Leading scientific publications in Europe and the United States have begun to refuse to publish scientists from Russia, national daily Izvestia reported on Friday.
This trend is due to the sanctions against Russia - submissions are being returned automatically, without review, whereas usually it is only decided after review whether a work will be published, the paper said, citing five leading scientists at the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and publishers of Russian journals in the fields of physics and chemistry.
"The general situation is such. An article is supposed to be sent to reviewers, based on their review a decision is made. Now - by the way the same thing happened in 2008 when the war in South Ossetia broke out - the main publishers are not sending articles to reviewers, but sending us a rejection. In the rejection they write that they get many articles and the selection, they say, is very tough," the paper quoted Pavel Troshin, a senior research associate at the Chemical Physics Institute of the RAS, as saying.
He said that he has had more than one hundred publications in the period from 2009 through 2013 and did not get a single rejection letter, but in the past three months there have already been six or seven rejections.
A number of his colleagues at the institute also noted this trend. The head research associate at the Chemical Physics Institute, Sergei Chapyshev said materials are rejected for fairly formal reasons.
"I sent an article to the Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry (published by Germany's Beilstein Institute), where I've been published before. Usually the editor sends the material to reviewers, for expert review for originality and so on. This time they did not send it, they immediately said that the journal is not interested in the article, which is strange - the journal is on organic chemistry, which is what the article is about. And the co-authors of that article weren't surprised by this, they said that many of their acquaintances from other RAS departments had also started getting rejections from the journal," Chapyshev said.
The Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry told Izvestia that they have not seen an increase in the number of rejections.
Scientists say that an important factor that often determines the future of an article is the presence of co-authors from abroad. Such articles have a far better chance of being published, but even such research papers have fallen under the axe.
"According to the experience of 2008, a joint article with foreign authors is rejected automatically if it's sent from a Russian server, but if, for example, [it's sent] from an Austrian one it is accepted," Troshin said.
The paper said that another formal excuse for a western publisher is to declare that the article does not meet the publication's impact factor, it's rating calculated by average citations for the year. A number of scientists who have received rejections from journals with high ratings - more than six - have concluded that they will certainly not be published in them.
They include the journals of major European and U.S. publishers, such as Wiley (Biophysical Chemistry, Chemical Physics Letters, Journal of America Chemical Society), RSC (Chemical Communications), Elsevier (Tetrahedron Letters) and ASC (Organometallics). Scientists believe that these journals are colluding. The editorial offices of these publications were unable to comment promptly, Izvestia said.
Russian natural sciences journals confirmed this trend. Irina Makhova, said many authors are bringing in articles that were initially prepared for a foreign journal. However, she said some of them did actually reach reviewers.
She also said that her office is having difficult relations with its partner, publisher Elsevier, in which Mendeleev Communications publishes all its issues twice per month.
However, the Science and Education Ministry denies that sanctions against Russia have spread to the publication of Russian scientific works. The ministry's press service said that the increase in the number of rejections could be due to Russian scientists submitting more research papers ahead of the reporting period, Izvestia said. Scientists report on publications to the Federal Science Agency in October-November.
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