Many criteria are used to judge scholarship holistically. They include scientific discoveries that advance the field, high-impact peer-reviewed journal articles, securing research grants, invitations to present at conferences as a keynote speaker, and attracting graduate andpostdoctoral students to study at one’s home institution.
Observational and theoretical physicists are acutely aware that sustained high-impact article publication is necessary both to advance the field and their own careers.
However, these criteria a difficult to quantify, and in top notch research school what is looked at is whether an individual has contributed to transformative advances and it's impact on the field, rather than the quantity published. At a research-level institution, it’s certainly publication,not just the number of publications, but also the impact in the field. So there’s some balance between the size of the body of work, as well as the number of citations that are garnered by that body of work.
HEP users don't use journals as it's primary communication medium. Instead, HEP information is attained from the community, and discipline wide sources.
However, journals are still important to the discipline by acting as gateways to officialdom.Journals are "typically society-owned are few in number, have page charges, and display high acceptance rates. The field has a strong pre-publication tradition that functions in parallel with formal publication." (Harley et al. 2010, 138)
HEP journals provide evaluation of institutes and (young) researchers based on high-quality peer-reviewed journals. Implicitly, the HEP community supports this role by purchasing subscriptions, as ~80-90% reads only arXiv. Some subscription prices make the current model unsustainable, in HEP and elsewhere.
As an “all-arXiv discipline” HEP is at high risk to see its journal canceled by large multidisciplinary university libraries (when not already happened). (Gentil-Beccot et al. 2008)
Observational and theoretical astrophysicists have closely related scholarly communication practices. Like astrophysicists, High Energy Physicists choose to publish in the most selective peer-reviewed journals appropriate to the desired audience. Given the small size of the field, [HEP] has relatively few refereed journals.
Most of the journals are published by professional societies and, compared to other fields, have high acceptance rates.
Similar to economics, a strong pre-publication culture enables scholars to get well-developed articles into the public domain. (Harley et al. 2010, 148)
Top 10 Nuclear and HEP Journals
as determined by Scimago Journal 2013 Rankings.