive
Surgeons began publishing exclusively in English and changed its name to Archives
of Plastic Surgery (APS). Through the contributions of the Editorial Board, reviewers,
authors, and journal staff, APS has quickly transformed into a truly international
journal, with authors and studies originating from all over the world.
Journal metrics-such as the number of articles, impact factor, citation frequency,
citations per two years, Hirsch index, country of authors, and country of citing articles'
authors-are often used to demonstrate quality and influence in academic publication.
Although such metrics cannot fully describe the quality of research and ideas reported
by the journal, the depth and breadth of the international academic community that
has formed around its texts and practices, or the influence of the journal's content
on clinical practice, they still provide important insights about the growth and development
of a journal. Thus all these journal metrics were gathered and analyzed from Web of
Science, SCImago Journal Ranking, Scopus, and KoreaMed Synapse. The proportion of
the original articles that reported on research that had been funded was also calculated.
The methods are the same as those used previously to analyze other journals based
in Korea [1,2].
The results were interesting. The number of citable articles in Korean or English
from the journal under its old title, Journal of the Korean Society of Plastic and
Reconstructive Surgeons (JKSPRS), from Volume 18 (1991) to Volume 38 (2011) was 2,585.
The number of articles from APS from Volume 39 (2012) to Volume 41 No. 4 (2014) was
352. From Web of Science, the number of citations of 21 years' worth of JKSPRS was
217 citations of 149 articles; strikingly, in less than 2 years' worth of APS publication,
280 citations of 135 APS articles occurred (up to September 2014). Therefore, the
average number of citations per article for JKSPRS was 0.084, while that of APS was
an order of magnitude higher, at 0.795. The citations per document (2 years) for APS
from the 2013 SCImago Journal and Country Ranking, was 1.074. The SCImago Journal
Rank indicator (SJR) was 0.424, which is a ranking of 178 out of 379 surgery journals
(47.0%). The countries of authors published in APS from January 2012 to September
2014 are presented in Fig. 1. The countries of authors who cited APS from 2012 to
September 2014 in Web of Science are shown in Fig. 2. The Hirsch index from Web of
Science was 6 (Table 1), that from Scopus was 7 (Table 2), and that from DOI/CrossRef
was 8 (Table 3). The number of funded research articles out of 199 original articles
was 34 (17.1%).
For many years, the quality of the papers published in JKSPRS was not properly reflected
in the journal metrics, not only because many articles were written in Korean, but
also because the journal had not been indexed in the appropriate platforms. On the
other hand, although 305 out of 387 articles published in APS during the study period
were written by Korean researchers, with the English-language journal's broader exposure,
its authors have been affiliated with 33 countries (Fig. 1). Furthermore, the authors
who cited APS were from 35 countries (Fig. 2), which shows that APS has excellent
exposure to readers around the world. The difference in the Hirsch index calculated
from each of three databases, Web of Science, Scopus, and DOI/CrossRef, originated
from the number of journals and papers covered by the databases. Usually the Hirsch
index from DOI/CrossRef is the highest, which corroborates the results found for APS
. The proportion of funded articles was rather low, which was not surprising, given
that much of APS addresses clinical phenomena, not basic studies.
Among the factors that have influenced the radical change in journal metrics, the
change in the language might be the most important. In addition, in order to encourage
citation by other researchers, the platform has been found to be more important than
the open access policy . Since PubMed is the most important database platform in
medical research, being listed in PubMed is critical for exposure to an international
readership. When the journal is chosen to be included in PubMed Central, it can be
indexed in PubMed. PubMed Central only accepts medical journals in English with an
acceptable quality of Journal Article Tag Suite XML [5,6,7]. If a journal is not included
in PubMed Central, being indexed in PubMed requires being selected for MEDLINE, which
has become increasingly exclusive. Thus it is particularly valuable that APS was chosen
for PubMed Central on its own merits, including its language and quality.
Almost all major medical journals in Korea, including APS, have adopted the following
policies and processes: first, changing the language of the journal to English only
; second, publishing with open access according to Creative Commons licensing guidelines;
third, producing full-text Journal Article Tag Suite (JATS) XML; fourth, depositing
XML files to PubMed Central and ScienceCentral; fifth, asking PubMed Central to deposit
XML in PubMed; and finally, actively recruiting authors from outside Korea. APS has
been searchable from PubMed Central and PubMed since July 12, 2012. APS has already
provided a digital object identifier, CrossMark, and FundRef for each article [9,10],
so Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) is the next tool to be included ,
following international standards. Audio or video files should also be posted on the
APS website to increase the visibility of the articles .
The development of APS up to its present level of quality and exposure has been made
possible by changing the language of the journal to English, producing full-text JATS
XML files, and depositing those files to PubMed Central. Therefore, the decision of
the Board of Directors of the Korean Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
in 2011 to change the language of the official journal from Korean to English only
beginning with the 2012 issues was a milestone in the journal's history.