[Irtalk] The Big IF: Is Journal Impact Factor really so important?

Smith, Ina <ismith@sun.ac.za> ismith at sun.ac.za
Mon Jun 10 08:47:20 SAST 2013

Journal Impact Factor. For some it is one of the most important metrics of an article's scientific credibility. For others, it is just an aberration that does not measure anything but "prestige". One thing is for sure, the IF has become a great headache for the entire scientific community, which has no idea how to deal with it. The problem is that despite the strong conviction that the IF does not measure the value of a scientific article, it can still influence the reputation of researchers and have an influence on their careers.
This growing problem was reflected in the recently published "San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment"<http://am.ascb.org/dora/>, signed by 75 science organizations and 150 scientists, who expressed their opposition to judging scientists by the impact factor of the journal they publish in - rather than by the work they actually do.
This is of course only one of the many voices in this discussion that is sweeping through the scientific community. It is worth mentioning the research conducted by George A. Lozano, Vincent Larivière and Yves Gingras. In the paper, "The weakening relationship between the Impact Factor and papers' citations in the digital age"<http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1205/1205.4328.pdf>, they show that since the 90s, when the Internet experienced rapid growth within the scientific community, the relationship between IF and citations began to weaken. According to Vincent Larivière:<http://www.nouvelles.umontreal.ca/udem-news/news/20121107-study-reveals-declining-influence-of-high-impact-factor-journals.html>
"In 1990, 45% of the top 5% most cited articles were published in the top 5% highest impact factor journals. In 2009, this rate was only 36%. This means that the most cited articles are published less exclusively in high impact factor journals."

Kind regards

Ina Smith
E-Research Repository Manager (SUNScholar) | Stellenbosch University | Private Bag X5036, 7599 | South Africa
SUNScholar<http://scholar.sun.ac.za/> | SUNJournals<http://library.sun.ac.za/English/services/az/oa/Pages/sunjournals.aspx> | SUNConferences<http://library.sun.ac.za/Afrikaans/services/az/oa/Pages/sunconferences.aspx> | E-mail: ismith at sun.ac.za<mailto:ismith at sun.ac.za> | Tel:  +27 21 808 9139 | Skype: smith.ina | Office hours: Mo-Fr: 08h00-16h30
E-Navorsingsbewaarplekbestuurder (SUNScholar) | Universiteit Stellenbosch | Privaatsak X5036, 7599 | Suid-Afrika
SUNScholar<http://scholar.sun.ac.za/>  | SUNJournals<http://library.sun.ac.za/English/services/az/oa/Pages/sunjournals.aspx> | SUNConferences<http://library.sun.ac.za/Afrikaans/services/az/oa/Pages/sunconferences.aspx> | E-pos: ismith at sun.ac.za<mailto:ismith at sun.ac.za> | Tel:  +27 21 808 9139 | Skype: smith.ina | Kantoorure: Mo-Fr: 08h00-16h30

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