Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Are Journal Rankings Distorting Science?

Date:
March 16, 2007
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
This week's British Medical Journal raises concerns over whether journal rankings (known as impact factors) are distorting publishing and science. The impact factor is a measure of the citations to papers in scientific journals. It was developed as a simple measure of quality and has become a proxy for the importance of a journal to its field.

This week's British Medical Journal raises concerns over whether journal rankings (known as impact factors) are distorting publishing and science.

Related Articles


The impact factor is a measure of the citations to papers in scientific journals. It was developed as a simple measure of quality and has become a proxy for the importance of a journal to its field.

But a report by the BMJ this week warns that the popularity of this ranking is distorting the fundamental character of journals, forcing them to focus more and more on citations and less on readers.

Concerns include the fact that a bad paper may be cited because of its infamous errors and that a journal's rank has no bearing on the quality of individual papers it publishes. But more worrying is the trend towards using impact factors to guide decisions on research funding. This has been particularly noticeable in the UK, where universities now prioritise scientific fields that produce research published in the highest impact factor journals, causing substantial damage to the clinical research base.

In an accompanying article, two researchers discuss whether impact factors should be ditched.

Gareth Williams of Bristol University believes that the academic community should consign the impact factor to the dustbin. He sees the measure as fatally flawed and highly damaging to the academic community.

"The impact factor is a pointless waste of time, energy, and money, and a powerful driver of perverse behaviours in people who should know better," he writes. "It should be killed off, and the sooner the better."

But Richard Hobbs of Birmingham University thinks that rather than just discarding impact factors we should consider solutions to the problems. For example, extending the citation surveillance period, applying weightings to adjust for the average number of references across journals, or scoring journals on only their most important papers.

It's easy to criticise bibliometrics, but we should attempt to refine them and debate in parallel how we can track academic careers and encourage fewer, but better studies that affect the wider community, he concludes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Are Journal Rankings Distorting Science?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070315210038.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2007, March 16). Are Journal Rankings Distorting Science?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070315210038.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Are Journal Rankings Distorting Science?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070315210038.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) A new study says marijuana is about 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins