The impact factor in chemistry research

Published each year in the Journal of Citation Reports (a journal publishing a single issue every year) by the former "Institute of Scientific Information", a private company subsequently sold to a large company, the "journal impact factor" (JIF) is calculated by dividing the number of citations in a year, by the number of citeable articles published in the preceding two years.

As put it by Stephen Curry, a Professor of structural biology at London-based Imperial College, whoever uses the impact factor is "statistically illiterate".

The metrics, indeed, is skewed to such an extent that just a few articles published in high JIF journals nearly entirely drive the value of the JIF, making it a completely worthless tool to evaluate journals, scholars, or research centres.

Still, the JIF has played and continues to play a central role in evaluating scholarship in chemistry, the most reluctant amid scientific disciplines to embrace the principles of open science.

To understand why, and to envisage what to do to overcome this obsolete social behaviour of research chemists, you may wish to read the study "The role of the journal impact factor in chemistry research".

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