The Journal Impact Factor: A brief history, critique, and discussion of adverse effects

Abstract:  The Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is, by far, the most discussed bibliometric indicator. Since its introduction over 40 years ago, it has had enormous effects on the scientific ecosystem: transforming the publishing industry, shaping hiring practices and the allocation of resources, and, as a result, reorienting the research activities and dissemination practices of scholars. Given both the ubiquity and impact of the indicator, the JIF has been widely dissected and debated by scholars of every disciplinary orientation. Drawing on the existing literature as well as on original research, this chapter provides a brief history of the indicator and highlights well-known limitations-such as the asymmetry between the numerator and the denominator, differences across disciplines, the insufficient citation window, and the skewness of the underlying citation distributions. The inflation of the JIF and the weakening predictive power is discussed, as well as the adverse effects on the behaviors of individual actors and the research enterprise. Alternative journal-based indicators are described and the chapter concludes with a call for responsible application and a commentary on future developments in journal indicators.

Project to monitor open science kicked off

“CWTS [Netherlands’ Centre for Science and Technology Studies] participates in a new project to stimulate and monitor the development of open science and scholarship. The project “Open sciece: Monitoring trends and drivers” celebrated its kick off meeting last January at the EC premises in the presence of jean Claude Burgelman (DG Research & Innovation, European Commission) and Paul Hofheinz (President and Co-Founder of The Lisbon Council). The aim of the study is to further develop the Open Science Monitor, that started as a pilot study. The project consortium is led by Lisbon Council (coordinator). The other two partners are ESADE , and CWTS. Elsevier participates as subcontractor….”

Project to monitor open science kicked off

“CWTS [Netherlands’ Centre for Science and Technology Studies] participates in a new project to stimulate and monitor the development of open science and scholarship. The project “Open sciece: Monitoring trends and drivers” celebrated its kick off meeting last January at the EC premises in the presence of jean Claude Burgelman (DG Research & Innovation, European Commission) and Paul Hofheinz (President and Co-Founder of The Lisbon Council). The aim of the study is to further develop the Open Science Monitor, that started as a pilot study. The project consortium is led by Lisbon Council (coordinator). The other two partners are ESADE , and CWTS. Elsevier participates as subcontractor….”

A few thoughts on OA Monitoring and CRISs (I) | euroCRIS | Pablo de Castro

“In the wake of the AT2OA workshop on Open Access monitoring to be imminently held in Vienna, the post looks into recent attempts to coordinate the various national-level initiatives that are taking place in the area and suggests some possible prerequisites for this international endeavour to be able to succeed. It also argues that a successful OA monitoring in the pioneering countries should pave the way for other ones to eventually follow for their own progress assessment needs.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           A European Council statement was issued in May 2016 aiming to achieve full Open Access to research outputs by 2020. This was hailed at the time as a major step forwards in the push to widen access to the results of publicly-funded research. Nearly two years later there’s a generalised awareness of the difficulty to reach this political goal across the EU by the proposed deadline. This should however not stop the efforts to achieve further progress and to improve the way Open Access is being implemented – this 100% Open Access objective is clearly achievable in specific countries that will then to some extent provide a best practice approach.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of the areas where more work needs to be done is the actual monitoring of the progress in Open Access implementation. This has been on the cards for some time now, since national roadmaps with specific milestones and deadlines for reaching this 100% Open Access started to be produced quite a long time before the European Council meeting itself was held. This national-level discussions have resulted in a number of initiatives to monitor Open Access that are being implemented in different countries. The Knowledge Exchange, that brings together stakeholders like the Jisc in the UK, the DFG in Germany, SURF in the Netherlands, DEFF in Denmark or CSC in Finland, have taken a particularly relevant role in the past couple of years in ensuring that the various national-level approaches to Open Access monitoring would have the opportunity to discuss the progress with each other at a number of workshops….”

A commitment to openness | Research Information

“I started life at Jisc as a programme manager, on a project that was jointly funded by the National Science Foundation in the US and Jisc. This was a fairly forward thinking project in digital libraries and from this, we began working on how to make sure researchers had maximum access to information and collections, and how we could do that collaboratively, building on expertise on both sides of the Atlantic.

At this, I managed the pilot site licence initiative, which in essence is what became Jisc Collections as it is today; it was about ensuring ongoing access as the world of journal archives became digital. The subsequent model licence, designed to provide a smooth transition from analogue, was, I think, a  world first, and the clauses added are aligned to the aspirations of the open access movement – as the world became born digital, open access was a logical next step. There were some real thought leaders in the sector at that time who made it their mission to ensure as many people as possible could have access to that publicly funded research, as a point of principle….”

Seeking Impact and Visibility: Scholarly Communication in Southern Africa

“African scholarly research is relatively invisible globally because even though research production on the continent is growing in absolute terms, it is falling in comparative terms. In addition, traditional metrics of visibility, such as the Impact Factor, fail to make legible all African scholarly production. Many African universities also do not take a strategic approach to scholarly communication to broaden the reach of their scholarsí work. To address this challenge, the Scholarly Communication in Africa Programme (SCAP) was established to help raise the visibility of African scholarship by mapping current research and communication practices in Southern African universities and by recommending and piloting technical and administrative innovations based on open access dissemination principles. To do this, SCAP conducted extensive research in four faculties at the Universities of Botswana, Cape Town, Mauritius and Namibia.”

Responsible metrics: where it’s at? – The Bibliomagician

“At the Lis-Bibliometrics event, Katie Evans raised the important question as to how we can encourage openness in early-career colleagues when they face such pressures to publish in usually closed ‘high impact’ journals.  David Price said that he felt senior colleagues had to lead the way.  At UCL, Paul Ayris pointed out, promotion criteria now included openness metrics.  The challenges of measuring openness, and open measures were acknowledged.  Interestingly enough, Lis-Bibliometrics plans to take a look at this in more detail at a future event….”