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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

What's your factor?

Interesting article from the Chronicle of Higher Education about the use and abuse of impact factors in academic journals:


Andrew Hayes said...

Impact factors are important to consider. Also important is whether the journal is listed in the ISI Web of Science Index at all. Some journals are indexed in many databases, others in few. The visibility of your research will be influenced by how easily it is found by scientific search engines such as the ISI Web of Science. If it is not in one of the big indexes such as ISI, it is largely invisible. Mass Communication and Society, for instance, is a well known journal among people who study public opinion and political communication, but research publisehd in MCS will not show up in searches on the Web of Science because it is not indexed there. Thus, research published there is not likely to become as well known as if it were published in a place like the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, or Political Communication, both of which are indexed in ISI. Of course there are exceptions. For instance, book chapters do not show up in the Web of Science, but there are many well known book chapters.

Matthew C. Nisbet said...

The Chronicle article was interesting to see scientists questioning the same things about ISI that we question in communication, just at a much larger scale in terms of thinking about number of citations and implications for careers and grant money. Im still not sure how to interpret these things, best rule of thumb is to actually read the journals and the articles instead of using citations or impact factors as heuristics.