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.

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 July 25, 2014 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 July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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