Top 10 Largest Academic Journals in the Global South in 2022

September 06, 2023

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Greater representation of societies and smaller publishers

While the top 10 largest journals as reported by Scientific Journal Rankings (SJR) in all of 2022 were from well-known, global publishers, none of them were from the Global South 1 (you can see the list here and find additional information about each journal in our database ). These journals were largely multidisciplinary with varying scopes, but seven out of 10 came from MDPI, while Nature Publishing Group, Public Library of Science, and IEEE filled out the list2. This is not surprising, as a 2018 study indicated that over 70% of academic publishers were headquartered in North America or Europe3.

The trends we found in the largest journals were not matched by the largest journals from the Global South (we are not including conference proceedings or book series in this list) were niche journals either published by a small publisher or by a more well-known publisher on behalf of a society or institution.

Journal

Country

2022 Publications

JIF

Journal of Materials Research and Technology

Brazil

1923

6.4

Indian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery

India

1447

0.6

Nano Research

China

1363

9.9

International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology

Iran

1261

3.1

Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

India

1195

3.1

Asian Journal of Surgery

Taiwan

1136

3.5

Food Science and Technology (Brazil)

Brazil

1086

/

Shipin Kexue/Food Science

China

1080

/

Laser and Optoelectronics Progress

China

1036

/

Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology

India

996

/

The #10 overall journal’s (Molecules) publishing volume is over 4.5-fold larger than the Global South’s largest journal, the Journal of Materials Research and Technology. Compared to the year’s largest journal, Scientific Reports, the difference in volume is over 11-fold. This really highlights the disparity of where research is published and, along the same lines, who gets to publish. A review in 2020 indicated that some authors felt publishers from the Global North were too slow, too pedantic about language use, or otherwise gatekept them when it came to certain disciplines4. If authors feel they can’t – or won’t be allowed to – publish in certain journals, they may self-select other choices without ever applying.

The three-year totals show a fairly large shuffle of who’s on the top 10 list, but the differences in publishing volumes remain quite vast. Note that bolded journals can be found on both lists.

Journal

Country

2019-2021 Publications

2022 Publications

JIF

Journal of Materials Research and Technology

Brazil

3516

1923

6.4

Pan African Medical Journal

Nigeria

2979

901

/

Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology

India

2851

996

/

Journal of Thoracic Disease

Hong Kong

2824

517

2.5

Zhendong yu Chongji/Journal of Vibration and Shock

China

2755

915

/

Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

India

2746

1195

3.1

Nongye Gongcheng Xuebao/Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering

China

2699

656

2.1

Wuli Xuebao/Acta Physica Sinica

China

2467

986

1.0

Chinese Traditional and Herbal Drugs

China

2438

832

/

Laser and Optoelectronics Progress

China

2399

1036

/

The top journal has a three-year publishing volume that is more than 18-fold lower than Scientific Reports three-year output. Most of these journals do reflect a three-year total that is roughly three times the size of their 2022 total, which cannot be said for all of the journals of the overall largest list.

If you’re wondering how these journals compare to the average journal in SJR’s database, we ran the numbers. Though these journals’ totals are still well above average, it is not to the same degree as the global top 10.

As some larger journals and publishers have been targeted by bad actors (such as paper mills or peer review rings) over the past few years, it will be interesting to see if authors begin to opt for smaller journals closer to home. Smaller teams may have more communication, but may also be less well-equipped to deal with trouble should it arrive. We’re interested to see how authors view journals published outside the Global North in years to come.

References

  1. https://www.scimagojr.com/journalrank.php?order=titem&ord=desc
  2. https://www.peeref.com/blog/top-10-largest-academic-journals-in-2022
  3. Collyer, F. (2018) Global patterns in the publishing of academic knowledge: Global North, global South. Current Sociology, 66(1), 56–73. DOI: 10.1177/0011392116680020
  4. Mills, D., Inouye, K. (2020) Problematizing ‘predatory publishing’: A systematic review of factors shaping publishing motives, decisions, and experiences. Learned Publishing, 34, 89–104. DOI: 10.1002/leap.1325
Top 10 Largest Academic Journals in 2022
Top 10 Largest Academic Journals in 2022
Top 10 Largest Academic Publishers in 2022
Top 10 Largest Academic Publishers in 2022
Top 10 Largest Academic Publishers in the Global South in 2022
Top 10 Largest Academic Publishers in the Global South in 2022

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