Because a Citation and a Contribution are Not the Same: A Path for (Positive) Psychology Research

  • Louise LambertEmail author
  • Nausheen Pasha-Zaidi
  • Annie E. Crookes


Psychology research normally focuses on investigating questions specific to psychological interest, like distress or wellbeing, along with the methodologies used to generate such findings. However, the availability of research in published form is subject to a variety of criteria. So, what gets published, and more precisely, by whom and why? As psychology and the dissemination of psychological research become increasingly globalized, it is worth asking whether there are inherent biases and systems of privilege that may influence the answers to these questions and what the effects of such biases are. The concept of privilege is especially apt as academic publishing has historically been and continues to be a Caucasian enterprise of Western nations. This is not in dispute. Rather, this chapter examines how privilege permeates the publishing system. It explores how such systems affect the study of psychology in general as well as the emerging regional field of positive psychology, along with the implications of academic privilege for non-Western researchers.


  1. Al-Attas, S. M. N. (1993). Islam and secularism. Kuala Lumpur: International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC).Google Scholar
  2. Al-Faruqi, I. R. (1989). Islamization of knowledge: General principles and work plan (2nd ed.) Herndon, VA: International Institute of Islamic Thought.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, K. (2014). Modern misogyny. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Archambault, É., & Larivière, V. (2009). History of the journal impact factor: Contingencies and consequences. Scientometrics, 79(3), 635–649.Google Scholar
  5. Arnett, J. J. (2008). The neglected 95%: Why American psychology needs to become less American. American Psychologist, 63(7), 602–614.Google Scholar
  6. Arnett, J. J. (2009). The neglected 95%, a challenge to psychology’s philosophy of science. American Psychologist, 64(6), 571–574.Google Scholar
  7. Bartneck, C., & Kokkelmans, S. (2011). Detecting h-index manipulation through self-citation analysis. Scientometrics, 87(1), 85–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bennis, W. M., & Medin, D. L. (2010). Weirdness is in the eye of the beholder. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(2), 85–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bermant, G., Talwar, C., & Rozin, P. (2011). To celebrate positive psychology and extend its horizons. In K. M. Sheldon, T. B. Kashdan, & M. F. Steger (Eds.), Designing positive psychology: Taking stock and moving forward (pp. 430–438). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Biglu, M. H., Chakhmachi, N., & Biglu, S. (2014). Scientific study of Middle East countries in psychology. Collnet Journal of Scientometrics and Information Management, 7(2), 293–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bornmann, L. (2012). Measuring the societal impact of research. EMBO Reports, 13(8), 673–676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bornmann, L., Leydesdorff, L., & Krampen, G. (2012). Which are the “best” cities for psychology research worldwide? Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 8(4), 535–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cameron, B. D. (2005). Trends in the usage of ISI bibliometric data: Uses, abuses, and implications. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 5(1), 105–125.Google Scholar
  14. Chalmers, I., Essali, A., Rezk, E., & Crowe, S. (2012). Is academia meeting the needs of non-academic users of the results of research? Health in the Occupied Palestinian Territory 2012 (Conference Abstract). Retrieved from
  15. Christopher, J. C., & Hickinbottom, S. (2008). Positive psychology, ethnocentrism, and the disguised ideology of individualism. Theory & Psychology, 18, 563–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Christopher, J. C., Wendt, D. C., Marecek, J., & Goodman, D. M. (2014). Critical cultural awareness: Contributions to a globalizing psychology. American Psychologist, 69(7), 645–655.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Chorus, C., & Waltman, L. (2016). A large-scale analysis of impact factor biased journal self-citations. PLoS ONE, 11(8), e0161021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cope, B., & Phillips, A. (Eds.). (2014). The future of the academic journal. Cambridge, UK: Chandos Publishing.Google Scholar
  19. Coyne, J. C. (2012, April 11). Authors, don’t call us, we’ll call you. Psychology Today. Retrieved from
  20. Crespi, G., & Geuna, A. (2008). An empirical study of scientific production: A cross-country analysis, 1981–2002. Research Policy, 37(4), 565–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Diener, E. (2016). Improving departments of psychology. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11(6), 909–912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Directory of Open Access Journals. (no date). About DOAJ. Retrieved from
  23. Donovan, C. (2008). The Australian Research Quality Framework: A live experiment in capturing the social, economic, environmental, and cultural returns of publicly funded research. New Directions for Evaluation, 118, 47–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Evans, J. A. (2008). Electronic publication and the narrowing of science and scholarship. Science, 321(5887), 395–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Falagas, M. E., & Alexiou, V. G. (2008). The top-ten in journal impact factor manipulation. Archivum immunologiae et therapiae experimentalis, 56(4), 223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fessler, D. M. T. (2010). Cultural congruence between investigators and participants masks the unknown unknowns: Shame research as an example. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(2), 32.Google Scholar
