FW: [CHMINF-L] professional associations and impact factors

Eugene Garfield eugene.garfield at THOMSON.COM
Tue Jun 6 14:03:59 EDT 2006

For those of you who do not subscribe to CHMINF-L this communication by
Brian Simboli may be of interest. EG

When responding, please attach my original message
Eugene Garfield, PhD. email:  garfield at codex.cis.upenn.edu
home page: www.eugenegarfield.org
Tel: 215-243-2205 Fax 215-387-1266

-----Original Message-----
[mailto:CHMINF-L at LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU] On Behalf Of Brian Simboli
Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2006 1:58 PM
Subject: [CHMINF-L] professional associations and impact factors

Some reflections in the wake of the 6/5/06 WSJ article relating to
impact factors etc. ("Science Journals Artfully Try to Boost Their
Rankings" by Sharon Begley). (Incidentally, I posted another version of
following to liblicense-l.)

Given the oft-discussed potential abuses posed by, or problems inherent
in, use of impact factors, perhaps professional associations (e.g., AMS
and ACS) should play a significant role in providing guidelines for
their members suggesting appropriate uses of them? Might they play a
role in suggesting journal editorial guidelines to avoid abuses?  If it
is true that the shape of science is being influenced by their use
(e.g., in relation to editorial policies and tenure decisions), it seems

as if the associations have a vested interest in how impact factors are
being used.

Also, might associations work on creating discipline-specific metrics
(including impact factors), based on data within databases for their
disciplines (e.g., MathSciNet, or CAS)? Of course this is not an
argument that ISI data should not also be used, just that a clearer or
more comprehensive picture of things can be obtained by supplementing it

with a variety of metrics from various sources.

Perhaps these measures would help address potential problems in use of
the factors?

Finally, the question how Google Scholar and other publicly accessible
citation count sources should be used is also something that
professional associations could study.

Brian Simboli
Science Librarian
Library & Technology Services
E.W. Fairchild Martindale
8A East Packer Avenue
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA 18015-3170
(610) 758-5003
E-mail: brs4 at lehigh.edu

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