News & Views item - October 2013



Nature Puts Impact Under the Microscope. (October 18, 2013)

Every research funding agency wants to support science that makes a difference, but there is no simple formula for identifying truly important research. And as funding gets squeezed, scientists face ever-stiffer competition for resources and jobs, and it becomes even more important to identify the best work. In a series of features and opinion pieces in this issue, we examine how the impact of research is measured — and ask whether today’s evaluation systems promote the most influential science.


And the journal with the highest impact factor?




Table taken from Wikipedia


Nature's lead editorial for October 16 opens with: "So much science, so little time. Amid an ever-increasing mountain of research articles, data sets and other output, hard-pressed research funders and employers need shortcuts to identify and reward the work that matters. They have plenty of options: research impact is now recognized as a multidimensional affair."


And goes on to echo the the viewpoint now increasingly shared in research circles and summed up recently by the CEO of the NHMRC, Warwick Anderson: "For too long, the reputation of a journal has dominated publication choice – and the reputation has been mainly determined the journal impact factor. This metric reflects how frequently the totality of a journal’s recent papers are cited in other journals."


Of course coming from Nature with its place in the pecking order the viewpoint has, well, a high impact factor.



On the other hand the matter of assessing impact of individual research papers based on citation metrics goes on apace.



From elsewhere