February 18, 2018

New Article: “The Journal Impact Factor: A Brief History, Critique, and Discussion of Adverse Effects” (Preprint)

The following article (preprint) was recently posted to arXiv by the authors. It will be published in the forthcoming Springer Handbook of Science and Technology Indicators.

Title

The Journal Impact Factor: A Brief History, Critique, and Discussion of Adverse Effects

Authors

Vincent Larivière
Université de Montréal
Université du Québec à Montréal

Cassidy R. Sugimoto
Indiana University

Source

via arXiv

Forthcoming in Glänzel, W., Moed, H.F., Schmoch U., Thelwall, M. (2018). Springer Handbook of Science and Technology Indicators. Cham (Switzerland): Springer International Publishing.

Abstract

The Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is, by far, the most discussed bibliometric indicator. Since its introduction over 40 years ago, it has had enormous effects on the scientific ecosystem: transforming the publishing industry, shaping hiring practices and the allocation of resources, and, as a result, reorienting the research activities and dissemination practices of scholars. Given both the ubiquity and impact of the indicator, the JIF has been widely dissected and debated by scholars of every disciplinary orientation. Drawing on the existing literature as well as on original research, this chapter provides a brief history of the indicator and highlights well-known limitations—such as the asymmetry between the numerator and the denominator, differences across disciplines, the insufficient citation window, and the skewness of the underlying citation distributions. The inflation of the JIF and the weakening predictive power is discussed, as well as the adverse effects on the behaviors of individual actors and the research enterprise. Alternative journal-based indicators are described and the chapter concludes with a call for responsible application and a commentary on future developments in journal indicators.

Direct to Full Text Article
32 pages; PDF.

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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