[Sigmetrics] Global and average Impact Factors

Stephen J Bensman notsjb at lsu.edu
Tue Oct 24 12:21:21 EDT 2017

What Isidro has revealed here is that the impact factor as theoretically developed by Garfield has become fundamentally misunderstood.  Garfield's impact factor was based on the theory that structure of science was based on the important role played by the review article and journal.  What Isidro has shown here is that impact factor is now just mathematical games based on the mean and not the skew.  In other words Garfield is now theoretically dead, having lived too long.  He is not incorporated but dead in all senses of the word.

This probably won't go through because this listserv distrusts me for some reason.

Stephen J. Bensman

Louisiana State University.

From: SIGMETRICS <sigmetrics-bounces at asist.org> on behalf of Loet Leydesdorff <loet at leydesdorff.net>
Sent: Tuesday, October 24, 2017 3:00 AM
To: Isidro F. Aguillo; SIGMetrics
Subject: Re: [Sigmetrics] Global and average Impact Factors

Dear Isidro:

- "Global Impact Factor"= the sum of all the IF of the papers they produced (without any normalization)
- "Average Impact Factor" = the average of IF per paper (or per author)

1. I assume that you meant with "IF of the papers" the IFs of the journals in which the papers were published. This is a first source of error. The lack of normalization a second.

2. Please, explain why averaging these numbers would be "an horrendous mathematical error". Perhaps, in terms of formulas? I can see that it is not a very smart indicator. :-)


This is not a part of debate about the IF, this is an horrendous mathematical error (I learned this is an error in primary school!).  And we need a strong answer from ISSI and bibliometrics community.


El 23/10/2017 a las 10:53, Isidro F. Aguillo escribió:
Dear all,

In spite of the large number of papers (and declarations) against the misuse and abuse of the IF, this indicator still appears frequently in the "bibliometric" sections of the reports of many academic and research institutions. But to my surprise I just discovered that most of Spanish health-related institutions, including several of the most prestigious ones, are using derived indicators like Impact Factor Global (adding all the IF values of the papers) or Average Impact Factor (usually per paper, but also per author) that are gross mathematical aberrations. The reason for making public these "indicators" is because the funding agencies are asking for them, including local and national govts, private foundations and ... EC (!!??).

I do not know if it is possible some action of ISSI or even from Clarivate to stop the use of these pseudo-indicators.

Thanks in advance,

Isidro F. Aguillo
Dr. Honoris Causa Universitas Indonesia
Dr. Honoris Causa National Research Nuclear University Moscow
Editor Rankings Web
Cybermetrics Lab - Scimago Group, IPP-CSIC
Madrid. SPAIN

isidro.aguillo at csic.es<mailto:isidro.aguillo at csic.es>
ORCID 0000-0001-8927-4873
ResearcherID: A-7280-2008
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