Comments on Prathap, Arun's law of impact factor depreciation

Eric Ackermann eackerma at VT.EDU
Fri Jan 12 10:56:14 EST 2001

In relation to who gets cited in general, it might be useful to remember
that, in general, 50 percent of all papers published in journals covered by
the ISI citation databases are never cited at all, regardless of the impact
factor of the journal in which it was published. Perhaps before we rush to
the conclusion that sociocultural discrimination is the cause of the
pattern detected by Prathap, we should consider that the result may in fact
due to the use of the impact factor as a predictive surrogate. Such a use
of the impact factor is a risky proposition at best using higher level of
aggregations (such as academic departments or entire countries), must less,
as Aparna Basu points out, "when very small specific samples [such as from
specific individuals] are used."

What do others on the list think about Prathap's idea?

Eric Ackermann
School of Information Sciences
University of Tennessee-Knoxville

>Date:    Wed, 10 Jan 2001 17:59:28 +0530
>From:    Aparna Basu <aparna at NISTADS.RES.IN>
>Subject: Re: ART: Prathap,             Arun's law of impact factor
>I would like to make a comment on the paper by Prathap, 'Arun's law..', and
>would like to know what others on the list feel about it.
>The possibility of evaluation using scientometric methods provokes people
>into conducting the kind of exercise that Prathap has undertaken without
>taking into account that scientometrics has a kind of statistical validity
>which is eroded when very small specific samples are used. In that case,
>refining techniques when the methodology itself is in question seems to be
>missing the point.
>In this connection I would also invite comments on using scientometric
>evaluation for individual scientists/papers.
>Aparna Basu

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