An arbitrary line in the sand: Rising scientists confront the impact factor
This month, the GSA journal GENETICS published an editorial that illuminates the struggles experienced by scientists when trying to both do good science and advance in their career, especially as it relates to the unintended effects of the Journal Impact Factor (JIF).
The editorial by Executive Editor Tracey DePellegrin and Editor-in-Chief Mark Johnston is largely intended to bring to life the human impact of the JIF by discussing its warped effects on the behavior and focus of early career scientists they met this year.
The authors wish to emphasize that those students said they had wanted to send their work to GENETICS, but couldn’t do it until summer 2015, when the journal’s JIF happened to cross over some seemingly magical threshold. Their story illustrates how the JIF perversely affects science and the ways the scientists we met are forced to contort themselves and their choices for communicating their research simply because of a metric they agreed was irrelevant to assessing the quality of a journal.
We want to hear about your experiences and observations. Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below – we’d like each of you to get involved in a discussion here at G2G.
DePellegrin, T.A., and M. Johnston. 2015. An Arbitrary Line in the Sand: Rising Scientists Confront the Impact Factor. GENETICS, 201(3): 811-813. doi:10.1534/genetics.115.182261