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Editorial: Impact of special collections in JGR Space Physics
  • Michael W. Liemohn,
  • Paige Wooden
Michael W. Liemohn
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Corresponding Author:liemohn@umich.edu

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Paige Wooden
American Geophysical Union, American Geophysical Union
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Journals occasionally solicit manuscripts for special collections, in which all papers are focused on a particular topic within the journal’s scope. For the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, there have been 51 special collections from 2005 through 2018, with a total of 1009 papers out of the 8881 total papers in the journal over those years (11%). Taken together, the citations to special collection papers, as well as other metrics, are essentially the same as the non-special-collection papers. Several paper characteristics were examined to assess whether they could explain the higher citation and download values for SC papers, but they cannot. In addition, indirect methods were conducted for assessing self-citations as an explanation for the increased citations, but no evidence was found to support this hypothesis. It was found that some paper types, notably Commentaries and Technical Reports, have lower average citations but higher average downloads than Research Articles (the most common type of paper in this journal). This implies that such paper types have a different kind of impact than “regular” science-result-focused papers. In addition to having higher average citations and downloads, special collections focus community attention on that particular research topic, providing a deadline for manuscript submissions and a single webpage at which many related papers are listed. It is concluded that special collections are worth the extra community effort in organization, writing, and reviewing these papers.