Friday, March 2, 2012

What use are journal impact factors?

This article on arXiv discusses several important facts about journal impact factors. This is an interesting issue for psycholinguistics; I have encountered the situation in our field of a person who said he would not cite a paper because it didn't appear in a high impact factor journal. Another, an editor in a high-impact journal (high impact factor in our field means 3 or more ;), once said to me he only reads papers that come out in a specific journal X, because if it didn't appear there, it's not worth reading by definition.

 Educating people is hard. If you are too busy to read the article linked below, I can summarize the advice for you: read the paper to decide if it has anything of importance; don't look at the impact factor of the journal to decide whether to read it.

Of course, it is possible that what holds for applied mathematics has no relevance for psycholinguistics.

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