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Impact factors are stupid

Impact factors are hugely important in journal publishing. Essentially, they determine which journals are more widely read (more “impactful”). Naturally, then, just like the Nielsen ratings in television, they are significant measures because publishing in high impact journals is considered more prestigious, and therefore more valuable for things that matter to researchers like academic tenure and funding opportunities. But what if impact factors were way off? It’s no secret in…

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Journal Impact Factor Shapes Scientists’ Reward Signal in the Prospect of Publication

The incentive structure of a scientist’s life is increasingly mimicking economic principles. While intensely criticized, the journal impact factor (JIF) has taken a role as the new currency for scientists. Successful goal-directed behavior in academia thus requires knowledge about the JIF. Using functional neuroimaging we examined how the JIF, as a powerful incentive in academia, has shaped the behavior of scientists and the reward signal in the striatum. We demonstrate…

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Journal impact factors ‘no longer credible’

Trickery by editors to boost their journal impact factor means that the widely used metric “has now lost most of its credibility”, according to Research Policy journal. With many editors now engaged in “ingenious ways” of boosting their impact factor, “one of the main bastions holding back the growing scourge of research misconduct” has been “breached”, the publication warns in an editorial. Click here to read more from this November…

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What matters more: Impact factor or quality?

Using (binomial) regression analysis, we run models using citation windows of one to ten years with both annual citation and cumulative citations as dependent variables, and with both bibliometric and quality indicators (judgments of peers) as independent variables. The bibliometric variables are the journal impact factor (JIF) of the publication medium, the numbers of authors and pages, and the statistical citedness of the references used within the paper. We find…

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Our harmful addiction to impact factors

How do we recognize a good scientist? There is an entire industry — bibliometrics — that would have us believe that it is easy: count journal articles, sort them according to the impact factors of the journals, and count all the citations. Science managers and politicians seem especially fond of such ways to assess ‘scientific quality’. But many scientists also accept them, and use them in hiring and funding decisions.…

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The 1% of scientific publishing

Our evaluation of the entire Scopus database for the period 1996–2011 shows that, overall, only a very small fraction of researchers (<1% of the over 15 million publishing scientists) have an uninterrupted, continuous presence in the scientific literature and these investigators account for the lion’s share of authors who eventually have high citation impact. There is some variability on the relative prevalence of these investigators across different scientific disciplines, geographical…

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NISO Issues Altmetrics White Paper Draft for Comment

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has released a draft white paper summarizing Phase I of its Alternative Assessment Metrics (Altmetrics) Project for public comment. The Initiative was launched in July 2013, with a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, to study, propose, and develop community-based standards or recommended practices for alternative metrics. In Phase 1 of the project, three in-person meetings were held and 30 in-person interviews conducted…

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Submissions Drop at World’s Largest Open-Access Journal

The number of papers published by the world’s largest open-access journal, PLOS ONE, has plummeted over the past few months after rising fairly steadily for years, notes a scholarly publishing blogger. Phil Davis suggests the closely watched PLOS ONE may have become a less attractive option for scientists as its impact factor has fallen and other open-access publishers have come on the scene. Founded 14 years ago, the Public Library…

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