  27. García-Martínez, A. T., Guerrero-Bote, V. P., & de Moya-Anegón, F. (2012). World scientific production in psychology. Universitas Psychologica, 11(3), 699–717.Google Scholar
  28. Gilbert, D. T., King, G., Pettigrew, S., & Wilson, T. D. (2016). Comment on “Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science”. Science, 351(6277), 1037a–1037b.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gone, J. P. (2011). Is psychological science a-cultural? Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 17(3), 234–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gordin, M. D. (2015). Absolute English. Aeon Magazine. Retrieved from
  31. Guerrero-Bote, V. P., & de Moya-Anegón, F. (2014). Relationship between downloads and citations at journal and paper levels, and the influence of language. Scientometrics, 101(2), 1043–1065.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Guerrero Bote, V. P., Olmeda-Gómez, C., & de Moya-Anegón, F. (2013). Quantifying the benefits of international scientific collaboration. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 64, 392–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Harris, R. (2018, February 24). Scientists aim to pull peer review out of the 17th century. NPR. Retrieved from
  34. Hartmann, W. E., Kim, E. S., Kim, J. H. J., Nguyen, T. U., Wendt, D. C., Nagata, D. K., et al. (2013). In search of cultural diversity, revisited: Recent publication trends in cross-cultural and ethnic minority psychology. Review of General Psychology, 17(3), 243–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Henrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(2–3), 61–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hicks, D., Wouters, P., Waltman, L., de Rijcke, S., & Rafols, I. (2015). Bibliometrics: The Leiden Manifesto for research metrics. Nature, 520(7548), 429–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Inbar, Y., & Lammers, J. (2012). Political diversity in social and personality psychology. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7(5), 496–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Johnson, A. G. (2006). Privilege, power, and difference (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  39. Kendall, F. E. (2006). Understanding white privilege: Creating pathways to authentic relationships across race. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  40. Kirschner, M. (2013, June 14). A perverted view of “impact” [Editorial]. Science, 340(6138), 1265.Google Scholar
  41. Klein, R. A., Ratliff, K. A., Vianello, M., Adams, R. B., Bahník, Š., Bernstein, M. J., … Nosek, B. A. (2014). Investigating variation in replicability: A “Many Labs” replication project. Social Psychology, 45(3), 142–152.Google Scholar
  42. Laakso, M., Welling, P., Bukvova, H., Nyman, L., Björk, B.-C., & Hedlund, T. (2011). The development of open access journal publishing from 1993 to 2009. PLoS ONE, 6(6), e20961.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lages, C. R., Pfajfar, G., & Shosham, A. (2015). Challenges in conducting and publishing research on the Middle East and Africa in leading journals. International Marketing Review, 32(1), 52–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lambert D’raven, L., & Pasha-Zaidi, N. (2014). Happiness strategies among Arab university students in the United Arab Emirates. The Journal of Happiness & Wellbeing, 2(1), 1–151.Google Scholar
  45. Lee, K., Brownstein, J. S., Mills, R. G., & Kohane, I. S. (2010). Does collocation inform the impact of collaboration? PLoS ONE, 5(12), e14279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lehmann, S., Jackson, A. D., & Lautrup, B. E. (2006). Measures for measures. Nature, 444, 1003–1004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lomas, T. (2015). Positive cross-cultural psychology: Exploring similarity and difference in constructions and experiences of wellbeing. International Journal of Wellbeing, 5(4), 60–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lynch, J. G., Alba, J. W., Krishna, A., Morwitz, V. G., & Gurhan-Canli, Z. (2012). Knowledge creation in consumer research: Multiple routes, multiple criteria. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22(4), 473–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Meho, L. I. (2007). The rise and rise of citation analysis. Physics World, 20(1), 32–36.Google Scholar
  50. Mills, E., Wu, P., Gagnier, J., Heels-Ansdell, D., & Montori, V. M. (2005). An analysis of general medical and specialist journals that endorse CONSORT found that reporting was not enforced consistently. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 58, 662–667.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Moriarty, P. (2016, March 14). Addicted to the brand: The hypocrisy of a publishing academic. Impact of Social Sciences Blog. Retrieved from
  52. National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). Characteristics of postsecondary faculty. Retrieved from
  53. Nosek, B. A., Ebersole, C. R., DeHaven, A. C., & Mellor, D. T. (2017, August 24). The preregistration revolution. Retrieved from
  54. Open Science Collaboration. (2015). Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science, 349(6251), aac4716–aac4716.Google Scholar
  55. Osman, O. T., & Afifi, M. (2010). Troubled minds in the Gulf: Mental health research in the United Arab Emirates (1989-2008). Asia–Pacific Journal of Public Health, 22(3), 48S–53S.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Pandey, S. (2011, Nov 22–24). Positive psychology: Blending strengths of western, eastern and other indigenous psychologies. Paper presented at 1st International Conference on Emerging Paradigms in Business & Social Sciences (EPBSS-2011), Middlesex University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.Google Scholar
