With this edition (Vol. V, No. 3) the Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities completes five years of its glorious presence online. The journal was conceived mainly as a scholarly platform seeking standardization of scholarship and research, and as an online experiment helped by the Web 2.0 phenomenon for dissemination and access in non-profit model on a user-friendly interface on the digital media. With the very first issue we took up measures for standardizing its publishing system following certain established global norms, and the journal began to be recognized by scholarly indexing, archiving and directory and library services like EBSCO, Elsevier Scopus, MLA, DOAJ, Archive-it etc. But the biggest recognition and acceptance came from scholars who contributed to it as readers, authors and editors. We have been trying very hard in spite of being a non-profit initiative, to improve the quality with every issue and introduced new user-friendly services following certain norms—scholarly, ethical, technical. New areas were selected for research and enquiry, and new scholarly voices were encouraged and promoted. Several special issues were brought out successfully with much enthusiasm from different parts of the globe.
Our experience with Rupkatha also led us to critically consider a number of things associated with scholarly publishing. It has been found that certain new developments are seriously hampering higher scholarly research pursuits. Quantity has become the target of the scholarly communities. Many scholars, particularly from India, are forced to ‘produce’ papers in order not to perish, or at least face the ghost of promotion with some cards. The result is the explosion of ISSN-approved journals which indulge in a number of unethical business practices to reap money, in many cases at the cost of doing away with the review system, plagiarism and low quality. This phenomenon is being seriously exploited by a number of individuals/organizations who issue “Impact Factors” faking the one issued by Thomson Reuters.
While even the trade-marked IF by Thomson Reuters is under criticism, search is on in the international level for better alternatives. Without setting aside Thomson’s IF, we think definitive alternatives should be there to evaluate an article on its own merit and a journal on over-all factors and its performance based on policies and publication. In fact, the web has made it easier to evaluate scholarly material because of its networked condition and inter-operability. The point is: more effective algorithm can be formulated after keeping in view national and international levels so that an author’s interests can be safeguarded and that of a journal as well. True scholarship is not a matter of number game or marks sheet. To ensure quality as the only criterion, immediate steps need to be taken to fix the markers of quality of research and publication.
So, rather than evaluating ‘impact’, algorithm should be fixed for calculating Quality Factor for both an individual article and a journal or magazine. On the international level, non-profit organization like the ISSN and the UGC on the national level in India can take such initiative in formulating the criteria for evaluating Quality Factor.