Advertisement

Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 139–142 | Cite as

The Disaster of the Impact Factor

  • Khaled MoustafaEmail author
Commentary

Journal impact factor (IF) is a value calculated annually based on the number of times articles published in a journal are cited in two, or more, of the preceding years. At the time of its inception in 1955 (Garfield 1955), the inventor of the impact factor did not imagine that 1 day his tool would become a controversial and abusive measure, as he confessed 44 years later (Garfield 1999). The impact factor became a major detrimental factor of quality, creating huge pressures on authors, editors, stakeholders and funders. More tragically, in some countries the number of publications in journals with “high impact factors” condition the allocation of government funding for entire institutions (Plos Medicine Editorial 2006). Based on the assumption that IF reflects scientific quality, the impact factor produces a widespread impression of prestige and reputation, though no experimental data support this hypothesis (Brembs et al. 2013).

The impact factor was originally conceived as a...

Keywords

Impact Factor Journal Impact Factor Review Journal High Impact Factor Science Metrics 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Conflict of interest

None.

References

  1. Abbasi, K. (2007). Why journals can live without impact factor and cluster bombs. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 100(3), 113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bhattacharjee, Y. (2011). Citation impact. Saudi universities offer cash in exchange for academic prestige. Science, 334(6061), 1344–1345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brembs, B., Button, K., & Munafo, M. (2013). Deep impact: Unintended consequences of journal rank. Frontier Human Neuroscience, 7, 291.Google Scholar
  4. Editorial, Nature. (2005). Not-so-deep impact. Nature, 435(7045), 1003–1004.Google Scholar
  5. Fang, F. C., Steen, R. G., & Casadevall, A. (2012). Misconduct accounts for the majority of retracted scientific publications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 109(42), 17028–17033.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Garfield, E. (1955). Citation indexes for science; a new dimension in documentation through association of ideas. Science, 122(3159), 108–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Garfield, E. (1999). Journal impact factor: A brief review. CMAJ, 161(8), 979–980.Google Scholar
  8. Hvistendahl, M. (2013). China’s publication bazaar. Science, 342(6162), 1035–1039.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. * Nature website showing the impact factors of NPG journals: http://www.nature.com/npg_/company_info/impact_factors.html. Accessed 07 January 2014.
  10. Plos Medicine Editorial. (2006). The impact factor game. It is time to find a better way to assess the scientific literature. PLoS Medicine, 3(6), e291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Rogers, L. F. (2002). Impact factor: The numbers game. AJR. American Journal of Roentgenology, 178(3), 541–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Rossner, M., Van Epps, H., & Hill, E. (2007). Show me the data. Journal of Cell Biology, 179, 1091–1092.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. San Francisco Declaration of Research Assesment (DORA). http://am.ascb.org/dora/. Accessed 07 January 2014.
  14. Seglen, P. O. (1997). Why the impact factor of journals should not be used for evaluating research. BMJ, 314(7079), 498–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Van Noorden, R. (2013). Brazilian citation scheme outed. Nature, 500(29), 510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut Mondor de la Recherche Biomédicale (INSERM)CréteilFrance

Personalised recommendations