The future of all publishing is open to question, and this is especially true in the case of psychoanalytic publishing. Stepansky (2009) has explored the future of psychoanalytic publishing with a particular emphasis upon how the digital era has had an impact upon the decline of scholarly publication in the United States. If this trend continues, the survival of contemporary psychoanalytic research will depend upon its capacity to embrace and utilize digital publishing.
Echoing this perspective, we tried to determine whether the seemingly small international visibility of contemporary French psychoanalytic research could be related to its lack of acknowledgment of the impact of digitalization on rules of writing and publishing.
We believe that achieving visibility doesn't chiefly depend on overcoming a language barrier (not such an issue for younger generations), cultural differences, or geographical distance (made irrelevant by the Internet). Rather, our intuition is that French psychoanalytic work would become more visible if it demonstrated familiarity with psychoanalytic work in English, citing it and engaging in dialogue.
Anglo-American psychoanalytic publications follow a specific rule of digitalized, database-anchored research. This rule is that the bibliometric value of a journal, which largely conditions its academic visibility and value, depends on the algorithmic measure of the number and type of cites that it receives from published articles published. (This is the case, in different ways, with the commonest algorithms: Thomson's Impact Factor and SCImago's Journal and Country Rank.) In other words, the algorithmic measure of this value ultimately depends on whether and how researchers cite a given journal—these citation practices will then, in turn, make it a more desirable publishing venue. The bottom line is that citations have a real effect, as they directly contributing to the space of academic publishing by differentiating journals both numerically and hierarchically.
It is plausible to imagine that an increase in the number of Anglo-American journal citations in French journals would be likely to produce a rise in international visibility for French journals. Of course, this is speculative and cannot (yet) be put to test. Let us begin with a preliminary effort: to draw on an original database in order (a) to determine whether French psychoanalytic productions are visible internationally, and (b) to clarify the citation practices comparatively between the French and Anglo-American contexts. To the best of our knowledge, this issue has not been addressed so far; in providing preliminary data and reflections, our hope is modest: to inspire discussion and debate.
To that end, we first measure the citational visibility of French vs. Anglo-American psychoanalytic journals across all disciplines and languages (their respective global outreach); we then relate this outreach measure to a geographic breakdown of psychoanalytic article citations, in order to make sense of specific geographical differences in citation practices.