  57. Park, D. C. (2009). Publishing in the psychological sciences: Enhancing journal impact while decreasing author fatigue. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4, 36–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Paton, C., Househ, M., & Malik, M. (2013). The challenges of publishing on health informatics in developing countries. Applied Clinical Informatics, 4(3), 428–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Paulus, F. M., Rademacher, L., Schäfer, T. A. J., Müller-Pinzler, L., & Krach, S. (2015). Journal impact factor shapes scientists’ reward signal in the prospect of publication. PLoS ONE, 10(11), e0142537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Rao, M. A., & Donaldson, S. I. (2015). Expanding opportunities for diversity in positive psychology: An examination of gender, race, and ethnicity. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 56(3), 271–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Rao, M. A., Donaldson, S. I., & Doiron, K. M. (2015). Positive psychology research in the Middle East and North Africa. Middle East Journal of Positive Psychology, 1(1), 60–76.Google Scholar
  62. Ravenscroft, J., Liakata, M., Clare, A., & Duma, D. (2017). Measuring scientific impact beyond academia: An assessment of existing impact metrics and proposed improvements. PLoS ONE, 12(3), e0173152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Remler, D. (2014, April 23). Are 90% of academic papers really never cited? Reviewing the literature on academic citations. London School of Economics and Political Science. Retrieved from
  64. Rodrigues, M. L., Nimrichter, L., & Cordero, R. J. B. (2016). The benefits of scientific mobility and international collaboration. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 363(21), fnw247.
  65. Rozin, P. (2007). Exploring the landscape of modern academic psychology: Finding and filling the holes. American Psychologist, 62, 754–766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Rozin, P. (2009). What kind of empirical research should we publish, fund and reward? A different perspective. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4, 435–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Schmid, S. L. (2013, September 3). Beyond CVs and impact factors: An employer’s manifesto. [Perspective]. Science, Retrieved from
  68. Science-Metrix. (2010 February). 30 years in science: Secular movements in knowledge creation. Montreal, Canada: Science-Metrix. Retrieved from
  69. Simonds, V. W., & Christopher, S. (2013). Adapting Western research methods to indigenous ways of knowing. American Journal of Public Health, 103(12), 2185–2192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Sohn, E. (2016). Collaboration: The geography of discovery. Nature, 533, S40–S42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Sullivan, G. M., & Feinn, R. (2012). Using effect size—or why the P value is not enough. Journal of Graduate Medical Education, 4(3), 279–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Taylor, S. E. (2009). Publishing in scientific journals: We’re not just talking to ourselves any more. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4, 38–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Testa, J. (2003). The Thomson ISI journal selection process. Serials Review, 29(3), 210–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Testa, J. (2009). The Thomson Reuters journal selection process. Transnational Corporations Review, 1(4), 59–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. van Assen, M. A. L. M., van Aert, R. C. M., Nuijten, M. B., & Wicherts, J. M. (2014). Why publishing everything is more effective than selective publishing of statistically significant results. PLoS ONE, 9(1), e84896.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Vosoughi, S., Roy, D., & Aral, S. (2018). The spread of true and false news online. Science, 359(6380), 1146–1151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Wong, P. T. P. (2013a). Cross-cultural positive psychology. In K. Keith (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural Psychology. Oxford, UK: Wiley Blackwell Publishers. Retrieved from
  78. Wong, P. T. P. (2013b). Chinese positive psychology: What is the ancient Chinese secret to resilience and happiness? Retrieved from
  79. Wong, P. T. P., & Roy, S. (2017). Critique of positive psychology and positive interventions. In N. J. L. Brown, T. Lomas, & F. J. Eiroa-Orosa (Eds.), The Routledge international handbook of critical positive psychology. London, UK: Routledge. Retrieved from
  80. Yang, K.-S. (2012). Indigenous psychology, Westernized psychology, and indigenized psychology: A non-Western psychologist’s view. Chang Gung Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 5(1), 1–32.Google Scholar
  81. Yousefi-Nooraie, R., Shakiba, B., & Mortaz-Hejri, S. (2006). Country development and manuscript selection bias: A review of published studies. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 6, 37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Zebian, S., Alamuddin, R., Maalouf, M., & Chatila, Y. (2007). Developing an appropriate psychology through culturally-sensitive research practices in the Arabic speaking world: A content analysis of psychological research conducted between 1950 and 2004. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 38(2), 91–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louise Lambert
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nausheen Pasha-Zaidi
    • 2
  • Annie E. Crookes
    • 3
  1. 1.United Arab Emirates UniversityAl AinUAE
  2. 2.Houston Community CollegeUniversity of Houston-DowntownHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Heriot Watt UniversityDubaiUAE

Personalised recommendations