Russian Science Citation Index on the WoS platform: a critical assessment

Publication Date09 September 2019
Date09 September 2019
AuthorAlexei Kassian,Larisa Melikhova
SubjectLibrary & information science,Records management & preservation,Document management,Classification & cataloguing,Information behaviour & retrieval,Collection building & management,Scholarly communications/publishing,Information & knowledge management,Information management & governance,Information management,Information & communications technology,Internet
Russian Science Citation Index
on the WoS platform: a
critical assessment
Alexei Kassian
Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences,
Moscow, Russian Federation and
Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration,
Moscow, Russian Federation, and
Larisa Melikhova
Dissernet, Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the journals of the Russian Science Citation Index (RSCI)
(Web of Science platform) in respect to publication misconduct and predatory practices.
Design/methodology/approach The paper employs formal criteria developed by the Disseropedia of
Russian Journals (a.k.a. the Journal Project of the Russian Dissernet).
Findings A substantial number of the RSCI journals violate publishing ethics and/or are involved in
predatory practices ( fake peer-review, plagiarism and self-plagiarism, publication of pseudoscientific papers and
so on). Thegeneral trend is negative:the number of suchjournals was higherin July 2018 than in 2015 whenthe
RSCI was launched. The authors propose that this situation is due to the non-transparent and partlydefective
process of journal selectioninvolved; primarily it canbe attributed to problemswith the RSCI expert pool.
Research limitations/implications Many cases of publication misconduct are inevitably overlooked
due to natural limitations of the tools.
Originality/value The approach and methods were developed by the Disseropedia of Russian Journals
and the Dissernet for the specific local Russian situation, where the scientific and editorial community is
corrupt and the institution of reputation does not work properly. The authors believe that the experience may
also be helpful for scientists and academic officials from other countries.
Keywords Plagiarism, Predatory journals, Dissernet, Disseropedia of Russian Journals, Publishing ethics,
Russian Science Citation Index
Paper type Research paper
In 2012 in Russia, Putins so-called May Decrees were made public which implied, among
other things, various incentives intended to stimulate the development of science in Russia
and an increase in the number of articles by Russian scientists in Web of Science journals.
From this point forward a bibliometric boom started in Russia that predictably led to an
increasing number of high-quality publications by Russian authors in international
academic journals (Kasyanov, 2017; Moed et al., 2018), on the one hand, and to various
predatory practices and violations of publishing ethics (Dissernet, 2018; Kuleshova and
Podvoyskiy, 2018; Sterligov, 2017; Sterligov and Savina, 2016), on the other hand.
One of the outcomes of this Russian bibliometric boom was the establishment of the
Russian Science Citation Index (RSCI) on the Web of Science platform https://clarivate. RSCI was compiled and is currently supported by
the collaboration of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS)and Russias Scientific Electronic
Library (a.k.a., which previously developed and currently maintains the Russian
national citation index a huge databasecalled Russian Index of Science Citation,Moskaleva
et al., 2018).RSCI, a subset of Russian Indexof Science Citation, was designedas a database of
the best Russian scientific journals and is currently being extended to Russian-language
journals from other post-Soviet states as well.
Journal of Documentation
Vol. 75 No. 5, 2019
pp. 1162-1168
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/JD-02-2019-0033
Received 19 February 2019
Revised 15 April 2019
Accepted 15 April 2019
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