Journal Impact Factors (IF), published in Thompson Scientific’s Journal Citation Report (JCR) database, are often used to help researchers determine the “best” journal in which to publish, and to measure a researcher’s success, hiring, or promotion. These practices have been called into question due in part to the proprietary nature of the data, and the unknown reliability and validity of the measurement. Two recent interesting articles highlight some of the issues.
The editorial “Deep impact?” from Nature Cell Biology mentions some of the caveats to consider when looking at a journal’s IF. “Show me the data” from the Journal of Cell Biology summarizes an unsuccessful attempt to recreate the published impact factors using the formula and data supplied by Thompson Scientific.
If you are interested in learning more about the impact factor controversy, the following PubMed search will retrieve many relevant citations: Impact Factor articles