Fraser, VJ; Martin, JG "Marketing data: Has the rise of impact factor led to the fall of objective language in the scientific article? " RESPIRATORY RESEARCH 10. MAY 11 2009. p.NIL_1-NIL_5 BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, LONDON
meher.mistry at THOMSONREUTERS.COM
Tue Jun 23 19:34:29 EDT 2009
Email: Véronique J Fraser - veronique_fraser at hotmail.com;
James G Martin* - james.martin at mcgill.ca
* Corresponding author
TITLE: Marketing data: Has the rise of impact factor led to the
fall of objective language in the scientific article?
AUTHOR:Fraser, VJ; Martin, JG
SOURCE : RESPIRATORY RESEARCH 10. MAY 11 2009. p.NIL_1-NIL_5
BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, LONDON
ABSTRACT: The language of science should be objective and detached
and should place data in the appropriate context. The aim of this
commentary was to explore the notion that recent trends in the use of
language have led to a loss of objectivity in the presentation of
scientific data. The relationship between the value-laden vocabulary and
impact factor among fundamental biomedical research and clinical journals
has been explored. It appears that fundamental research journals of high
impact factors have experienced a rise in value-laden terms in the past
The increased use of biased words provides an interesting
locus for a discussion on the changing trends in publication
and the increasing pressure felt by authors today.
While we hesitate to suggest that the latter is responsible
for the former we are confident in the assertion that the
use of biased words in a scientific manuscript does not
serve a useful purpose. The readership is unlikely to
require orientation to ensure that pivotal and central
observations pass unrecognized inadvertently. On the
contrary, language that exaggerates the importance of
findings may fuel skepticism and alienate the reader. Perhaps
journals should encourage more modest claims on
the part of the authors and encourage a return to objectivity.
To end at the beginning; "The numbers and not their
interpretation, must speak for themselves."
AUTHOR ADDRESS: JG Martin, McGill Univ, Meakins Christie Labs, Montreal,
1. Editorial: Truth in Numbers. Nature Medicine 2006, 12:1.
2. Suppe F: The structure of a scientific paper. Philosophy of Science
3. Hanna JF: The scope and limits of scientific objectivity. Philosophy
of Science 2004, 71(3):339-361.
4. Adam D: The counting house. Nature 2002, 415(6873):726-729.
5. Seglen PO: Why the impact factor of journals should not be
used for evaluating research. British Medical Journal 1997,314(7079):498-
6. Gordon MD: How Authors Select Journals – A Test of the Reward
Maximization Model of Submission Behavior. Social Studies of Science 1984,
More information about the SIGMETRICS