Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto - OCS, 15th INTERNATIONAL ISKO CONFERENCE

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Mariângela Spotti Lopes Fujita, Maria Del Carmen Agustín-Lacruz, Ana Lúcia Silva Terra

Last modified: 2018-06-19


Representation practices in knowledge organization are important for information access and retrieval and contribute to the intellectual and social organization of knowledge (HJØRLAND, 2003). The production of academic scientific knowledge that needs to be formally or informally recorded has always been linked to the publishing world that establishes the forms of publication and distribution of knowledge.

Knowledge visibility came to be measured by the repercussion of scientific production and publicationsin citation indexes through calculations of the impact factor of scientific journals, their main communication vehicle. With the advances of the Internet in information and communication technologies, the means of production and dissemination have changed in an irreversible way, thus enabling the academic world to dominate publishing and distribution, which gave rise to a movement known as open access.


However, due to the impact factor and the publishers’ control over knowledge, open access to important scientific journals is not allowed and requires subscriptions. Nonetheless, open access and subscription-based journals are now also available on Google and Google Scholar, whose meta search engines provide a fast and broad search for scientific literature through titles, abstracts and keywords.

In the formal writing of articles, the title, abstract and keywords have been the essential elements of knowledge representation since the appearance of the first scientific journals. Intellectual access is provided by organizing document representations in catalogs, bibliographies, indexes and databases (HJØRLAND, 2003). Therefore, these representations are determinants of the visibility and measurement of the intellectual and social impact factor.

Scientific journals are, at the same time, an indispensable chanel of expression and reception for the creators and consumers of information (DELGADO LÓPEZ-CÓZAR, RUIZ PÉREZ and JIMÉNEZ-CONTRERAS, 2007). Until the emergence of the Internet, access to articles was controlled by online information retrieval systems that had very specific rules for the normalization of titles, abstracts and keywords. In the current digital environment, a growing number of scientific journals, especially those published by academic institutions, is available via open access to online repositories.This means that the conventional publishing world and its professionals have a minor presence and control over the elements of documentary representation, titles, abstracts and keywords, the elaboration of which they once used to participate in a relevant way by using specialized techniques and tools. Search engines, such as Google Scholar, specialize in delivering academic and scientific content by means of retrieval strategies based on full texts and natural language.However, nowadays authors themselves are responsible for providing the document representation elements (title, abstract and keywords) of their papers and metadata of scientific journals are available electronically. In this context, the editorial policies established by the journals, especially guidelines for authors as tostandardization, style, structure, extension and format forwriting and submission of their articles are particularly relevant.


International standardization entities (ISO, UNESCO), stylebooks or style guides of publishing companies (Oxford University Press, SAGE), universities,scientific societies and professional associations (American Psychological Association) perform the standardization of scientific publications. Thus, they contribute to the systematization and evaluation process of knowledge communication and dissemination.

Considering the importance of these issues, the purpose of this exploratory study was to observe and analyze some editorial policies and guidelines provided for authors on writing their papers’ title, abstract and keywords. Journals indexed in the Journal Citation Reports (JCR)[1]of Librarianship and Information Science (LIS - Library & Information Science) and Communication Sciences (CS-Communication Science) were used as representative samples. To this end, a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques was used. A quantitative approach addressed a representative sample selected from the JCR taking into account the first 8 titles of each one of the four quartiles. The sample consisted of 32 scientific journals from the LIS area out of a total of 85 correspondents (37.6%) and 32 from the CS area out of a total of 82 (39%).

In order to perform the quantitative and qualitative analyses, a spreadsheet was designed for data collection and processing containing 36 items grouped into four categories: journal identification data, guidelines for the title, abstract and keywords of the scientific article and, at the end, a field for notes and observations.Then, the categories established for each knowledge area (Librarianship and Information Science and Communication Sciences) were analyzed by comparison in order to verify the use of specific aspects of knowledge organization and representation in editorial policies.

The results showed that it is possible to define a model with the more specific aspects of the intellectual and social organization of knowledge that can be included in the editorial policies of indexed journals, especially those allowing open access, since searchers retrieve data from the essential elements of knowledge representation: title, abstract and keywords.

Both common and specific data are present in this model: a) identification of the scientific journal (title, web address, ISSN, ranking position, impact factor, type of access and standardization manual and style adopted); b) guidelines for the title of the scientific article (writing, translation, language of translation, section of the journal, indications as to the number and types of words, type of information content, subtitle, abbreviations, acronyms, symbols and formulas and style);c) guidelines for abstracts (writing, translation, language of translation, section of the journal, indications as to the number of words, type of information content, abbreviations, acronyms, symbols and formulas, style and inclusion of bibliographical references); and d) guidelines for keywords (writing, translation, language of translation, section of the journal, indication of the number of words and separation punctuation, vocabulary control and type).

The comparative analysis, however, showed that the scientific journals of the areas under analysis need specific guidelines for an adequate knowledge representation in their editorial policy regarding the writing of titles, abstracts and keywords in the digital environments of open and intermediate access.

This exploratory study concludes that it is necessary to expand and deepen into more theoretical and applied research on the essential processes of knowledge organization and representation in editorial policies. It is also relevant to elaborate proposals for standardization and style manuals with instructions for authors of scientific papers.

Keywords: knowledge organization, scientific journals, editorial policies



DELGADO LÓPEZ-CÓZAR, E., RUIZ PÉREZ, R. y JIMÉNEZ-CONTRERAS, E. (2007). La edición de revistas científicas. Directrices, criterios y modelos de evaluación. Madrid: Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología (FECID). Disponible en https://www.revistacomunicar.com/pdf/2011-04-Delgado.pdf. Consultado el 2-10-2017.

Hjorland, B. (2003). Fundamentals of knowledge organization. Knowledge Organization, v. 30, n .2, p. 87-111.