Recently I published a paper in as a short communication in a Springer Journal in Natural Science discipline (Impact Factor 3.56). It was a short paper within 2500 words and 3 figures although the figures can be split up to 8-10 independent figures to make it a full length research paper.

I shared this paper in the social media after it got published. A few of my contacts asked me why I published it as a short communication, rather than as a full research article. They also mentioned that short communications are in general not treated as peer reviewed articles even if it underwent a rigorous review process. They have now suggested making it a full paper with some additional results.

My questions are:

  • Does this publication really have no Impact factor as of the Journal?
  • Does people cite the results published in short communications?
  • Is it always possible to extend the short communicated articles to full length? If possible, then can I copy all or some of the point-to-point texts and results already published in the short communications? Will it be considered as self plagiarism?
  • Communications are prestigious in many fields. At least they should show novelty and urgency. Of course, nowadays it is not always true, but still they get screened more thoroughly even before referee assignment. By the way a single paper would have a certain impact, say the number of time it is cited, but not an IF. This is made clear in answers below.
    – Alchimista
    Jul 8, 2020 at 11:21

1 Answer 1

  • Impact factors are assigned to journals not papers. No paper has an impact factor. The impact factor of the journal you published in, and the format makes no difference to that (as long as it is a peer reviewed format).

  • In my field (molecular biology/genomics/bioinformatics) people absolutely cite short communications.

  • Once a paper is published, you cannot publish exactly the same work as a full length article. You might publish further analysis of the same data, or the same analysis on different data, or different work that comes to the same conclusions, but you cannot just expand this same work to a new paper. Your new paper must also acknowledge the existance of the previous, and therefore would probably not be seen as as novel as the first one.

  • 1
    Agreed. At least in my field, communications are often used to report some extremely interesting and new finding in a quick (both writing and peer-reviewing) way, one of the reasons they are often cited a lot. In one of the major chemistry journals (Angewandte Chemie), communications are the standard form of publication. Jul 7, 2020 at 17:55
  • @Ian Sudbery . My intention was to ask whether does the short communication has same value as of full research articles published in one Journal. It is very well known many Journals do publish many type of articles, even just news of less than 500 words, do you think/confirm all published stuffs in a Journal carry same values?
    – Kay
    Jul 8, 2020 at 1:42
  • The value of work is determined by its content, not by its form. Let me put it this way: if some is just going to judge you on the journal title they see on a publication list, they are not going to know whether its a short communication.Some one who is going to look at the work will judge it on its merits. Jul 8, 2020 at 9:08
  • Articles generally have more content than short communications, and therefore, on average, might be more valuable. But not necessarily so - a 7 fig article can just be incremental, where as a 3 fig short comm can change the world. Note that 7 fig articles also have many panels per figure, and often many supplementary figures as well, not just the same amount of content spread out more. Jul 8, 2020 at 9:13
  • @IanSudbery It seems very difficult for me to understand. Anyway, thanks for the inputs. In my understanding, the journal journals 'Nature' or 'Science' mostly publish very few pages even less than 3 pages, but they carry one of the highest values now a days. So pages doesn't matter. What matters is the contents and information. So I don't agree that full article will be more valuable than short communications in the same journal just due to more content. For you information, my short communication paper has also supplements with another 5 Figures and 3 Tables.
    – Kay
    Jul 9, 2020 at 3:27

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