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An insurrection against “journal impact factors” in science?

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Yes, an “insurrection” and meant in all seriousness and supported by name journals.

Apparently, the original reason for creating the metric “journal impact factor”—average number of citations in a set period —was to determine what science journals cash-strapped academic libraries should order in the 1950s. Now, its influence is accused of distorting science:

The San Francisco declaration cites studies that outline known defects in the JIF, distortions that skew results within journals, that gloss over differences between fields, and that lump primary research articles in with much more easily cited review articles. Further, the JIF can be “gamed” by editors and authors, while the data used to compute the JIF “are neither transparent nor openly available to the public,” according to DORA.

Since the JIF is based on the mean of the citations to papers in a given journal, rather than the median, a handful of highly cited papers can drive the overall JIF, says Bernd Pulverer, Chief Editor of the EMBO Journal. “My favorite example is the first paper on the sequencing of the human genome. This paper, which has been cited just under 10,000 times to date, single handedly increased Nature’s JIF for a couple of years.”

Remember this stuff when someone tries to downplay an article that casts doubt on Darwinism (or similar flimflam) by claiming that the journal that published it has a low impact factor.

The critics can only have it both ways if they are truly Darwinists. But so many of them claim not to be “that kind of Darwinist any more” that they probably can’t make use of their “have it both ways” exemption so safely ( = the Darwin-doubting article doesn’t matter if a “low impact” journal published it, but they will spend publicly funded time persecuting the author anyway).

5 Replies to “An insurrection against “journal impact factors” in science?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    kick, stomp, cry, and scream if they wish, yet science proceeds it its slow yet unrelenting pace:

    Molecular Machines and the Problematic RNA World – Casey Luskin May 20, 2013
    Molecular Machines as a concept existed well before Bruce Alberts’ (1998) programmatic essay in the journal Cell, but his article certainly helped in popularizing the term, and in firing up the imagination of students and young scientists equipped with new tools that aim to probe and depict the dynamic nature of the events that constitute life at the most fundamental level. “Machine” is useful as a concept because molecular assemblies in this category share important properties with their macroscopic counterparts, such as processivity, localized interactions, and the fact that they perform work toward making a defined product. The concept stands in sharp contrast to the long-held view of the cell as a sack, or compendium of sacks, in which molecules engage and disengage one another more or less randomly. (p. 1)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....72311.html

  2. 2
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @News:

    The argument sciencedaily is using is fallacious. But in order for the critique of the JIF to be a rational argument against it you have to show that other impact factors (not the JIF) are yielding quite different results for the PBSW.

    You can start with Google Scholar, which gives PBSW an h5-index of 9.

  3. 3
    News says:

    JWTruthinLove, if the ScienceDaily release is using a fallacious argument, it is one apparently accepted by many journal editors, including prominent ones. Can you account for that?

  4. 4
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @News:

    I’ve made a mistake. The Scientist is using the fallacious argument (low impact factor); not sciencedaily. Sorry for the confusion.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note:

    Scientific Fraud: A Surprising Study – May 20, 2013
    Excerpt: All I am saying is that those scientists who view their work as (merely) a job are significantly more likely to be willing to “cut corners,” including the ethical and moral ones, to get the job done. Those who view their work as more of a mission will be less likely to do so.,,,
    http://networkedblogs.com/LoIn2

    Quotes of note:

    After the knowledge of, and obedience to, the will of God, the next aim must be to know something of His attributes of wisdom, power and goodness as evidenced by His handiwork…. It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.
    — James Prescott Joule (father of thermodynamics,) address to the British Association, 1873

    James Clerk Maxwell and the Christian Proposition
    Excerpt: The minister who regularly visited him in his last weeks was astonished at his lucidity and the immense power and scope of his memory, but comments more particularly,[20] … his illness drew out the whole heart and soul and spirit of the man: his firm and undoubting faith in the Incarnation and all its results; in the full sufficiency of the Atonement; in the work of the Holy Spirit. He had gauged and fathomed all the schemes and systems of philosophy, and had found them utterly empty and unsatisfying – “unworkable” was his own word about them – and he turned with simple faith to the Gospel of the Saviour.
    http://silas.psfc.mit.edu/Maxwell/maxwell.html

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