If I Can’t Change Your Mind

Why do people still use Journal Impact Factors?

I don’t know either, but they should stop..

quantixed

I have written previously about Journal Impact Factors (here and here). The response to these articles has been great and earlier this year I was asked to write something about JIFs and citation distributions for one of my favourite journals. I agreed and set to work.

Things started off so well. A title came straight to mind. In the style of quantixed, I thought The Number of The Beast would be amusing. I asked for opinions on Twitter and got an even better one (from Scott Silverman @sksilverman) Too Many Significant Figures, Not Enough Significance. Next, I found an absolute gem of a quote to kick off the piece. It was from the eminently quotable Sydney Brenner.

Before we develop a pseudoscience of citation analysis, we should remind ourselves that what matters absolutely is the scientific content of a paper and that nothing will substitute for either knowing it…

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2 Responses to “If I Can’t Change Your Mind”

  1. I’ve never seen a journal impact factor discussed in any astronomy/maths/physics job interview i’ve been on… so i assume they are only used in fields with larger number of disparate publications?

    • telescoper Says:

      They are used heavily in Life Sciences. I tell my colleagues in that area that only idiots use them.

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